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Alumni and Friends

Stages

Read articles, view photos and watch films about alumni, friends, and members of the Department of Theater here.

December 2012: Contents

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Remarks from the Chair — Completing the Rand Theater

penny suit

Hello everyone —

Before you read any further, check out this amazing panorama of the completed Rand Theater (just pull your mouse left or right over the image to make it move):

This theater, the one that looks like it would not be out of place in an architectural magazine — this is what the Rand looks like now.

It’s taken a long time, a lot of hard work, and the unflagging support of our Goddess-DeanJulie Hayes and Provost James Staros. If you see either of them, you should probably bow down and yell, “I’m not worthy!” or something.

We celebrated them on the opening night of Violet — the first show produced in the all-new Rand Theater — by raising a glass in their honor and unveiling a special plaque that will announce their generous support to all theater-goers from now on. Take a look at our slide show for a glimpse of the festivities, at which we not only raised our glasses, we were treated to impromptu a cappella singing by our cast members.

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But more about the Rand Theater: Once you see the finished theater it’s almost hard to remember, but if you scroll through the slideshow here, you’ll get a little peek at where we started, and how we got to the finished product.

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You may have noticed, however, that there are no before and after photos of our lobby or bathrooms in there, and that’s because we’re still working on them.

What we've done so far:

We have a beautiful design for new lighting and a stunning now box office courtesy of alumnus Doug Kraner ‘79G.

We’ve successfully launched our fundraising efforts with a beautiful celebration that brought together friends and family of the late, beloved Doris Abramson in connection with our production of Machinal (it was the last play she ever directed for us, in 1985).

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I’ve thrilled you all with my spokesmodel acumen in the awesome video I made. (Need a refresher? Here’s the link again.)

Many of you have already given, and given generously. We were thrilled to receive an anonymous gift for $50,000. Altogether, we’ve got about enough raised, to build the box office and lobby furniture Doug has designed. But we don’t have enough yet to install green lighting or make our bathrooms accessible, which, as you can understand, is even more important in our plans.

Here's a link to DONATE!

Please, as you plan your charitable giving for this season, consider adding us to the list. I’d love to have good news to report in our February issue of Stages!

In the meantime, please read on to meet one of our newer faculty members, get to know a great couple who support what we do, and read Mark Dean’s poignant words about his departure from the department (I think he says some things we all feel).

And just for a little shot of bragging, check out the slideshow below to see some of the incredible artists and scholars who’ve joined the department as special guests so far this year.

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Happy holidays to you all, and see you in the new year!

Sincerely,

Penny

Donor Profile: The Hoyt Family

Over the past few years, we've used our Stages newsletter to introduce you to some people who are supporters of the Department of Theater, who remember their time here when they think about the charitable giving they want to do. We'd like to introduce you to Peter and Patricia Hoyt (Parents of theater alumnus Gregory Hoyt ‘02).

Above: Patricia and Peter Hoyt

Graduating Year: Son, Gregory Hoyt graduated in 2002

Major: Theater

A Favorite UMass Theater memory: We had such a good time going out to see his shows,” said Patricia Hoyt. “It was such a fun way to be part of our kid’s life.” Emblematic of Greg’s time at UMass is a family photo at a formal event in which Greg’s hair is almost platinum blond — he’d had to dye it for a role.

Why do you donate to the Department of Theater?We donate to make a statement about the importance of the program. We’re big proponents of the state (university) system,” says Peter Hoyt, adding that they support it “whole-heartedly” and have been impressed “with the quality and rigor of the program at UMass. It was an incredible experience that really defined his professional life.” His wife agrees. The training at UMass Theater “is an important foundation and we want to pay it forward,” she says.

 

Parental Support

When their son, Gregory Hoyt ‘02, started looking at colleges, Peter and Patricia Hoyt knew the UMass Amherst would be the best fit for nurturing his dreams of an acting career, dreams they’d been supporting and encouraging since his appearances as a young boy in his mom’s productions. But unlike the bossy stage parents train-wrecking all over reality TV, the Hoyts are pretty level-headed and realized that this had to be his decision.

“We had taken him there (to UMass) as a high school senior,” said Peter, “and he would have nothing to do with it.”

Instead, he chose Emerson College. After a year, though, Greg realized that his parents had been right — the program, good as it was, just wasn’t for him, and he transferred to UMass, where he quickly found his niche. He proceeded to appear in a number of mainstage and student shows. He has lived in Los Angeles for nearly a decade now, making a living acting in commercials and TV series. He recently made his film debut in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, and in an interview with Stages early this year, spoke with fondness and gratitude of his training here.

