Department News 03-21-16

BFA Acting Reunion – Schedule. All BFA, BA, and other alumni, faculty, and current students invited to take part!

Friday, March 25:

  • 11am-12:50pm B201 HFAC, Q&A Discussion with alumnus Ben Hoppe (BFA 1998) Creative Director, Disney Character Voices
  • 1-2:50 pm D341 HFAC Group Discussion: Life after the BFA, led by alumnus Slate Holmgren (BFA 2007, MFA Yale School of Drama)
  • 3-4:50pm B201 HFAC Lecoq Movement Workshop led by alumna Jjana Valentiner (BFA 2000, MFA George Washington University)
  • 3-4pm D341 HFAC Q&A: To MFA or to not MFA? Graduate School and other options. Led by alumna Jennie Pardoe (BFA 2010, PhD Cadidate University of Missouri)
  • 4pm Tour of HFAC led by current BFA students, meet at North Slab
  • 5-7 pm F201 HFAC Meet & Greet with faculty, alumni, and current students. Come and go as you wish – light refreshments served
  • 7:30-9:30pm Pardoe Theater, Mother Courage and Her Children starring Barta Heiner
  • 9:30-10:30pm Pardoe Theatre/D341 post-show discussion and reception with Slab Family Christmas “Moment”

Saturday, March 26:

  • 10am-1pm Skyroom, Wilkinson Center – BFA retrospective and tribute brunch


This week, two visiting guest artists are coming to present workshops for BYU. Cheryl Lundquist and Victoria Brown will meet with students in B-220 for the workshops on Friday, March 25th. Below is the description of each of the workshops.

  • 9:00-10:15am:  Gesture Based Theatre with Cheryl Lundquist. In this hands on workshop participants will learn ways to develop and integrate gestures and pantomime into storytelling and for character development. These gestural description skills help students create and visualize characters and enhance descriptive language use. We will explore how to use gestures to delineate length, width, and depth and to create texture, pattern and shapes. We will also practice the use of facial expression and body language for clarification and emphasis. These visual gestural communication skills evolved from American Sign Language and have been used by Cheryl Lundquist in her work with students and actors at Galluadet University.
  • 10:30-11:45am:  A Playful Approach to Drama with Young Children with Victoria Brown. Come experience first-hand how teachers and parents can step into the world of make-believe to scaffold and guide young children in their learning.  Indeed, dramatic play is a primary means by which young children learn – exploring the world around them as they solve problems, express emotions, collaborate, engage in dialogue and socialization and develop critical thinking skills.  This participatory workshop will demonstrate how drama can be used with young children to capitalize on this “living through” play experience and enhance learning.


Two TMA faculty members’ work is being reviewed by outside reviewers during the run ofThe Taste of Sunrise.  Julia Ashworth’s work as a director will be reviewed by Megan Alrutz and Christina Marin.  Michael Kraczek’s work as the lighting designer for the show will be reviewed by Linda Essig and Vickie Scott.  All four reviewers will be on campus and will participate in interviews with the production company.  We appreciate their expertise and willingness to participate in the review process.

unnamedChristina Marín joined the Performing Arts faculty of Emerson College as an Assistant Professor in the area of Theatre Education in 2010. She teaches Drama as Education, Theatre of the Oppressed, Human Rights in Theatre, and Qualitative Arts-based Research.  She is published in STAGE of the Art, Youth Theatre Journal, Gender Forum, The Dictionary of Literary Biographies, the Encyclopedia of Latina and Latino Popular Culture in the United States, Children Under Construction: Play as Curriculum, and Theatre of the Oppressed and Youth. Her professional and community theater directing experiences include the award winning productions of José Casas’ play 14, and Rubén Amavizca’s Las Mujeres de Juárez for Teatro Bravo in Phoenix, Arizona.

