Summer may be winding down, but our faculty, students and alumni are staying busy with creative ventures around the country and the world. In our second summer update, we’re recapping the many ways our UT Theatre and Dance artists are finishing out the summer months with exciting projects, from conference presentations and performances to research and fieldwork.
Ph.D. candidate siri gurudev’s performance piece Healing Elementals: auto-limpias was selected as one of the featured movies for The Front Festival, coming up August 25-28, 2022. gurudev created this work in collaboration with Nathalia H. Ochoa (current Latin American Studies graduate student), with support from the Department of Theatre and Dance, the UT Events CoSponsorship Board and the Latino Arts and Culture Center. Healing Elementals received its second public screening on July 30, hosted by Generic Ensemble Company, under the direction of alum kt shorb (Ph.D. 2021).
UTeach Theatre students Carmen Martinez and Jeremy Canales served as interns for the Indigenous Arts Summer Encounter, hosted by the Indigenous Cultures Institute. There, they worked with students aged 10-13, sharing the vibrant legacy of indigenous arts and traditions. Other instructors and staff included Oscar Franco (B.F.A. 2014), Juan Leyva (B.F.A. 2021), Andrew Valdez (B.F.A. 2017), Christina Romero (B.F.A. 2015), Venese Alcantar (B.F.A. 2022) and Diana Guizado (B.A. 2019).
Throughout the summer, Ph.D. candidate Jeffrey Gan has conducted research in the Netherlands for his dissertation, “Rasa and Performance in the Indo Diaspora,” which explores the ways that Indos (a mixed-race, Dutch-Indonesian community) maintain a common cultural identity through food and performance. This September, he’ll be conducting field research at the Tong Tong Fair, an annual Indo cultural festival. Gan’s research is supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, the UT Center for European Studies and a visiting fellowship at KITLV/Royal Institute for the Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies at Leiden University.
On July 28-31, 2022, multiple UTeach Theatre and Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities students and faculty travelled to Province, Rhode Island for the American Alliance for Theatre & Education National Conference, Arriba el Telón (Raise the Curtain). Presentations by UT Theatre and Dance students and faculty included:
- “Adapting Story Drama for Language Learners” by session chair Xinyue Zhang (M.F.A. candidate) with fellow presenter Claire Derriennic (M.F.A. candidate)
- “Activating Identity: Unlocking Latinx Voices in Secondary Theatre Programs” by session chair Michael Ávila (Assistant Professor of Instruction) with fellow presenters and UTeach students Carmen Martinez, Angelo Bianchi, Trinity Gordon and Davina Silva.
- “Devising Theatre for the Very Young: A Hands-On Approach” by session chair Sara Simons (Assistant Professor of Instruction)
- “Bilingual Latinx Theatre For and With Youth” by session chair Roxanne Schroeder-Arce (Associate Professor and Associate Dean of UTeach Fine Arts) with fellow presenters Mateo Hernandez (B.F.A. 2020) and Martin Rodriguez (B.F.A. 2015)
While attending the American Alliance for Theatre & Education Conference, Schroeder-Arce and Shavonne Coleman (former lecturer) were both recognized in AATE’s Distinguished Award Ceremony. Schroeder-Arce and her co-writers María F. Rocha and Héctor Martínez Morales accepted a 2022 AATE Distinguished Play Award for their musical Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet, while Coleman received the Ann Flagg Multicultural Award.
Kirk Lynn (Associate Professor, Playwriting and Directing) will perform his one-man show The Cold Record at the Darwin Festival in Australia. Directed by Alexandra Bassiakou Shaw (Lecturer, Playwriting and Directing), this interactive, punk rock, time-traveling experience will be on stage August 10-14, 2022.
Leah Cox (Assocaite Professor, Dance) will perform in Liz Lerman’s evening-length dance piece Wicked Bodies, presented as part of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2022 on August 10-13. The performance, which Cox has been involved with for many iterations, investigates the ways that our bodies have been commodified as sources of evil and power, from witch trials of the past to modern day.