That positive experience is why Peter and Patricia have donated to UMass Theater yearly, even though Greg has long since graduated.

Developing a skill to nurture a student’s talent

Amazingly, there do not appear to have been any I-told-you-so’s from the Hoyts-senior once Greg changed his mind — and that’s saying something, because they got to know UMass through the experiences of one Jeffrey Donovan ’91. Donovan, lately of the hit show Burn Notice and a handful of Eastwood films, was Patricia Hoyt’s student in high school and is on record citing her as a huge influence in his life.

The Hoyts were an artistic family from the get-go. Peter is a semi-professional singer; Patricia, an actor — and in addition to Greg, they have a daughter, Joanna, who is a singer. Early in their married life, the Hoyts were members of a community theater group.

“Patty was Annie Sullivan!” Peter remembered proudly.

Both held a variety of positions but spent much of their professional lives as teachers, which is how Patricia came to be a mentor to aspiring actors.

“My love of literature led me to love theater,” Patricia said, and as an English teacher at Amesbury High School, she interacted with the students who were interested in theater.

Furthermore, she said, “every great teacher must become a performer. To hold your audience, you always have to be thinking about your audience, about others.” That, she said, is why a theater major who never performs professional “still has a great life skill.”

She was still fairly new to her profession when Donovan and a friend convinced her that the school needed a drama club.

“It was outside my comfort zone — I’d only ever been onstage,” she said.

Still, she was game to try it, and soon the school was putting on productions.

“As someone watching while this unfolded, Patty came into Jeff’s life at a very important time in his life — he needed her kind of leadership,” Peter said.

“I don’t claim to be the one to develop his skills,” Patricia says now about Donovan. “I allowed his talent and enthusiasm to have an outlet.”

Peter gently chided his wife that “she is much too humble,” but one thing Patricia will readily admit to knowing early on was that Donovan had a gift, and that it was equal parts talent and determination. One of the assignments she gave out in class was to ask her students to memorize a piece from Shakespeare. They had the option to recite it in front of the whole class. Donovan, who’d memorized Shylock’s speech from Merchant of Venice, “actually performed it,” she said.

“He was fearless,” she said. “When they could give me shivers, that was a moment."

Watching a son make the right decision

In this environment, Greg discovered acting, too.

“When he was 7 or 9, he played a dog in one of Patty’s plays. And he did one of these” — Peter mimed a funny bit of stage business — “and the audience cracked up.”

“Both kids seemed to be talented, and they seemed to love what we loved,” Peter said. By the end of his high school career Greg knew he wanted to study theater.

“Jeff had done well at UMass,” said Patricia, and so they suggested it to Greg, with the aforementioned results. They knew not to keep pressing their case, and eventually Greg came around to their way of thinking.

“There’s a difference between pushing and supporting that you have to balance. The final choice has to be theirs,” said Patricia, who said the experience proved instructive not only in her family but as a teacher. “It’s OK to change your mind,” is something she now tells students who are agonizing about their decisions.

UMass Theater proved to be the right fit for several reasons, including the financial.

“If he wanted to live his dream, he couldn’t do it with that kind of debt burden,” Patricia said, referring to Greg’s first college.

She also appreciated the liberal arts, little-bit-of-everything philosophy of UMass Theater. “It’s such a great way to approach the business. (Students) have the background to understand the entire process,” she said, noting that as drama club advisor, she’d found herself having to acquire a varied skill set very quickly. “It’s a well-rounded education.”

Peter also appreciated that the department instills something less tangible in students, and that’s going after what they want. “Don’t wait for it to come to you.”

UMass Theater is also a place that embraces its own.

“One of the things my students feared about UMass is it’s so big. But the theater department is a welcoming place,” Patricia said.

It’s still the case even now that Greg is graduated — he still sees fellow UMass Theater transplants and gets together with them in LA to do creative projects. And the Hoyts? They continue to donate for all the reasons that led Patricia’s students and their own son to Amherst in the first place.

 

Spotlight on Professor Megan Lewis

lewis

In September 2011, the Department of Theater welcomed Assistant Professor Megan Lewis to its faculty.  A Theater Historian and Performance Studies scholar, she currently teaches both undergraduate and graduate students in our Dramaturgy Program.  A graduate student who counts her as a mentor, Carol Becker interviewed Professor Lewis to learn about her background and passion for the ater and teaching.

