The once-quiet halls of the Winship Drama Building are now full of conversation as friends and collaborators reunite with the start of the fall semester. As our brilliant students and faculty flock back to Winship, we’re reminiscing once more on the outstanding work they created beyond the 40 Acres over the summer break. From conferences and productions, to residencies and awards, they return this fall with stories to tell of their summer adventures.
Alex Titsworth (UTeach Theatre student) took part in Prague Shakespeare Company’s summer intensive program. While taking classes to deepen her craft, she also served as the sound board operator for Much Ado about Nothing and a small portion of an Arabic and English production of Romeo and Juliet. She also served as the sound designer, composer and sound board operator for Hamlet and the sound designer and composer for an upcoming production of Love’s Labour’s Lost. Eric Ramos (B.F.A. Acting student) also attended Prague Shakespeare Company’s summer intensive program in the acting area.
Yunina Barbour-Payne (Ph.D. candidate) was invited to attend the Black Theatre Network annual conference as the first prize winner of the 2023 S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholars Competition (Graduate Division). At the conference, she presented research from her award-winning paper “Costuming for an Affrilachian Stage: The Color Purple in Crystal Wilkinson’s Blackberries, Blackberries.”
Caley Chase (M.F.A. Directing student), Hal Cosentino (M.F.A. Playwriting student) and Ellenor Riley-Condit (Ph.D candidate) presented work at Powerhouse Theatre in Poughkeepsie, New York. As members of Powerhouse’s training company, Riley-Condit directed Once in a Hundred Years, written by Cosentino, while Chase directed an outdoor production of Macbeth. During the summer months, Chase also travelled to New York City to conduct research at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Her research project centers on Jewish theatre in post-Holocaust Germany.
Mia Bella Castillo (UTeach Dance student) and Angelica Monteiro (Faculty) received Arnhold Summer Fellowships to attend the Dance Education Laboratory Essentials Summer Course. They, along with alum William Kauffmann (B.F.A. 2023), travelled to New York City in early July to learn alongside fellow dance educators and practitioners.
Roxanne Schroeder-Arce assisted with research and teaching at the Indigenous Cultures Institute Summer Youth Arts Program. She was joined by current UTeach Theatre students Valeria Najera and Layla Villarreal, Ph.D. candidate Jessica Peña Torres and alumni Juan Leyva (B.F.A. 2021), Oscar Franco (B.F.A. 2014) and Andrew Aaron Valdez (B.F.A. 2017). Other UT affiliates who contributed to the summer youth encounter included Jose Flores, Marial Quezada and Angela Vela.
siri gurudev (faculty; Ph.D. 2023) and kt shorb (Ph.D. 2021) were both awarded Arts Research with Communities of Color Fellowships by the Social Science Research Council. During their fellowships, shorb will work with Theatre Mu and gurudev will work with Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, conducting research geared towards making the arts a more equitable field.
Nanette Acosta (Faculty) designed costumes for the regional theatre premiere of The Hello Girls at Taproot Theatre in Seattle, Washington. Her designs helped tell the story of the first women to serve in the army during World War I.
Whitney Tooker (UTeach Theatre student) worked on multiple summer youth camps with alum Brian Nguyen (B.F.A. 2020) at the Paramount Theatre. Tooker served as a group counselor for the first two sessions of a musical theatre camp, entitled Camp Paramount. She then returned for the fourth Camp Paramount as the acting teacher, working with children ages 7-16. Tooker also served as the camp manager for the Paramount’s Camp Story Wranglers.
Gesel Mason (Faculty) was an artist-in-residence at Bates Dance Festival, where she conducted performance research on the next iteration of her project Yes, And. Mason was joined by collaborators Yunina Barbour-Payne (Ph.D. candidate) and Love Muwwakkil (M.F.A. 2023). Their research will contribute to a future performance of Yes, And at Bates Dance Festival in Summer 2024.
Annie Baker (Faculty) developed work for the stage and screen this summer. Her play Infinite Life premiered at Atlantic Theater Company in August, and her debut film Janet Planet is set to screen at this year’s New York Film Festival.
Katie Dawson (faculty) co-led an Applied Drama Institute in Taiwan with Weber State University Associate Professor Tamara Goldbogen (M.F.A. 2000) in late-July. They worked with 60 university and K-12 educators in partnership with the National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology (NKUST). Other facilitators included Taiwanese teaching artist I-Chia Chiu (M.F.A. 2019) and Dr. Yi-Ren Tsai (M.F.A. 2004).
Erica “EG” Gionfriddo (Faculty) led a movement workshop at the Bill Evans Somatic Dance Conference/Northwest. Their session, entitled Hands-On GYROTONIC®, was presented for fellow dance educators among a weekend of workshops on July 20-23, 2023 in Port Townsend, Washington.
Faculty, students and alumni attended multiple conferences over the summer. In late July, UT Theatre and Dance artists travelled to Seattle to attend and present at the 2023 American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) conference. Later in August, another group of UT affiliates took part in the Association of Theatre in Higher Education conference as panelists, presenters and committee members.