For the past few months at the UNP Hartland Partnership Center, four University of Utah Theatre Teaching students lead by Kelby McIntyre-Martinez worked with the Hartland Youth Center to put together a social action theatre piece, “We are Hartland!” The goal of the performance was to share youth hopes and dreams with the broader community.

On Tuesday evenings, we met with the youth at Hartland to teach them theatre skills such as projection (using a loud and clear voice), being in control of their voices and bodies while on stage, facing toward the audience, smiling and always giving 100% effort. We had fun dancing and playing theatre games with the youth while adding a different piece of the performance every week.

In small groups, the youth shared with us the dreams they have for their futures, the dreams they have for their families, and the dreams they have for their world. Some examples were to play professional soccer, to go to college, to buy houses for their moms, to be kind, to give back to the community, and to help others. The youth used Tableaux, which is a frozen picture that represents a story, to express their dreams in the performance. The Youth studied the words of Dr. Martin Luther King in his famous speech “I Have a Dream” and recited phrases from it with movement during the performance.

On the day of the performance you could feel the excitement and jitters in the room as we practiced our piece at the Sorenson Unity Center before the show. Once the youth came out on stage in their bright matching Hartland t-shirts, you could feel the energy and the love as they recited, “We are Hartland bright and fun, watch out world ‘cuz here we come!” The audience participated in our dance routines by clapping with us and even shared their hopes and dreams after the performance! The Hartland Youth had so much fun performing in front of their fellow students and the community. They really shined! Hopefully they will be able to take the skills they learned and use them to shine in all aspects of their life.

Content provided by Carly Taylor, University of Utah Theatre Teaching student.

Story originally published by partners.utah.edu.
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Department of Theatre Performing Arts Design Program alumna, Iris Salazar premiered her play, American Pride as one of four short plays that comprised “…Of Color” at Plan-B Theatre Company in March, 2019. Story below retrieved from planbtheatre.org

Mexican playwright Iris Salazar on creating “American Pride” for …OF COLOR

Nov 27, 2018

IrisSalazar

Playwright Iris Salazar was born in Gomez, Palacios, Durango, Mexico. She has lived in Salt Lake City since she was eight months old and became a citizen in 2000. A member of Plan-B’s Theatre Artists of Color Writing Workshop, she makes her playwriting debut this season with a very, very dark comedy about making America great again: “American Pride” is one of four short plays that comprise …OF COLOR, premiering in March of 2019.

I knew when I signed up for the Theatre Artists of Color Writing Workshop that I wanted to write a piece that reflected my political thoughts. I am not a politician, and I have never been able to articulate or debate politics in any way. I went through a torrent of emotions as I watched Donald Trump attack groups of people and brag about his sexual predatory behavior during his campaign but I naively believed that we would never allow this man to preside over our country. My disappointment, anger, and sadness were far too large to measure and simply get over as some would suggest. I found myself posting everything anti-Trump that I could post on social media. In the process, I discovered that people who I knew, went to church with and even admired were supportive and defensive of this individual.

One day I saw a picture of an acquaintance on social media standing next to Mike Pence. She is an educated, well-to-do and respected Christian Lady. She studied politics, is in-the-know when it comes to political policies and she is persuasive. That picture was the beginning of my short play. As a person of color, I didn’t think I could write a play about white racists, but white people write about people of color all the time, and not always in a good light. So I took what I saw and created “American Pride.” This was not only a fantastic writing workshop for artists of color but, on a personal level, it was a way for me to work through my emotions surrounding our current political state.

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Congratulations to Gavin Yehle, our 2019 Department of Theatre Outstanding Student!

Gavin is a dedicated and compassionate leader in the department who graduated with a BFA from the Actor Training Program in 2018, and is now graduating with a BFA in Stage Management.

During his time in the Department, he has appeared in Our Country’s Good You Never Can Tell The Two Noble Kinsmen, and Arcadia. He has stage managed or assistant stage managed on such shows as Company Amahl and the Night Visitors Julius Caesar The Beautiful Game, and The Importance of Being Earnest.

In addition to acting and stage managing, he also has sound designed, mixed and assisted sound on various shows including You Never Can Tell Steel Pier, Bring It On: The Musical, American Idiot, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Recently he was the lighting designer for The Rivals and has helped with lighting on various projects inside and outside of the department.

The Department of Theatre faculty nominated Gavin because of his commitment to the department, his fellow students, and the theatre community. Serving as a member of the Student Advisory Committee throughout his time as a student, he has a vested interest in the continued success of the department and of his fellow classmates, helping with various student-led projects and productions. Outside the University, he’s worked at various companies including University of Utah Youth Theatre where he got his start in theatre (thank you Penny!), as well as Salt Lake Acting Company, The Grand Theatre, and Pioneer Theatre Company. He appreciates all the support he’s gotten from his professors, family, and friends.