 

CB: To get the ball rolling, can you please tell me what brought you to UMass?

ML: Because I am a researcher as much as I am a teacher, I liked that UMass was a research institution where teaching was highly valued.  I felt at home in a large public institution, like the University of Minnesota where I was trained and worked for a long time. I was particularly drawn to the Department of Theater because it was a small department within a large research university that did world class, professional-level theater with students.  I love that all my colleagues, no matter how disparate our training or areas of expertise, genuinely work together and respect one another.  For me, UMass was the perfect combination of an institution that valued teaching, with research support and a tenure track line, intimate faculty, and a culture of genuine respect.  And I loved that I could teach both grads and undergrads. 

CB: That’s excellent!  Can you tell me a little bit about your passion for theater, how that developed, when it developed and some of the first things that drew you to theater?

ML: From the time I was an itty-bitty thing, I was putting on performances for my family members.  I had delusions of being a ballerina and even had a stage name!  I was “Rose Feller” from the time I was three.   I was drawn to performance and make believe because it was how the world worked to me.  My Mother realized this and sent to me to drama classes as a kid where I did very well.  It fed into my performance diva gene that was clearly in me from the get-go.  When I came to the United States, theater was one of the things that helped me make friends.  

CB: How old were you when you came to live in the United States?

ML: I was thirteen.  When I came to the US, theater helped me connect with people. It was something I could do (I could not play sport, could not sing or play an instrument.)  When I was in my teens, I was serious about training as an actor and actually took classes at HB Studios in New York {she is referring to the actor training studio developed by Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof - http://www.hbstudio.org/}

I come from a theater-going world. South Africa is a country always staging itself for itself. It’s a place where theater has always been a part of the social fabric (before, during and after apartheid) and where performance is political.

In college, when I began to realize what apartheid was all about, I saw how theater could be a medium of change, how it could speak truth to power, how – like Brecht said – it could be not just a mirror to reflect reality but a hammer with which to shape it.

CB: You wear many hats. You are a theater historian, film scholar and videographer, teacher.  Which is the hat you enjoy the most? 

ML: I have had a career in advertising that led me to become a filmmaker. {Lewis, it should be noted, is the directorial genius behind that Shed the Shag video of Theater Chair Penny Remsen. She is also working on a documentary film about devised theater-making based on UMass alum Lisa Channer’s company, Theater Novi Most — Ed.} I have trained as a theater historian and then gravitated towards Performance Studies because it broadened the objects of my study to performances that occur beyond the proscenium arch. I have taught film classes and run a video production company. I’m also a mother and that is the best job I have!  I love all of my many hats equally because they keep me diversified, interested, and I don’t get bored.  I don’t think I could just be a researcher and not teach.  Also, I don’t think I could just be in the academe and not have my foot somewhere dabbling in some other universe that keeps me on edge… keeps me relevant and interested in multiple places.  My teaching is informed by my research and I think I’m a better mother because I am a thinker and a scholar and keep learning things. I like having my hands in a lot of pots at the same time. Life is an interconnected matrix of forces. It is an exhausting life, but it’s the way I function.

CB: Could you tell me about what you love most about teaching?

ML: Why do I love teaching?  Because I had phenomenal teachers when I was growing up and I want to share the passion for knowledge they gave me with my own students.  I had fantastic teachers in high school – Alec McDonnell, Marion Truslow -- who taught me how to think critically and question the world, how to write well and express my thinking through written language.  Clifton Crais at Kenyon College blew my mind open! He taught me what apartheid really was and that it was perpetuated in the name of little white girls like me.  The work I did with him in college became my dissertation and now my book.  In graduate school my mentor, Michal Kobialka changed the way I think about history, and the power of theater, forever. My students are constantly teaching me things, about life, about theater, about the way we learn, about teaching, about myself. I love the idea of learning something new that I haven’t learned before!  The more I don’t know, the more I want to know.  I have this voracious appetite for learning. I am a perpetual student and that is why I am so lucky to be in academia! 

I am also really interested in pedagogy and in teaching practices and how it is that you can teach more effectively.  I’m as much interested in the the art of teaching as I am in the subject that I teach.

CB: Let’s talk about your research and publishing as you are currently working on a book. 

ML: Yes, the book is tentative titled, “White Africans in the Spotlight: Afrikaner Performance in Theatrical and Everyday Life.”  It was my dissertation topic.  I have always been fascinated by the performance of South African national identity, how people stage ideas about themselves for themselves and the rest of the world. And I’m always drawn to how race and gender are enacted.

