Theater demands that both the maker and the audience engage in the moment and in the imagination. And whether I’m directing Shakespeare, Chekhov, a devised piece or working with New School students at the ‘I HAVE A DREAM’ Theater & Education Afterschool Programs, I find the making of theater asks all of us to collaboratively grapple with impossible but real, essential & generative questions.
Working in an array of disciplines as a writer, director, and collaborator -- my professional work and teaching have focused on -- theater as a medium for engaged dialogue; the “everyday practice of the actor”; taking on classics through a global lens (particularly Shakespeare); transformative arts education, and theater & environmental advocacy.
I recently wrote and directed the documentary play Gage County NE with community members in Beatrice, Nebraska which is featured in each episode of HBO’s Mind Over Murder true-crime series directed by filmmaker Nanfu Wang. The series has been nominated for multiple awards and the play Gage County NE is highlighted in numerous reviews including the Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Guardian and American Theater Magazine.
I also directed the documentary film, Remembering Shakespeare, which explores new ways of thinking about memory and Shakespeare’s words in our digital age where memory itself is at risk http://www.rememberingshakespearefilm.com/ My chapter, “If It Live In Your Memory” appears in The Whirlwind of Passion: New Critical Perspectives on William Shakespeare (Cambridge Scholar’s Press). I recently directed the short whimsical film Menstrual Rosary with a score by Stefania de Kenessey which has won citations and awards at an array of film festivals worldwide.
I have written, devised, and directed theater pieces which have performed at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade and Bruno Walter Theaters, The New Victory @ 42nd Street, Jefferson Market Playhouse, the Washington Square Hotel, WNYC’s Jerome L Greene Performance Space, the New York & Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. I wrote and directed FROM THE FIRE, which won three Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s UK/Music Theater Awards: Best Music, Best Production and Best New Musical and a WNET Public Television documentary of FROM THE FIRE was nominated for a NY Emmy award.
I am an Associate Professor of Theater at Lang College/The New School and am currently the director of the Lang College Theater Program which was named one of the top Civic Engagement and Social Justice theater programs in the US by American Theater Magazine. I also currently direct the Lang First Year Program and coordinate the ‘I Have a Dream’ Theater & Education Program. I previously was on the faculty at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, NYU’s Playwrights Horizons Studio and NYU’s Kanbar School for Film & Television. I received Lang College Faculty Advisor Excellence Award (2016) and the New School’s Excellence in Teaching Award (2018). I also received a Periclean Faculty Leadership Award and have served in the national Pericles Faculty Leadership cohort (2020-2022) and served as a mentor for the Mellon Initiative for Inclusive Faculty Excellence. I am currently a Lang College representative on the New School University Faculty Senate.
MFA, Yale School of Drama;
BA, Magna cum laude, Williams College
The Association for Theater in Higher Education
The Dramatist Guild
The Remember the Triangle Shirtwaist Coalition
Board Member of Piper Theater, Brooklyn
Rubino, Cecilia. “If It Live in Your Memory” chapter in The Whirlwind of Passion: New Critical Perspectives on William Shakespeare. Cambridge Scholars’ Press
Rubino, Cecilia. Digital Theater DramaOnline Website: Article on the Theater practioner, Viola Spolin, the instigator of the American Improv Movement.. https://www.digitaltheatre.com/
Rubino, Cecilia The Making of Remembering Shakespeare Altre Modernità. Article p 169-186 DOI 10.13130/2035-7680/9196
Rubino, Cecilia. “Anna Deveare Smith” in Twentieth-Century Dramatists, Volume 5. Bruccoli, Clark, Layman Publishers.
Performances and Appearances
CREATIVE AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
Film, TV, Media
MIND OVER MURDER: 2022
Called the ‘the must-see true crime series of 2022’ MIND OVER MURDER, the six-episode HBO MAX series directed by the award-winning filmmaker Nanfu Wang features in each episode scenes of rehearsals and the production of the documentary theater piece, GAGE COUNTY NE, that I wrote and directed with community members in Nebraska about the infamous Beatrice Six Case which led to the largest group DNA exoneration in US history. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXPYl-R_oWY
MENSTRUAL ROSARY: Director 2021
Directed the whimsical short film MENSTRUAL ROSARY with a score by Stefania de Kenessey and lyrics by Gender Studies Professor Chiara Bottici and Vanessa Place. In 2022, the short film won citations and awards at an array of film festivals worldwide including: the LGBTQ Unbordered Festival and an international Short Film Festivals that includes Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Milan. Also the Portland New Alternative Voices Festival; the Rotterdam Independent Film Festival; the San Francisco Indie Short Festival; the Madrid Arthouse Film Festival; and the Dublin World Film Festival.
