Department News (2-9-15)

TYA Today published an article in their Fall 2014 issue honoring Harold Oaks, former BYU Theatre and Media Arts department chair and associate dean, in recognition of his work in the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) field. Karen Sharp, Executive Director of the TYA/USA board, initiated the Harold Oaks Award to recognize individuals and professional companies who have made outstanding contributions to TYA. Harold Oaks was also the president of both the United State and the International organization for ASSETEJScot Copeland, artistic director of Nashville Children’s Theatre, said “He has been an inspiration to me since I was very young, and I think it is absolutely marvelous that TYA/USA is recognizing his significance by creating this award in his name.” To read more, download the article.

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The BYU Young Company celebrated it’s 40th anniversary last Wednesday night with the opening of A Mid-summer Night’s Dream, directed by Nat Reed.  Julia Ashworthand Becky Wallin planned a wonderful event honoring Harold Oaks, the founder of Young Company.  Haley Flanders, the dramaturg for The Fisherman’s Wife, put together a slide show that featured photos from most of the touring Young Company shows from past years, including slides of George and Leslie Nelson, when they met on Rumplestilskin, David MorganTeresa Love, and Becky Wallin.  Over a 100 people attended, including many company members from past shows.  After the show, Julia, Amy Jensen, and Harold Oaks spoke, and then the audience moved to Studio A where refreshments were served.  Rodger Sorensen, Teresa Love, and Deb Tholen Escalante performed a delightful number reminiscent of their days as touring company members, “Into the Van.”  Megan Ann Rasmussen, another past president of the national TYA organization and TMA alum, also spoke to the group.  Kudos to our outstanding Young Company!  Be sure you get a chance to bring a young friend to the delightful puppeted production of A Mid-summer Night’s Dream.

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This past weekend, Divine Comedy performed four  sold out shows in the Tanner Building with a mash up of Star Wars and Annie as their headliner.  In addition, the group announced the winners of their annual sketch writing contest.  This year’s contest, which is funded by the DC endowment, had over 90 entries.  The winners were: first place ($1000),  Collin Wheeler; second place ($500), Derek Flake; and third place ($250),Tanner Call.  Divine Comedy’s next show will be “Into the Hood,” on March 6 and 7 in the Varsity theatre.

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Lauren Jackson,  one of Elizabeth Funk’s student assistants, who has worked in the office for over a year, helping with department newsletters, the website, and faculty rank advancement, was engaged over the weekend to Spencer Hanson.  Lauren is majoring in journalism; Spencer, who is on BYU’s track team, is majoring in computer science. Congratulations!

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Congratulations to three Music Dance Theatre students who were awarded  $1,500  in an ORCA grant to accompany faculty members Tim Threlfall  and Gayle Lockwood to present at the Music Theatre Educator’s Alliance (MTEA) international conference in Perth, Australia this summer. The three students are Preston Yates, Shae Robbins, andCassie Austin.

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