This research began in college and has continued ever since. I started by examining the thing I know best; that is, white Africans. I am a British/Afrikaner hybrid; my father is British and my mother is an Afrikaner. The more I delved into the subject, the more I discovered how Afrikaners have been performing themselves in to, out of, and around power for quite some time.  My original research questions were how did a group of rag-tag, Dutch and French Huguenot settlers without any cohesive identity or political agenda transform themselves into a nation, or volk that eventually created the system of racial, economic, social and political white minority rule known as apartheid?  How was performance deployed to get Afrikaners into power in 1948? For me, performance is a really broad category – it is not just things that happen in play texts and on stages, but in the streets, in political rhetoric, in museum spaces, in how we enact our race, class, gender, and identity.

Then in 1994, South Africa underwent a historic, peaceful transition out of apartheid and into democracy. Right around this time, I noticed that there were very interesting performances of Afrikaner identity that seemed to be circling the wagons again. For example, I’ve published about Deon Opperman’s work; at a time of political instability when white Afrikaners and their language were under threat, Opperman, who is a proudly Afrikaans playwright, wrote a 5 ½ hour history play in Afrikaans that seemed to be attempting to revalidate Afrikaner identity. But not all the performances I write about are attempts at circling the wagons; there are also many instances of theater that is trying to break old patterns and change what it means to be white and African. In 2008, I met a performance artist named Peter van Heerden who does the most incredible, radical interrogations of whiteness and masculinity using his own body. I recently published an article in The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism about his work.  

So what started as a broader story of all of Afrikaner identity, has focused it to a study of whiteness and masculinity. So… that’s my book.

I’m also co-editing a book of essays on Cape Town-based Magnet Theater (who I am so excited to be bringing to UMass for a week-long residency in January 2013).  That book, that I am co-editing with my colleague at Rhodes University, Anton Krueger, is called “Making Space: 25 years of Magnet Theater in South Africa.”  Magnet has been working for a quarter century making incredible political theater with diverse populations of people around timely, relevant, social justice issues. They are a really phenomenal company that I am so happy to be celebrating in print!

CB: You’ve also created a study abroad program that will take students to the Grahamstown Arts Festival in South Africa. It’s set to premiere in summer 2013 — can you tell us what your plans are for the course?

ML: I have worked for the past decade on this idea and am so grateful to UMass for allowing me to make it a reality! The study abroad program is based around the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, which is the second largest arts festival in the word, after Edinburgh.  It happens every year in June and July.  It is the largest arts festival in the southern hemisphere, and it is both a showcase of South African arts culture, but also of arts and culture across the broader African continent, with international work as well.  It’s 10 days of amazing — that is their ad slogan — and it really is!  It is theater on a main stage and a fringe and two film festivals, a “thinkfest” (which is a series of lectures), physical theater, street theater, and every possible kind of performance imaginable.  It is incredibly vibrant and vital. I have been going for fifteen years and have only ever had a phenomenal time.  It is the perfect venue to take students to learn about the possibilities of theater outside our borders.  Grahamstown is the ideal setting for study abroad because it is a contained village with great dormitories and it is cheap to see theater as a student!  I’ve created a website for anyone’s who is interested at theaterinafrica.weebly.com. Undergrads and grad students from any institution are welcome to apply and join me so for serious theater fun and thinking, Southern African style!

CB: What is theater about, for you?

ML: Theater is a social incubator of ideas. It offers us the potential for social change.  To me, theater is a site in which we can speak truth to power, we can question the way our world is set up, we can imagine new possibilities, we can ask ourselves questions, we can enact the world in new and creative ways. Theater is interdisciplinary, it’s passionate, it’s collaborative. Theater is my life!

Farewell: Mark Dean departs to keep Austin weird

mark

Editor’s note: As we’ve mentioned, in 2011, long-time department member Mark Dean, who served most recently as the General Manager, took a leave of absence. Mark’s mother passed away in 2011, and Mark took over running the Austin Motel, her business, with the idea of readying it for sale. After a year away, however, he realized that he could not bear to part with this piece of his family’s history — the motel was bought by his grandmother in 1961, and his mother had run it since 1993. Explaining that, “I have an abiding desire to continue the legacy, the management, and my family’s ownership of this small family business into a third generation,” Mark announced his permanent departure from the Department of Theater. Below, we share an edited version of the announcement of his departure and the remarks he made at a celebration in his honor. Bon Voyage, Mark!