Madge Darlington (Assistant Professor of Instruction, Performance as Public Practice) is directing Hyde Park Theatre’s production of Judith, by alum Katie Bender (M.F.A. 2014). Bender’s solo play follows the ambitions, love and writings of Judith, who travels to London dressed as a man to stand trial in place of her brother. The production will have performances throughout the month of August, closing on September 3, 2022.
This month, Quetta Carpenter (Assistant Professor and Head of Acting) will travel to Rawalpindi, Pakistan to speak at the International Conference on Strengthening Teaching and Research Capacity: Collaborative Partnership in Social Sciences. The conference is organized by Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi-Pakistan in collaboration with The University of Texas at Austin South Asia Institute, with funding by the U.S. Educational Foundation in Pakistan. Carpenter will speak on “Establishing Meaningful Connection in Digital Interaction” and will share remarks in the conference’s closing ceremony.
As part of the South Asia Institute’s partnership with multiple universities in Pakistan, Carpenter will also give a lecture on Delsarte and Commedia Dell’Arte at Fatima Jinnah Women University on August 17. Ahead of the conference, she has plans to visit the National College of the Arts in Lahore, Pakistan and will reconnect with a former student from the partnership who now leads a group of women filmmakers.
Intimacy director and coordinator Andy Grapko (Graduate Coordinator and Lecturer, Acting) has been involved with multiple projects throughout the summer months. She served as intimacy director for Way Off Broadway Community Player’s production of Venus in Fur and Ground Floor Theatre’s upcoming production of Anna in the Tropics (also featuring Ben Bazán (B.A. 2012), Cherry Mendoza (B.A. 2014) and Desireé Humphries (Costume Production Associate)). She also worked as intimacy coordinator for the feature film Clock, which is currently in post-production. Learn more about her work as an intimacy director in her interview on KOOP’s The Sex Ed Show in May, 2022.
Chuyun Oh (Ph.D. 2015) published a new book this summer, entitled K-pop Dance: Fandoming Yourself on Social Media. Published through Routledge on July 1, her book ranked among the top new releases in the communications and popular dance categories on Amazon during the month of July.
Isaac Gómez (B.A. 2013) and Jaymes Sanchez (M.F.A. 2022) will both participate in summer residencies at SPACE on Ryder Farm. Gómez was among this year’s playwrights and lyricists selected for a Working Farm residency, earning him five non-consecutive weeks among fellow artists at Ryder Farm. Sanchez was previously selected as one of SPACE on Ryder Farm’s Creative Residents in the year 2020. After it was postponed due to the pandemic, Sanchez will finish his residency this summer.
Summer Stock Austin’s 2022 season included the world premiere of Alice’s Wonderland, a musical directed and co-written by J. Quinton Johnson (attended). This on-stage blend of hip-hop, musical theatre and pop music also featured Khali Sykes (B.A. 2021) as director/choreographer and current students Ezra Rose as stage manager, Clarissa Garcia as assistant stage manager and Rachel Ernat in the cast.
Summer Stock Austin’s season productions also included work by faculty member Michael Ávila, current students Rylee Vines, Trinity Gordon, Valeria Najera-Zavala and Sydnie Brown and alumni Ginger Morris, David Hernandez, Jayla Ball, Libby Jantz, Rachel Atkinson, Rachael Gomez, Stephanie Busing, Charlotte Griffin.
Snow in Midsummer, by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (M.F.A. 2009), had a month and a half long run at Classic Stage Company earlier this summer. Her adaptation of Guan Hanqing’s classical Chinese drama The Injustice to Dou Yi That Moved Heaven and Earth transported the story to modern times in an investigation of trauma and justice, on stage at the Lynn F. Angelson Theater from May 20-July 9, 2022.
The Road to Galena, featuring actor Will Brittain (B.A. 2021), was released on July 8, 2022. Brittain played the role of “Jack Miller” in the new drama, which is available to watch now on Amazon Prime.
Sam Mayer (M.F.A. 2021) premiered his play The Cuck with Intramural Theater in New Orleans. Mayer’s adaptation of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Electra delves into a modern world of partying and privilege, performed in an outdoor theatre this past June.