Letter from the Chair

Dear Friends of Ohio State Theatre,

With this belated 2014-2015 issue of Encore we document another productive year of making theatre, innovations in teaching as well as promising new initiatives. The latter includes a new addition to our season schedule: Raw Theatre. This concept, that focuses on small-scale productions of recent plays that do not require large-scale design and technology, began in Mount Hall Studio Theatre in fall 2014 with Norwegians. We are now producing a raw theatre production each season to provide students with the opportunity and experience working in a fringe theatre or off-off-Broadway format after they graduate. 

This issue is chock full of wonderful work by our students who serve as models of our departmental focus that supports and promotes the scholar/artist and/or artist/scholar. This year witnessed four remarkable events—all linked to theatre productions:

  • Our annual Syndicate Symposium had a tri-fold purpose: 1.) Symposium: “’Blurring Boundaries without Burning Bridges:’ Italian Contemporary Performance, The Theatre of Emma Dante, and Beyond”; 2.) Performance by Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale of Operetta Burlesque by Emma Dante, the American premiere of this work in our Thurber Theatre; 3.) Keynote Speaker: Howard Shalwitz, Artistic Director of Wooly Mammoth Theatre and 2014 recipient of the Margo Jones Award from the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute.
  • Distinguished theatre designer Pamela Howard gave the Annual Theatre Research Institute Lecture by sharing her approach to an active design process with her many examples of her productions from around the world.
  • Distinguished New York based director, Melissa Maxwell, joined us in the spring to director Alice Childress’ Trouble in Mind. Working with our designer Brad Steinmetz, the production team transformed the Roy Bowen Theatre into a 1950’s Broadway theatre!
  • In May 2015 the Department of Theatre with the Royal Shakespeare Company celebrated six years of work together with our Shakespeare and Education Festival that included workshops with RSC artists and educators. For the festival we remounted our production of In Here Out There, a new work developed with local schools connected to our Shakespeare and Autism research. The MFA actors devised the new work for our fall 2014 season. The photos above are from a performance of The Tempest in Action performed by our students and alums under the direction of Kelly Hunter.

Another important enterprise is the development of a new degree: a BA in Moving Image Production (MIP) in which our video production courses are a key component of this interdisciplinary program. We look forward to this coming to fruition in the not too distant future. Keep tuned to our Theatre News on our website!

Alums and friends—please keep sending us your news and do include photos! We want you in our next issues of Encore!  We love to celebrate you!

Warm regards,

Lesley Ferris

Lesley Ferris, Interim Chair
Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of Theatre

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