New CPA deadline encourages early planning

For the first time, students seeking funding through Creative and Performing Arts, or CPA, awards for projects next fall can secure resources and performance spaces before leaving for the summer.

The Council of Masters, the organization that administers the awards, announced in March a new April 1 deadline for project proposals that will be produced before October recess next year. Yale Drama Coalition President Irene Casey ’14 said the group submitted a proposal which included ideas for new deadlines to the Council of Masters at the end of last school year. The council worked closely with both the YDC and Associate Dean for the Arts Susan Cahan in altering the system, said Stephen Pitti ’91, Ezra Stiles College master and chair of the Arts and Awards Committee on the Council of Masters.

“This doesn’t change anything about the funding itself, just when people know about the funding,” Pitti said.

Casey said the new April deadline comes as part of a yearlong series of changes to the CPA award system. For the first time last September, students could apply for funding to stage shows that would take place second semester before spring recess, Casey explained, adding that the April deadline will give people “additional security.” Prior to this year, students were required to submit CPA proposals only at the beginning of the semester for projects being staged that same semester.

Casey added that students can still apply in the fall for fall show funding, and that this new deadline merely provides students with the option to apply earlier. She said she thinks the deadline changes will be particularly positive for students because the CPA financial guidelines require students to have secured the grant before they begin making purchases for the production.

YDC Vice President Ethan Karetsky ’14 said the new deadline will be especially important in alleviating the “time crunch” for students planning shows early in the fall semester. He added that with the previous CPA deadline, students returning in the fall would not have any information about theater allocation or funding until nearly a month into the semester, making it difficult to begin any work on design or blocking.

“With the new deadline, we’re encouraging people to apply in advance and come back to school knowing they have funding so they don’t have to spend the first two weeks of rehearsal stressing about that,” Karetsky said. “This really rewards planning in advance.”

Pitti said the Council of Masters also hopes that instituting the April deadline will encourage more students to use the residential college theaters in the first half of fall semester, explaining that these spaces tend to be used less during the first six weeks of the year.

Kathryn Krier DRA ’07, the head of the Undergraduate Production office, said in an email that since last September, the Off Broadway Theater application cycle has been timed to match the CPA funding cycle. Now, the organization has added a third round of applications to match the new April deadline. She added this will allow students to learn about funding and space assignments at the same time.

“There has been some recent interest from student groups in early fall slots at the OBT,” Krier said. “These student teams are, necessarily, planning well in advance of the production, and it is a great benefit to them to be able to plan over the summer knowing which venue they will be using in the fall.”

Krier explained that this space allocation model was piloted earlier with “Spring Awakening,” which was granted use of the OBT space before school let out for the summer, allowing the production to use the extra time to plan. Karetsky said that when he was producing “Spring Awakening,” which went up in the OBT last October, he applied for use of the theater before the team was eligible to apply for a fall CPA award under the previous deadline system.

“The new OBT application cycle formalizes [the new space allocation model], and we hope that we will continue to see students taking advantage of this opportunity,” Krier said.

April CPA awards will be announced by April 16.

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