Remembering Shakespeare, Director 2019
Directed the documentary film “Remembering Shakespeare” which explores new ways of thinking about memory and Shakespeare’s words in our digital age, where memory itself is at risk. In 2020, the film screened at The New Haven Film Festival, the American Shakespeare Center and at Cinema Nosso in Rio de Janeiro. See: www.rememberingshakespearefilm.com
Theater: Professional Directing, Writing and Devising
Gage County NE 2021
Beatrice Community Players, Nebraska: wrote and directed a documentary theater piece about the infamous Beatrice Six Case which led to the largest group DNA exoneration in US history. The play is featured with scenes of the rehearsals and production in each of the six episodes of the HBO MAX series -- MIND OVER MURDER directed by the award-winning filmmaker Nanfu Wang. The HBO MAX true crime six-part series MIND OVER MURDER began streaming in June/July, 2022.
Finding Her Voice: Lorraine Hansberry in the Village 2020:
Zoom production for New York Public Library. https://vimeo.com/495429704 Password: Hansberry
Eugene O’Neill in the Village 2018.
Directed a site-specific event about O’Neill’s work at the Washington Square Hotel.
The Irene Fornes Marathon 2018.
Directed Monologues from Selected Works of Fornes at the Public Theater for Marathon event.
Lives of Tiresias 2018
Jefferson Market Playhouse, New York NY. Co-wrote with David Richman and directed production.
Uncle Vanya 2017
Jefferson Market Playhouse, New York NY. Adapted and directed Chekhov’s play.
Artslope Festival & Lucid Body Studio, New York NY. Conceived and directed a documentary theater piece that explores Clifford Odets’ creative process and work. With his plays written for The Group Theater in the 1930's, Odets reclaimed the theater as the medium of prophetic social outcry.
Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde 2016
Jefferson Market Playhouse, New York NY. Directed production with original music composed and performed by Joan La Barbara.
Eco-Poets: Enviro Slammin’ 2016
The New Victory Theater @ 42nd Street, New York NY. LabWorks Artist Fellow 2015-2016. Developed a new piece with a trio of spoken word poets. Workshop Production performed at The New Victory at 42nd Street.
Marina Tsvetaeva 2015
Cornelia Street Café, New York NY. Curated and directed performance event honoring the poet.
SLAM 103: Historical Remix 2015
The Bruno Walter Theatre, Lincoln Center, New York NY. Directed “SLAM 103: Historical Remix”, the third in a trilogy of pieces commissioned by Lincoln Center’s Meet the Artist Series which explores different genres of poetry. Other pieces created in collaboration with three spoken word poets include “SLAM 101” and “SLAM 102: Verbal Velocity”.
New York Fringe Festival, New York NY. Directed production.
Moliere Festival 2013
WNYC Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, New York NY. Directed “The School for Husbands” and “The Imaginary Cuckold”.
From the Fire March 2013
New York Tenement Museum, New York NY. Directed selections of “From the Fire” for event commemorating the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, moderated by the novelist Kevin Baker.
The Shakespeare Marathon 2012
WNYC Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, New York NY. Co-directed with producer Sarah Montague.
From the Fire 2011
Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. Wrote and directed From the Fire. Winner of the UK/Music Theater Awards: Best Music, Best Production and Best New Musical. Named an Edinburgh “Cultural Highlight of 2011” and “Pick of the Fringe” by The Scotsman. Reviewed by the BBC News, The London Times, The New York Times, The Scotsman, and The Guardian.
WeDaPeople’s Cabaret, Harlem Stage, New York NY. Directed piece with youth poets and members of The Mighty Third Rail performance group for Harlem Stage Cabaret.
In the Native State 2011
“T is for Tom” Series, WNYC Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, New York NY. Stoppard Theater Works and A New Theater of Sound.