He is a recipient of an Honors at Entrance Scholarship, Department of Theatre Scholarship, Magic Space Entertainment Scholarship, Christine Macken Theatre Scholarship, and the College of Fine Arts Advisory Board Scholarship.

GavinYehle

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Lynn Nottage's 2017 Pulitzer Prize winning play, Sweat starring Actor Training Program Head Chris DuVal is now playing at Pioneer Theatre through Saturday, April 13. The poignant and powerful play examines race, economics, personal and collective identity, and what it means to be human. Dramaturg and Theatre Studies Professor Alexandra Harbold asks the question, “Is the “American Dream” still alive? And if so, who gets to pursue it?”

Set during divisive economic conditions in a small manufacturing town in Pennsylvania, Sweat takes us on the journey of nine people—friends, co-workers, mothers and sons, former spouses and lovers. —as their lives intersect as they try to hold onto, or reach for, the American Dream in the face of the increasingly precarious and divisive economic conditions of America at the dawn of the new millennium.

SWEAT Now-April 13 | tickets available here.

Contains strong language.

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by guest bloggers Michaela Funtanilla and April Goddard

Imagination is the only limitation for Department of Theatre set and prop design students, thanks to the department’s acquisition of a state-of-the-art Shopbot CNC machine. It was purchased by an anonymous donor in summer 2018.

“Our production capabilities have in the past been greatly limited in time and budget. By having CNC technology available in our small shop, we can now think and create with fewer constraints,” said Department of Theatre’s Technical Director, Kyle Becker. Similar to a 3D printer, the Shopbot CNC uses computer drawings (CAD) to operate. But instead of additive manufacturing, the Shopbot cuts out shapes from materials like wood, plastic, foam soft metal, and composites. The machine can print up to an 8x4 ft sheet of material—larger 3D designs require cutting out multiple pieces to then assemble into a sculpture.

Prior to owning this CNC tool, limited projects were outsourced, but this was too expensive to do regularly. Now that the Department of Theatre owns its own CNC tool, the possibilities are endless, and projects that took days to build can be completed in minutes. “We can ask the machine to 3D carve and 2D cut without these tasks consuming time and money that can go to other areas like assembly and painting,” said Becker.

CNC machines are standard technology in the performance art design industry. Students can receive training on the CNC tool though the department's Computer Modeling and Design course, and become more competitive for set design jobs in theatre, film, and theme parks. Becker said he would eventually like to partner with local high school theatre programs to increase CNC machine education.

The Rivals opens 4/5 and will be the first set to highlight the Shopbot’s capabilities as the set requires intricate architectural facades. Buy your tickets at ticket.utah.edu.

Original article by The Finer Points Blog

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For this episode of MAGNIFYING we spoke with Department of Theatre Assistant Professor of Directing and Co-Founder & Co-Artistic Director of the Flying Bobcat Theatrical LaboratoryAlexandra Harbold.

Our creative community here at the College of Fine Arts is diverse and wide spread. With the goal of gaining a deeper knowledge and awareness of the people within our community, we bring you MAGNIFYING, a series dedicated to showcasing the talent of our students, faculty, and staff.

Tell us about yourself: Name, where you are from, what you do and how you got into in your field of work My name is Alexandra Harbold. I grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia and earned my bachelor’s at Middlebury College in Vermont and my masters at the University of London, Goldsmiths College. My grandparents met playing opposite one another in a production of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever, so theatre always felt encoded in the DNA and lore of our family.

What has surprised you the most in your life? Where we find and make our homes and lives. Having grown up on the East Coast, I always expected to land there. When I was in London for grad school, I felt like I’d found home. Which made coming back to the States challenging in new ways – I found myself looking for that kinship I felt to London and couldn’t really find it. I’ve lived in New York City, Seattle, and Chicago… When we moved to Salt Lake City for my husband’s work, we thought it was a stopgap and that we would only be here for a year or two. That was in 2004.

What do you wish you had known/been told? I wish I’d recognized that the sense of not knowing enough that used to get me tangled in knots was only problematic because I thought I was supposed to ‘get it’ the first time. As if our capacity to understand and create are fixed points, our once and future reality. Now I recognize that creativity and craft grow in direct correspondence to curiosity and resilience/stubbornness. In a SITI Company blog a few years ago, Artistic Director/author Anne Bogart wrote about the necessity of deep practice, referencing neuroscientists’ discovery that ‘only after 10,000 hours of practice is real progress and innovation possible.’ So I keep working towards that 10,000 hours.

