The ingenuity of our students and faculty doesn’t stop when the school year ends in May. Artists and scholars from the Department of Theatre and Dance have continued shaping and showcasing their artistry throughout the summer months. We’re excited to highlight some of the ways that our students and faculty have stretched their creative muscles this summer, here in Austin and across the country.
Evan Carlson (B.F.A. in Dance student) is in Woodstock, New York, performing as a member of Woodstock Playhouse’s summer acting company. He has performed in the principal role of “Motel” in Fiddler on the Roof, as well as other appearances in Monty Python’s Spamalot; Hello, Dolly! and a TYA production of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Insha Noorani (UTeach Theatre student) is spending the summer working as a Theater Operations intern with Jujamcyn Theaters in New York City. During the week, she splits her time between the administrative office and Jujamcyn’s five Broadway theatres, assisting the ushers and house managers as needed before performances.
Marisa Lawrence (UT Live Design and Production student) is working as a stitcher/seamstress at the Santa Fe Opera. She’s on a team of costumers who are focused on dressmaking for all five of their summer productions. Faculty member David Arevalo also worked remotely on a costume piece for the Santa Fe Opera, which can be seen on stage in their production of Orfeo.
New Ohio Theatre kicked off their annual Ice Factory festival with a production of Deadclass, Ohio, written by Eliya Smith (M.F.A. Playwriting student). This year’s festival also features gerstl took the easy way out by Lydia Blaisdell (M.F.A. 2016), on stage July 26-29. Alumni Lacey Erb (M.F.A. 2017) and Bruno-Pierre Houle (M.F.A. 2017) also collaborated on Blaisdell’s production.
Simon Salinas (B.A. in Theatre and Dance student) took part in the National Theater Institute’s Theatermakers Summer Playwriting Intensive. During this six-week intensive, Salinas wrote one new one-act play a week, which was rehearsed by actors and directors and presented in free performances every Monday. “I am very grateful for everyone who pushed me to be here,” Salinas shared. “I am not only sharpening my tools as a playwright but also meeting fellow amazing theatre makers whose work I adore.”
Jeffrey Gan (Ph.D. candidate) wrapped up his Craft Archive Fellowship from the Center for Craft with a presentation of his dissertation research. As part of his fellowship, he also published an article about his research on Dutch Indo craft and culture in Hyperallergic Magazine. Gan also performed in a day-long event at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens in early June as an ensemble member of Balinese music and dance group Gamelan Sekar Jaya. View an Indonesian language video about their performance.
Deen Rawlins-Harris (M.F.A. Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities student) helped lead a discussion at The CRAFT Institute’s International Black Theatre Summit: Satellite Event in St. Louis. They co-facilitated a panel entitled “We Out Here…” focusing on intergenerational leadership and supporting the growth of young Black theatre professionals.
Roxanne Schroeder-Arce (faculty) has been very busy this summer. Shortly after returning from leading a Maymester course in Mexico, she developed and led a session for Texas Fine Arts Summit 24: Fueling the Future through Fine Arts. Schroeder-Arce also led the Department of Theatre and Dance youth summer camp Exploring the Arts, Exploring the Self with graduate student Renita James and undergraduate student Yobany Pizano, among many other summer projects.
Aída Hernandez-Reyes (B.F.A. in Dance student) and alumni Micah Senter (B.F.A. 2023), Sheila Jackson (B.F.A. 2023), Camille Wiltz (B.F.A. 2023) and Cellise Brown (B.F.A. 2022) have joined the local dance company VALLETO. Additionally, dance student Lauren Jershin attended their 2023 summer intensive as a recipient of a VALLETO Fellowship. There, she learned and collaborated with fellow dancers under the direction of founder Valeria Y. Gonzalez and guest teaching artist Erica “EG” Gionfriddo (faculty).
Lara Dossett (faculty) expanded her offerings for this year’s Summer Institute: Activating Learning through the Arts. Along with Katie Dawson (faculty), Lara worked with Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities graduate students Gabrielle Lewis, Renita James, Mateo Hernandez and Lily Odekirk to facilitate the Summer Institute: Participatory Action Research for Climate Resiliency in early June.
Leah Cox (faculty) is hosting her first ever Failure Collective workshop this August. This workshop is designed as a space to celebrate failure and the discoveries and problem solving that grow when we don our “non-expert hats.” Registration is free and open until July 31. Cox also led the Department of Theatre and Dance’s Contemporary Dance Intensive: Creative Collaboration youth summer camp with Sabrina Blackwelder (B.F.A. 2023) and Venese Alcantar (M.F.A. Dance student).
Summer Stock Austin’s 2023 season features multiple UT Theatre and Dance artists among their creative team. Their season kicked off earlier this summer with The Wizard of Oz, with musical direction by J. Quinton Johnson (attended), choreography by Khali Sykes (B.A. 2021) and additional choreography by artistic director Ginger Morris (B.F.A. 2000). Grease opens in late July, directed by Michael Ávila (faculty) with music direction by Johnson, stage management by Rylee Vines (B.A. in Theatre and Dance student) and additional choreography by Sykes and Morris. Summer Stock Austin closes out their season with Dance Hall: The Movie Musical co-written by Allen Robertson (M.F.A. 1992) and Damon Brown. Rachel Atkinson (M.F.A. 2013) serves as lighting designer and Rachael Gomez (B.F.A. 1986) serves as properties designer for the entire season.
Current B.F.A. in Acting students Mia Hsiung Nguyen and Dominic Gross are spending the summer months performing in Illinois Shakespeare Festival’s 2023 season. As acting interns, Nguyen and Gross have rehearsed and performed alongside their fellow interns and a company of professional actors, including alum Geoffrey Warren Barnes II (M.F.A. 2013).
Have a summer update you’d like to share? Let us know!
Written by Sydney Pattillo.