CNYC Names Award-Winning Playwright, Author and Educator Craig Thornton to Be Artist-in-Residence 2012-13

By Michael Mancini, assistant to the dean, Central New York Center

July 6, 2012

Craig Thornton, at right, an award-winning playwright and graduate of New York University (BFA) and Goddard College (MFA) has been named artist-in-residence at SUNY Empire State College’s Central New York Center (CNYC) effective with the fall term. He will offer workshops and studies as part of the center’s Arts Learning Community.

“We are excited to have Craig on board and to be able to continue to expand the offerings for our students interested in the arts,” said CNYC Dean Nikki Shrimpton.

“Craig brings a wonderfully diverse range of expertise and experience in theater, film and broadcasting to the college and we're thrilled to give our students access to learning opportunities from an active, working artist embedded in their area,” said Yvonne Murphy, an associate professor of the arts at the college.

Thornton studied screenwriting at the American Film Institute and his plays have been produced in New York City, Los Angeles and regionally. The L.A. production of “Happy Birthday, Tina Marie” was pick of the week in the L.A. Reader, hailed as “brilliant and witty” by the L.A. Times and is housed in the Central L.A. Library as one of the best plays produced that year. Additionally, every full-length play he has written has placed as a finalist in a nationally recognized contest, including “What We Hold Onto” (Eugene O’Neill National Theater Conference), and most recently “The High Cost of Heating” (Northern Writes New Play Festival June 2011) as a top-10 finalist in the New Works Festival at the Phoenix Theater 2012.

“In My Shoes,” a docudrama about the effects on military teens of parental deployment during the recent Middle East conflicts, which he wrote while playwright-in-residence at Indian River Central High School, near Fort Drum, N.Y., has seen several tours and received national attention in a story featured on CNN in 2011. The Midwest premiere took place in May in Kenosha, Wisc. As a result of the success of “In My Shoes, ”Thornton was asked to participate in a study mandated by Congress and sponsored by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences about the effects of deployment on communities with a large military population, highlighting the therapeutic power of theater.

“Everyone has a story to tell and a voice to be heard. You may not like the story and you may not like the storyteller, but each of us has a right to an audience, at least once in our lifetime. For me, theater remains the most exciting arena for the storyteller and listener,” said Thornton.

Thornton is arts and entertainment editor for WWNYTV, a published author and an educator. Awards include TANYS (Theater Association of New York State), NYSTEA (New York State Theater Education Association) and a MacDowell Fellowship.

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Article Contributors
  • Danielle Benedict
  • Francesca Cichello
  • Helen Edelman
  • Joshua Gaul
  • Suzanne Hayes
  • Pamela Malone
  • Michael Mancini
  • Alan Mandell
  • Vickie Moller
  • Jennifer Ward
  • Kristen Yard