Original post by CFA The Finer Points Blog

 

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WOMANSPLAINING?

by Director Sarah Shippobotham

When asked to direct this show I initially didn’t see what all the fuss was about. So what that ten men were being played by ten women? We’ve turned male roles into female ones many times before—we did a female-forward Julius Caesar last semester—because we have always had such strong women in our program, often outnumbering the men, and we have tried hard to give them the opportunities they deserve. I have always been aware of the gender disparity in theatre and I have always decried it; and yet I still didn’t think the gender make up of this play was anything noteworthy. How wrong I was!

Being in a rehearsal room with fourteen young minds, including ten actors, three stage managers and one assistant director/movement director—of whom only two are male identifying—has actually been an eye-opening experience for me. I have learned so much about myself and what it is to be true to my own strength as a woman; about how privileged I was to have a mostly single-sex education; about how fearless many of these young women in the show are in their exploration of their roles in this world; about how we can listen to a lone male voice without it coming off as mansplaining (even though I was worried it may), and about how much work there still is to be done to give women the space they deserve as a matter of course without needing to talk about it because it is still an issue.

Jacklyn Backhaus said that she wrote this play because she wanted to write an adventure play. While writing it she realized she couldn’t be in it, as it was an all-male adventure. To change that, she wrote it for women to play the roles of John Wesley Powell and his crew. She has been asked why she didn’t write a story about women and did she discover women’s stories as she wrote it. She wanted to tell the Powell story. And she did encounter females’ stories along the way, but they had to be looked for as most of our historical documentation puts men’s—and mostly white men’s—stories on show, hiding or overlooking those of the “others” who helped to shape the world.

I love seeing the women of our theatre department taking up male-sized spaces, having fun with each other as they embark on Powell’s epic journey. And I hope you too will value the experience of seeing so many women on stage together at one time.

MEN ON BOATS MARCH 1-10 in Studio 115 Tickets: tickets.utah.edu/events/men-on-boats/ 801-581-7100

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The Edward Lewis Legacy

When Edward Lewis was a student at San Jose State University, he discovered that their theatre department had never done a black play. In 1971 he created People Productions, a theatre company designed to bring together underserved youth with community artists which donated all of it's profits to the Glaucoma Foundation, to fight a disease from which both his mother and his grandmother suffered. He later revived People Productions in Los Angeles, where he directed and acted in plays by Eugene O'Neill, Lonne Elder (of the original Raisin in the Sun cast), and Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Gordone. After his son Edward Lewis Jr. graduated from the University of Utah, Edward Sr. moved to Salt Lake City. By that time Department of Theatre Professor Dr. Richard Scharine had been teaching African-American theatre at the U for nearly 20 years, and a former student of his, Karen Alexander (who graduated from the Department of Theatre in the late 80's) connected the two. Together, Lewis and Scharine revived People Productions in the summer of 2000 with James Baldwin's The Amen Corner, performed in the Department of Theatre's Studio 115. People Productions continued creating diverse theatrical experiences for the next 17 years, ending in April 2017 with August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. During that time Edward played leading roles in such plays as Lonne Elder's Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, Charles Fuller's A Soldier's Play, August Wilson's Jitney, Richard Wesley's The Mighty Gents for People Productions, and Rita Dove's The Darker Face of the Earth. Edward Lewis died of pancreatic cancer in 2009, and that winter (with several plays featuring black actors being performed) Jerry Rapier had the idea of marketing them all under the title "The Edward Lewis Black Theatre Festival." The Festival has continued yearly in the month of February, usually in the Salt Lake City Public Library auditorium, with several different local theaters contributing short plays or scenes from their current productions.


The 10th Annual Edward Lewis Theatre Festival Performances include:

University of Utah Adjunct Assistant Professor Dr. Lynn DeBoeck’s The Lynchpin Life which brings together Civil Rights pioneer Ida B. Wells with a Black Rights Matter woman of today. GUISE by Chris Curlett and DoLs by Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin (Plan-B Theatre) · Script-In-Hand readings of two short plays-in-progress from Plan-B's Theatre Artists of Color Writing Workshop. Me Too Monologues (Wasatch Theatre Company) Let Me Down Easy (Canary Down the Mine) · Written by Anna Deavere Smith, founding director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at New York University.