unnamed-1Dr. Megan Alrutz joined the University of Texas at Austin as an assistant professor of applied theatre and community cultural engagement in 2009. Previously, she was on the faculty of the University of Central Florida where she developed and led the M.F.A. program in Theatre for Young Audience for five years. Dr. Alrutz earned a Ph.D. in Theatre (with an emphasis in Theatre for Youth) from Arizona State University, and a B.A. in Theatre from Rutgers University. Her creative and scholarly interests focus on applied theatre, digital storytelling, and theatre for young audiences. She works nationally as a facilitator of professional development in drama-based pedagogy and practice, as well as arts and technology integration. She is also a professional director and dramaturg.

unnamed-2Linda Essig is Director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, including the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship, which has helped over 30 student teams develop arts-based ventures for Arizona and beyond since its inception in 2006 and publishes the only research journal in the field, Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts She was the first director of the ASU School of Theatre and Film, now the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, where she also served as Artistic Director of the school’s MainStage Season from 2004­–2010.  Essig has designed lighting for theatres throughout the country including Cleveland Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, Missouri Rep, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Skylight Opera, La Mama ETC, Pioneer Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre and others.

unnamed-3Vickie Scott is Director of the Design Emphasis, teaches lighting design for theater and dance, designs lights and mentors students. She is a graduate of the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA with degrees in both Lighting Design and Technical Direction. Her recent work at UCSB includes: Reckless and The Seagull. Vickie has created lighting and scenic designs for dance and theater productions throughout the U.S. and abroad. Recent professional work includes the Lighting Design for Xayron: The Legend in Budapest, Hungary; Lighting Concept and Lighting Design for Floraland II, a theme park in Chengdu, China; and the Lighting Design for the 2009 Ojai Playwrights Conference.



The Daily Universe wrote an article about Barta Heiner labeled “Beloved BYU acting professor prepared for final bow.” The article includes Barta’s experiences growing up that got her into acting, her influence on the Acting program here at BYU, her relationship with her students, and what she plans on doing after retirement. Barta also talks about how she wants her students to stay strong in the gospel while pursuing their passions.”‘You need to know what you really believe and you need to be excellent with what you do,’ she said. ‘Because if you’re going to stick up for what you believe, then there’s some people that will not want to work with you or will test that area sometimes…If you’re excellent – if you’re really good at what you do- a lot of times even though they don’t like what your standards are, you’re still a commodity they really want to work with,’ Heiner said.”Read more at

MC1603-04 004(785)


Michael Kraczek and Rory Scanlon attended the USITT Conference this past week, held in Salt Lake City.  Michael was elected to the office of vice chair for the Intermountain Desert Section of USITT.  He has been working with faculty from a couple of other schools to set up a regional section of USITT in this area for a few years and his work finally bore fruit at this conference. Michael chaired a panel titled “Exploring the Lighting Compendium, Volume 2” which looked at  projects found in Practical Projects for Teaching Lighting Design:A Compendium, Volume 2 by the Lighting Design & Technology Commission of USITT,  published by USITT, that was released at the conference.  He has a project titled “Lighting Systems: Power and Control Lab” that was included in the volume and led a discussion with several other project contributors on the projects.  In addition,Michael presented a poster entitled Making Connections in Interactive Performance, that addressed some of his findings from his work on the Theatre Engine Project.  Rorywas able to meet with past BYU graduates who are working professionally now in various capacities for major companies and universities, including Brent Pritchett (Systems & Design National Manager of Business Development for 4Wall Entertainment Lighting),Maggie Bailey (theatre representative for Strand Lighting), Gary Benson (Associate Professor at BYU-Idaho), and Richard Clifford (Associate Dean, College of of Performing and Visual Arts at BYU-Idaho), to name a few.  It was great to hear of their successes and see how far they have come since leaving BYU. Rory and Michael attended some great sessions in their areas of expertise and talked with grad programs that some of our students were interested in. Our students were strongly represented at the Expo; it was a wonderful opportunity for them to speak with representatives of the largest technical theatre programs in the United States.

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