Dear Penny, Department faculty and staff,

Hello – I would like to thank you all for coming to see me off, after the year and a half that I have been slowly departing, surely one of the longest departures on record at UMass or anywhere else.  When my mother called for my help in January 2011,  I more or less disappeared off the face of the planet, and you all covered for me, went on about the department’s business both without missing a beat, but also surely with a lot of consternation & concern for how to get through it all, all with never a complaint that I ever heard, and nothing but care and support for my final time with my mother, and the work of ensuring her as smooth a passage as possible.

Then of course, in the summer of 2011, I returned and said, “listen, I need another whole year, of really not being here, to see what’s going on the this family business in Austin, and, again you covered for me, this time with Willow Cohen helping things along, but still, without any complaint that reached me, shouldering what I know from many years to be a substantial amount of work on little notice, Joanne Harper and Chair Penny Remsen first and foremost, but you all with various different pieces I know.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the flexibility to deal with & recover from my mother’s illness & passing, and to sort out how best to proceed with the enormous choices before me. 

Now, that the dust has settled enough for me to see the next few years anyway a bit more clearly, and now that I have REALLY moved on after all these years, to help keep that family business alive and thriving, I have to thank Professor Emeritus Dick Trousdell for tipping me off in the summer of 1995 that there was this last-minute opening for a Production Manager, and to thanks ALL the faculty for (somewhat crazily) giving me a chance to prove myself in a position for which I was not particularly qualified.  I must thank all the staff in every area who propped me up over the years while I learned what I needed to know to make any contributions of value to our operations, Public Relations Director Anna-Maria Goossens, Production Manager Julie Fife, Department Master Electrician Michael Dubin, Former Costume Shop Manager Cecilia Precciozzi-Chalfin, Technical Director Michae lCottom, and ALL the production staff, who always let me stop them in the hallways and ask silly questions about how they did what they did, Joanne Harper again (who I cannot thank enough), who suffered my ignorance with grace and humor when we first started trying different ways to organize the department’s finances 10 years ago. 

I must thank Harley for making perhaps the equally sketchy decision to allow me to both assist him, and then to teach TH100, one of the most satisfying of my many endeavors here at UMass.  I owe an undying debt of gratitude to all the Chairs for and with whom I have served over the decades, whom I must thank by name, Virginia Scott, the 1st rotating Chair, Dick Trousdell, the pair of Penny Remsen & Ed Golden together, Harley Erdman, Gil McCauley, and then Penny Remsen  (wait – I’m getting old -- didn’t I already say her?), and then of course, Penny Remsen, Penny Remsen, and Penny Remsen.  Last but never, never least, I thank all the students I worked with and learned from, in Stage and Production Management, in student producing and grant writing, implementation and final reporting, with whom I learned great lessons in the rehearsal room and performance hall, but from whom I learned equally as much sitting & talking on our Greenroom and lobby couches at 1 or 2, or occasionally 3 in the morning when whatever it was we were working on, was finally, finally over.  That a former student of ours and student of mine, Willow Cohen, has been able to join the department during this transitional year to help the department move forward, as it figures out whatever the future may bring, I am enormously proud, and enormously thankful for her skills, her heart, and her ability to drop in the thick of it all on virtually no notice. 

To conclude these many thanks, I actually graduated, matriculated last spring from UMass with an official Masters degree in Business Administration, but as I came off the Mullins dais that day, having shook the Chancellor’s hand, it was my friends from the Department of Theater who encompassed and congratulated me, and so to me, I feel, and I believe that I have really graduated from my own 16-year degree from the UMass Department of Theater.  It seems like a brief moment since I sat before a faculty hiring committee in 1995, the day after my eldest son Aidan was born, my wife Ellen still recovering and nursing at Baystate Hospital, and trying to envision or describe to you what it might be like for us all to work together.  The 16 years I have been here in various capacities have been far more than simply work, a calling with you to help create an empowering theater making environment, and to convey theater traditions from accomplished practitioners (you all), to a new generation of artists and audiences. 

Thank you all so much for your companionship on that journey.

Updates

In our bid for artistic world domination, we've got a few places you can find us online.

If you haven't yet, head on over to Twitter and facebook for updates, behind-the-scenes sneak-peeks at our productions, special event information, and opportunities to win free tickets!

twitter facebook

We also have a Youtube Channel which will get busier in the coming months, and we've recently started pinning on Pinterest. Can Tumblr be far behind? Stay tuned!

