Department News 03-14-16

TMA is pleased to announce that we will have a second new faculty member joining us beginning Fall 2016. Dennis Wright has officially signed a hire letter and is very excited to join the faculty. His primary appointment will be to serve the Design area, but we know that he will have much to offer the entirety of TMA.  Dennis Wright currently serves as the Campus Department Chair for Design programs at Sanford-Brown, Las Vegas. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in Clothing & Textiles with a minor in Theatre Arts. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Boston University in Theatrical Costume Design. Wright has worked extensively in both retail and entertainment industries. He worked as a manager and visual merchandiser for J. Riggings Menswear and Michael’s Craft Stores.Wright has designed costumes for productions at Pioneer Theater Company, Jackson Hole Playhouse, American Reparatory Theatre, and The Barn Theater. He spent 10 years as a costumer, costume designer, and project manager with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. While there, he designed character costumes, attraction uniforms, and contributed to multiple live stage productions. He also managed uniform production for several large-scale Disney resorts. He is currently designing children’s wear as Associate Designer for Persnickety Clothing Company. Wright has worked for Sanford-Brown (formerly IADT) for 9 years, starting as an adjunct instructor at the Orlando campus in 2005. After becoming a full-time instructor he moved to the Las Vegas campus in 2009. He became Department Chair in 2013 overseeing programs in Fashion Design & Merchandising, Game Production, and Graphic Design. He teaches courses in Fashion Sketching, Fashion Design, Fashion History, Consumer Behavior, Visual Merchandising, and Portfolio Presentation. Wright is married to Kimberly (Walker) and they have four children.



Congratulations to the following individuals for their success at this year’s LDS Film Festival:

  • Short Film Competition: First Place (and audience choice), Mine, filmmaker: Nick Dixon; Third Place, The Surface, filmmaker: Willem Kampenhout; honorable mention: The Sun Is Heavy, filmmaker: Jared Jakins
  • Feature Films: Audience Choice Award: RAIDERS! THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE, filmmakers: Tim Skousen, Jeremy Coon


Mother Courage and Her Children, by Bertolt Brecht and directed by David Morgan, opens this week and will run March 17-April 1 in the Pardoe. This production stars our very own Barta Heiner as Mother Courage. As Barta’s third time playing this specific role, the play’s dramaturg, Eric Stroud, conducted an interview with her to talk about how she feels about the role and production. The interview, as well as an in-depth look at the play, the word “Breitchan,” and epic theatre, can be found at 4th Wall Dramaturgy – Mother Courage and Her Children. Barta recently received the Theatre SCERA Arts Award, an award that honors those within Utah Valley who contribute significantly to the arts.  Charlene Winters observed in a recent article in The Daily Herald, “Whenever I reviewed a play and saw that Barta Heiner was in the cast, I was thrilled, because I knew that any production that featured Barta would be top-quality.” Charlene Winters reviewed theatrical productions in Utah Valley for nearly a decade.  Read the rest of the Daily Herald article here.

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This past week, our Design/Tech area hosted guest artist, Margaret Peot, a professional artist over the past 20+ years who paints and dyes costumes for the theater at Parsons-Meares, LTD. She has painted on a hundred projects, including Broadway shows such as Aladdin, The Lion King, Wicked, Turn Off the Dark, Will Rogers Follies, Shrek the Musical, Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, dance American Ballet Theater’s Peter and the Wolf, Joffrey Ballet’s Cotillon, Pilobolus, Feld Ballet’s Evo and Paper Tiger, Nevada Ballet and San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcrackers, the film Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as well as for circuses, arena shows and ice shows. She is a proud and long-time member of United Scenic Artists, local 829.  Margaret presented the theatre forum last week and also  a master class for TMA 259.  In addition, she conducted a 3-hour workshop in painting and dying and gave a lecture in the advanced design class.  Margaret believes in the therapeutic and restorative power of creativity, and while she was in town, she conducted a workshop at the Huntsman Cancer institute for children with cancer and their parents.  You can learn more about her work at, including a wonderful coloring book for children and adults.  Thanks especially to Mary Farahnakian and Ken Crossley for their generous hosting of this special guest.



Thanks to Julia Ashworth and the rest of The Taste of Sunrise cast who have been doing media interviews last week! The Deseret News ran their piece in the Sunday paper. This is a big deal for BYU Arts – The Deseret News rarely does features on BYU productions (maybe two in the last two years…) Congrats all!  To read the whole article, go to BYU unites hearing, deaf communities in ‘Taste of Sunrise’


Media arts students Melody Chow (director) and Helen Butcher’s (producer) capstone, When Skies are Blue, premiered this weekend in the HFAC.  About 120 people attended.  The film is a celebratory collage of life— stitching together home videos with footage shot by the crew to tell a story that explores memories and moments of happiness. Director Melody Chow and her team have worked on this project for over a year, and they were so happy to show everyone their finished film. Melody and Helen thank Scott Christopherson, their faculty mentor who guided the project and helped them be more creative film makers.  They also wanted to thank all those who contributed to the project—Studio Orchestra Club, Stephen Cope, Anna Thalami, Kent Thalami, Colton Elsey,Andrew Hoopes, Michelle Gioglio, Peter Totten, Simon Chow, Andy Chow, Joan Pine, Adam McGee, Betsy McGee, Hannah Tew, Marissa Beatty, and all of the many families who opened their homes and donated home videos. Please join us during the film forum on Thursday, March 24th, at 11am in room F201 to watch When Skies Are Blue, which will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.


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