the college of performing arts appoints dennis hilton-reid as director of equity, inclusion, and social justice

Dennis Hilton-Reid

June 16, 2021, New York - As a key component of a multi-faceted approach to Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (EISJ) in The New School’s College of Performing Arts (CoPA), Dennis Hilton-Reid has been appointed as the first-ever Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice at the College of Performing Arts. Hilton-Reid’s portfolio will include work on behalf of students, faculty, and staff of CoPA and its three schools: the School of Drama, the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the Mannes School of Music, as well as CoPA’s pre-college program: Mannes Prep. 

“The first moment Dennis Hilton-Reid appeared on my radar was when I heard from a large group of BFA Drama students how much Dennis had done for these students in direct support, mentorship, and teaching connected to issues of race, inclusion, and social justice. I have no doubt that Dennis’s leadership, expertise, and humanity will help to guide CoPA in work that we have undertaken to be a more diverse, equitable, and just institution,” said Richard Kessler, Executive Dean, College of Performing Arts and Dean of Mannes.

Looking forward to this important new role, Dennis Hilton-Reid said: “I'm deeply moved to engage with the community in this work at this moment in time.”

While the position is expected to evolve significantly over time, Dennis Hilton-Reid will work in close collaboration with the CoPA Deans Council, the CoPA EISJ Steering Committee, CoPA’s EISJ consultant Justin Laing of Hillombo Consulting, and will liaise significantly with the range of work in EISJ occurring across The New School. 

The Director of EISJ will focus on a wide range of critical issues in Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice including engagement with administration, faculty, and students on developing a more diverse and socially engaged curriculum, develop and teach courses in the broad realm of EISJ, mentor faculty and staff, lead the development and implementation of ongoing workshops and training for faculty, staff, and students around issues related to EISJ, convene the community, and much more.

As part of his directorship, Hilton-Reid will continue to teach courses in the School of Drama and across the College of Performing Arts. Hilton-Reid will begin his new role on July 1st, 2021.

About Dennis Hilton-Reid
Dennis Hilton-Reid is an actor, director, playwright and educator who has been teaching at The New School since 2018. Recent work includes directing the Pulitzer Prize winning play Ruined by Lynn Nottage for the Athens & Epidaurus Festival in Athens Greece. He also directed the world premiere of the play Silent Voices for the National Theatre of Uganda.

Dennis is a member of the Actors Studio PDU (Playwright, Directors Unit). He developed his one-man show Mandingo of Manhattan as a resident artist at Mabou Mines, for which he was awarded a Jerome Fellowship and a grant from the Puffin Foundation. Dennis has performed Mandingo at Mabou Mines, The Thread Waxing Space, Stand up New York: a benefit for the Artists Against the Contract with America, and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. As an actor, Dennis has performed at regional theaters throughout the country, including the Spoleto Festival in Charleston SC; The Cider Mill Playhouse in Binghamton NY; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Guthrie in Minneapolis; the Kennedy Center, Yale Rep; Voice and Vision (Smith College); Rites and Reason (Brown University). In New York he has appeared at HERE, NADA, the Public Theater, CSC, La Mama, the Ohio Theater, En Garde Arts, and Mabou Mines.

He has directed productions for SUNY Purchase, Fordham University, Powerhouse Theatre, Avalon Theater co; Arc Lite Theater co; EST, Stella Adler and Pace University, NY Stage and Film, AMDA, Circle Rep, AADA and the NJ Shakespeare Festival. 

In 2005 Dennis Hilton-Reid wrote and directed the short comedy film You Cannot Eat Art and in 2017 published The Young Actor’s Notebook.

In addition to the School of Drama at The New School, Dennis has taught at Columbia University, Purchase College, Vassar College, NYU, City College, and Fordham University. Dennis has taught workshops on Chekhov at the Theatro-Ergastirion Drama School in Athens Greece, and on women victims and violence in classical drama in the age of #MeToo, using the techniques of The Emotional Gesture. 

Dennis Hilton-Reid received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama, studied at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and recently completed the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Certificate Program at Cornell University.

The College of Performing Arts at The New School (CoPA) was formed in 2015 and draws together the iconic Mannes School of Music, the legendary School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the ground-breaking School of Drama. With each school contributing its unique culture of creative excellence, the College of Performing Arts is a hub for cross-disciplinary collaboration, bold experimentation, innovative education, and world-class performances.

The over 1,100 students at CoPA are actors, performers, writers, improvisers, creative technologists, entrepreneurs, composers, arts managers, and multidisciplinary artists who believe in the transformative power of the arts for all people. Students and faculty at CoPA collaborate with colleagues across The New School in a wide array of disciplines, from the visual arts and fashion design, to the social sciences, public policy, advocacy, and more. 

The curriculum at CoPA is dynamic, inclusive, and responsive to the changing arts and culture landscape. New degrees and coursework, like the new graduate degrees for Performer-Composers and Artist Entrepreneurs are designed to challenge highly skilled artists to experiment, innovate, and engage with the past, present, and future of their artforms. New York City’s Greenwich Village provides the backdrop for the College of Performing Arts, which is housed at Arnhold Hall on West 13th Street and the historic Westbeth Artists Community on Bank Street.

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


79 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003


Media Contacts:

Will Wilbur,
The New School
[email protected]

Follow @TheNewSchool 

Bookmark and Share