Feel free to friend, follow, like, and send your friends and followers our way — as the start of our season gets closer, there'll be opportunities to win tickets to our productions!

First, our profound apologies for not running these two updates in the last issue of Stages. We were suffering from a dread condition called “Forgetting to Check the Facebook Inbox.”

Student Daniel Kadish had one of the cooler internships we’ve ever heard of during the summer: he was a Development Intern at ScottFree Productions (Ridley and the late Tony Scott, directors). He read scripts and ran errands. He tells us actually had footage of in-production projects in his hands and did not watch any of it, which we thinks speaks to his professionalism, because, boy, would that be tempting. Daniel expressed his sadness at the passing of Tony Scott, whom he had a chance to meet during his time working for the production company.

Andy Wittkamper ’97 sent us a report of his production’s exciting journey to the American College Theatre Festival:
Recently, devised production The Icarus Project secured national recognition from the Kennedy Center following its performance at the regional American College Theatre Festival in Fitchburg, MA.  I conceived, co-wrote, and co-directed the devised production, which incorporated puppetry and dance along with lush visual and aural landscapes.  And yes, of course, I designed the costumes too!  The Icarus Project represented several “firsts” in my department--our first attempt at devised theatre, our first attempt at creating and performing with puppets, and my first attempt at anything other than costumes and makeup--thus I was incredibly proud that it was so well received.  I was very fortunate to have June Gaeke in attendance at the festival performance in January 2012, while Miguel Romero came at my invitation to respond to the first iteration of the show in April 2011. 

Several of my students claimed substantial awards for their work on the project, especially our student puppet designer, who won the National Allied Crafts award and an 8-week paid scholarship to the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.  A few photos highlighting her work from the original production were published in the Spring 2012 issue of TD&T.  I attended the USITT conference in Long Beach, CA, where she presented her work to the national panel, AND ran into some old classmates as well, including Kathe DeVault and Brian Ruggaber, and mentor June Gaeke.

This summer, I designed the Long Island Shakespeare Festival’s production of Macbeth, began work on a book about the experience of creating The Icarus Project (I hope to finish it during an as-yet-to-be-determined sabbatical), and created a new website—www.andrewwittkamper.com

Alright — that oversight rectified, we move on to the rest of the updates:

Brand new Professor of Sound Designer Amy Altadonna says she’s had a great fall so far (look for a profile of her in an upcoming issue of Stages).  “I designed Fences for director Derrick Sanders at Virginia Stage Company, Guys and Dolls at American University, and I designed my first UMass production! Machinal is a great play for a sound designer and I was so happy to experience my first design process at the University,” she said.
Amy

Professor Harley Erdman tells us he’s been commissioned by the Northampton Academy of Music to write a play about its first female Director, set in the 1940s. He is also directing the Edinburgh study abroad course this summer.

This summer, alumnus Jonathan Hicks ‘11G returned to his undergraduate Alma Mater in Santa Barbara, CA to do the lighting design for Westmont College's 75th Anniversary production of Much Ado About Nothing. “An exciting project packed full of alumni and current students,” he said.

Alumnus Shawn LaCount ‘09G, Artistic Director of Boston’s Company One, was recently featured on WUMB's Commonwealth Journal Program, based out of U-Mass Boston. “ I shouted out Gil McCauley in my interview as a mentor,” Shawn said. Click here to listen.

Professor Gilbert McCauley directed Looking Over the President’s Shoulder, by James Still, at the University of South Carolina, Department of Theater & Dance, September 4-15, 2012. While this project was initially supposed to be a "remount"of a production done in 2009 it ended up being fully produced and completely re-imagined production in a new venue. 

Professor Emeritus Julian Olf's short comedy, Skunky, received a staged Equity reading at the Abingdon Theatre Company in NYC on November 6th.  The reading, directed by Melissa Skirboll, was part of a benefit series to support new American plays. Skunky featured performances by Glenn Beatty, Mackenzie Hawkins and Helene Galek.

Alumna Simone Shenny ’11 moved to Hartford, where she got a full time job at Channel 3 Eyewitness News.

Alumna Dawn Monique Williams ‘11G shared great news with us: “I'm writing to share the news that I have just been named Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2013 Phil Killian Directing Fellow. With this fellowship I will spend 6 months in residence at OSF serving as directing fellow (assistant director) on two season productions as well as working on new play development in their Black Swan Lab. Before I head up to Ashland, I will direct the English premiere of contemporary Spanish play NN12 by Gracia Morales, at Cal State East Bay.”

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