Mark Twain: Adventures in American Humor 2011 - 2014
Roxy Regional Theater, Chattanooga TN. Wrote and directed Mark Twain: Adventures in American Humor. The piece also performed at libraries and schools in NYC and New England.
From the Fire 2011
The Times Center, New York NY. Directed a series of choral pieces from From the Fire with media for the Sydney Hillman Foundation’s Excellence in Journalism Awards Ceremony. The Sydney Hillman Foundation awarded a grant to have a documentary made of From the Fire for the Triangle Fire Archives at the Cornell University Library.
From the Fire 2011
Judson Memorial Church, New York NY. Wrote and directed the music theater piece with music by the award-winning composer, Liz Swados, which performed at the historic Judson Church for the centennial of The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire with a cast of Lang students and industry professionals. The piece received exceptional coverage from The New York Times, The New Yorker, 60 Minutes, NY 1 TV, NPR , WNYC and WFMU Radio, The Jewish Daily Forward etc. A documentary about the Judson version of From the Fire by WNET’s Sunday Arts Program was nominated for a 2011 NY Emmy. Choral pieces from From The Fire were performed on March 25, 2011, outside the Ash/Brown Building and featured on CNN and news programs around the world.
Theater: Directing, The New School
Women’s Legacy at The New School 2019
Co-created and directed performance event about women at the New School for the University’s Centennial. Tishman Auditorium, The New School.
Tar Sands Songbook
Directed a workshop production of ‘Tanya Kalmanovitch's Tar Sands Songbook for the Curriculum Disruption/Climate Justice event with actors Peter Jay Fernandez and Jennifer Van Dyke. Directed initial workshop production of ‘Tar Sands Songbook’ at Ernst Stifel Concert Hall at The New School in October, 2017.
Co-Directed and produced 16 Bars a documentary theater piece conceived and created by court involved youth from the exalt youth program in Brooklyn to help foster awareness about the need of raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York State. Versions of 16 Bars have been performed at fundraisers for exalt youth including a reading at Google NYC in Spring, 2018.
Lang College, New School Productions
New School University: Productions directed include: Laramie Project, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Fefu and Her Friends, Camino Real, The Tempest, The Importance of Being Earnest, Waiting for Godot, Three Sisters, The Exonerated, and America is in the Room.
Interdisciplinary approaches to engaged theater
The "Everyday Practice of the Actor"
Shakespeare and the re-interrogation of classical drama
Theater as a medium for advocacy and change
Theater in Education and the connections between drama and literacy
The history of acting practice and performance
Awards And Honors
Distinguished Teaching Award, The New School, 2018
Lang College Faculty Advisor Excellence Award, 2016
University Awards and Grants
Lang College Civic Liberal Arts Grant, Theater & Ecojustice Education 2022
Lang College Civic Liberal Arts Grant, Zoom Plays: Eco Justice Education 2020
TNS Centennial Performance Grant: Women’s Legacy at The New School 2019
Lang College Civic Liberal Arts Grant, Beyond Zero Tolerance 2017
Civic Liberal Arts Collaboration Grant, Arts Advocacy & Youth in the System 2016
Social Innovation Grant, The New School, Health Class 2.0 2013
Lang College, Civic Engagement & Social Justice Grant, IHD Theater 2012
Provost Event Grant, The New School, Open Air: The Future of Radio Theater 2010
Pericles Foundation, Periclean Faculty Leadership Award 2020-22
Mellon Initiative for Inclusive Faculty Excellence 2021-22
Mellon Foundation, Civic Arts & Humanities, Theater of Social Action 2015
Mellon Foundation, Civic Arts & Humanities, Radical Citizenship: Sekou Sundiata 2014
Artistic Production Grant, Foundation for Jewish Culture, Triangle: From the Fire 2011
Artistic Production Grant, Sydney Hillman Foundation, From the Fire 2011
Finalist in fifteen international and national short film Festivals, Menstrual Rosary 2022
Best Music, Production & Best New Musical, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, From the Fire 2011
PBS Documentary on From the Fire, Nominated for a NY Emmy 2011
Gracie Award, American Women in Radio & TV, Best Local Drama, Fall of the City 2010