The 10th Annual Edward Lewis Theatre Festival Sunday, February 10 2 to 5 p.m. Salt Lake City Public Library FREE admission

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The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company presents, 'the live creature and ethereal things'
Feb. 1-2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre
This production is in collaboration with Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory, founded by University of Utah Assistant Professors, Robert Scott Smith and Alexandra Harbold.

the live creature and ethereal things' draws inspiration from the Red Fred Project which collaborates with children living in extraordinary circumstances (rare diseases, critical illnesses, life-limiting situations) and asks them the question: If you could write a book for the entire world to read, what would it be about? Their stories are full of colorful characters both humorous and wise. Guest performer Robert Scott Smith joins the company on this curious, shapeshifting, and theatrical quest. Flying Bobcat’s adaptation with storytelling with both English and Spanish, explores the power of storytelling and forming connections in a magical theatrical quest to prove that every voice matters. Choreography by Artistic Director Daniel Charon, storyline in collaboration with Alexandra Harbold and Robert Scott Smith of Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory, and original score created by John Paul Hayward. Additional support provided by Mary Jane O'Connor, the Price Family Foundation, and Zions Bank. Music commissioned by the Charles and Joan Gross Family Foundation. Tickets: $35 ($40 day of)

Purchase Tickets: ArtTix.org 


All photos by Tori Duhaime

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Ash Patlan on the left in "Halfway" by Emily Schwend

Tell us about yourself: Name, where you are from, what theatre emphasis you did, graduation year, what you do and how you got into your field of work? Hi! I'm Ash Patlan. I'm from Sandy, Utah, and I graduated from the Actor Training Program in the Spring of 2018. I'm currently acting in the Professional Training Company at the Tony Award-winning Actors Theatre of Louisville. As a member of the Professional Training Company, I've been able to perform in many shows put on for the community of Louisville, Kentucky, and have been able to dive headfirst into the professional world of new works. In my time at Actors Theatre, I've originated a role in the world premiere of a site-specific new play by celebrated Humana Festival Playwright, Mara Nelson-Greenberg; I've performed a fully produced run of my own original work on the Actors Theatre Stage; I've played Petunia Fezziwig in the 43-performance run of  Louisville's traditional classic, Fifth Third Bank's A Christmas Carol; and I am about to start rehearsals for the world premiere of the new play, We've Come To Believe, that will be featured in the 43rd Humana Festival of New American Plays. I was first introduced to Actors Theatre when I was a junior in the ATP, as we auditioned for the Director of the Professional Training Company during his recruitment trip to the U. I completely took advantage of the fact that this industry professional was coming to Utah -- just to audition and meet us --  and I used that time to really foster a good professional relationship. I made sure I sent thank you emails after he left, that I kept in contact with him from time to time, and that I auditioned for him again when he came back my senior year. It worked. After I auditioned for him again my senior year, he immediately recognized me from my video submission when I formally applied for the company and the rest is history.

AshPatlanFifth Third Bank’s A Christmas Carol" at Actors Theatre of Louisville. 

How did your experience in the U’s Department of Theatre help you as a professional? There is no way in the world that I would be where I am today without the things that I gathered from my time in the ATP. Being in this program gave me all of the tools necessary in order to survive and succeed in this immensely difficult field. The quality of the education that I received from the ATP is of such a high quality that it easily rivals anything I could have ever learned from going to any acting school on the East Coast. I daily use the warm up techniques that I've learned from all of those Voice and Speech and Singing for the Actor classes; I meditate and focus myself and the characters I become before, during, and after stepping out on stage with the skills I've obtained from all of those Movement and Butoh classes; and I tackle any script and balance the maths and the humanity of the text with the mastery I've acquired through through the years of Shakespeare and Acting classes at the U. Honestly, I am so glad I went there.

What is your favorite Utah memory? I miss everything about Utah, but I especially miss the U. My favorite moment was the last Finals Week of my senior year and seeing all of my classmates and friends from all 4 graduating classes perform . I thought it was really special to go to each person's final and get to see them in completely in their element and get to cheer them on. I also really liked getting to perform my senior project, MAYFLOWER, and I felt extremely supported by my classmates, friends and faculty in the audience. It became such an important moment for me to create and perform my own work and it really gave me the courage to keep working on it. I eventually went on to further develop MAYFLOWER at Actors Theatre and got to perform a run of it on the same stage where plays by Obie Award-winning playwright, Lucas Hnath, have first premiered. Honestly, what a special time to get together to celebrate one another's work -- it really is magical.

What advice do you have for recent grads? My advice for recent grads is to hit the ground running as soon as you receive that diploma. DO NOT GET LAZY. Have a set of goals of where you want to go and what you want to do and hustle like your life depends on it. You literally have everything you need to succeed, so if you want it, you can make it happen. Research everything, stay in touch with your contacts, be prepared,  stay hungry, and stay humble. You'll be surprised where you just might end up if you do.

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