Department News (2-25-14)

Last Friday, Feb. 21, marked the second annual TMA Assessment Day, organized by Wade Hollingshaus.  Thank you to each of the areas, area heads and faculty members who met and discussed exciting subjects such as assessment artifacts, rubrics, and curriculum adjustments.  The morning started off in the north conference room of the Hinckley Center (a marked improvement over last year’s windowless venue!).  Each area reported to the group some things they had tried that worked for their areas, and then the areas broke out and got down to the assessment process. Media Arts reviewed the interviews they conducted with junior students, identified the needs of these students, and made plans to better prepare them for life after BYU.  In BFA Acting, a new proficiency model was tried last semester where they attended each other’s classes and watched scene work in addition to the normal proficiency monologues. Theatre Arts Studies began productive discussions about how they can better serve students with general theatre interests, students not pursuing expertise in a single area.  Theatre Education began to develop an assessment tool that we could use throughout our entire program, repeatedly, so students are very familiar with it and have room to grow over time.  Each area found that subjects so seemingly dry become enlivened as they focused on student learning.  The day ended with a great lunch from Goodwood BBQ!  Thanks to our office staff for their support in arranging for this event.

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Little Women, a 536 project directed by Tiffany Garner, played in the Nelke this past weekend.  One of Tiffany’s mentors was Rodger Sorensen. It is always ambitious to put on a Broadway musical, but this delightful production was surprisingly intimate. If you went, you’d surely be singing “Off to Massachusetts” all the way home!  Performances were sold out. Below are some stills from the production.  Tiffany says:  ”Thank you to everyone who supported me on this project, whether you helped me conceptualize the production, came into rehearsals and gave me feedback, or just attended the show. I can not think of a better way to end my time at BYU, and I am so grateful to each and every one of my professors for their help and support throughout the years.”

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Did you know that one of MDT’s alums, Jeff Whiting, has created an app called Stage Write? According to Jeff’s website, Stage Write Software, which he designed and developed, “marks the world’s first digital method for documenting staging and choreography and is already in use for many of Broadway shows and tours, including NEWSIES, BOOK OF MORMON, MATILDA, THE PRODUCERS, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, HAIR, BIG FISH, and THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS.”  For an interview with Jeff in Playbill this last December about the new app, go to http://www.playbill.com/features/article/185550-Broadway-Choreographer-Starts-Revolution-With-Stage-Write-iPad-App   Jeff is also the owner and Artistic Director of The Open Jar Institute, a music theatre training program founded in 2003 for the development of music theatre artists of all ages.  The Open Jar Institute features a Summer Institute offering students intensive workshops with Broadway’s best directors, choreographers, agents, and casting directors.  One of our students, Cameron Smith, received a scholarship earlier this month at KCACTF to attend the workshop this summer.

 

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