In June, Dr. Wade Hollingshaus spent three weeks in England and Sweden. In London, he visited with TMA’s London Theatre Study Abroad faculty and students and acclimated himself to the city for when he directs the study abroad next year. Then he spent time in Bath, England, conducting research for his book project on Peter Gabriel. While in Stockholm, Sweden, he met with the artistic director of Strindberg’s Intima Theatre and discussed the possibility of bringing one of their productions to our campus next year.
Last week (June 26-28) Benjamin Thevenin attended the National Association for Media Literacy Education’s biennial conference in Washington DC, along with Media Arts students Sam Burton, Cristin Dickey and Elias Gold. The group presented “Media Literacy Goes Outside,” based on their experiences in Benjamin’s Space, Place and Media Arts course. The group led a workshop where they applied principles of critical analysis common in media education to examine our relationship with space and place in order to help us be more mindful of our engagement with the world around us. They attended sessions and workshops at the conference, as well as visited sites in the city, including the National Museum of African-American History & Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian.
The image below shows Dickey, Gold, Thevenin and Burton with TMA graduate Alexis Romero Walker at the Lincoln Memorial. Walker is working on her PhD at UNC and presented “Aliens as ‘Others’: How the Film ‘Arrival’ Demonstrates Racial Otherness” at the conference.
This past weekend, Jeff Parkin and his business partner, Jared Cardon, attended the third annual Center for Latter-day Saint Arts Festival in NYC at Columbia University. Jeff and Jared’s presentation celebrated the 10th anniversary screening of The Book of Jer3miah. The Jer3miah series “was a groundbreaking, interactive, 20-episode web project that inspired an intensely loyal fan base. The project was praised by The New York Times as a ‘tight, suspenseful little series [that] may just have what it takes to get web audiences to utter the words ‘Mormon conspiracy thriller’ without a touch of irony’ and was an honoree for Best Drama at the Webby Awards.” Below is a photo of Jeff and Jared at their conference presentation with Randy Astle, another media arts alum, and author of the book on Mormon Cinema (on Amazon). In case you’re not familiar with what Jeff and Jared have been up to lately, “they [recently] co-created two immersive digital experiences funded by the National Science Foundation (in partnership with NASA and the Smithsonian), and were selected as Finalists for the Sundance Episodic Story Labs for their scripted drama aLa Linea, which explores the intersection of cartel violence and LDS life in the contemporary Mexican colonies. They are currently developing a movie musical for BYUtv.” (from www.centerforlatterdaysaintarts.org)
Jared Cordon, Jeff Parkin, and Randy Astle presenting at the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts Festival.
The CFAC External Relations team has posted two articles about recent events that our department has been heavily involved with. Written by media arts alum Martha Rallison Duzett (2014), these articles contain follow-up stories about the Spring Writers’ Conference and the China Spectacular.
For those who attended the Spring Writers’ Conference last month, it truly was a tremendous opportunity to not only hone their craft, but to make connections with other writers. Martha recounts some of the highlights from the conference, quoting two attendees, Elise Finlinson and Elena Bender. “It’s a great way to share and hear from some incredible people in the industry,” Finlinson said, “and get professional exposure I wouldn’t get any other way.” For many attendees, this conference gave them feedback from both peers and professionals in their own work, inspiring them to continue writing. Bender said that “[Her] biggest takeaways were to write and rewrite . . . I have a lot to say, and it’s never going to be heard if I don’t write. It’s all about growth.” We would like to thank professors Tom Russell and Courtney Russell for organizing the biennial Writer’s Conference, and all who made this conference possible. Here’s a link to this article.
Conference attendees participate in a table reading of student work. Courtesy of Lindsey Tippets
Students follow along during screenplay table readings. Courtesy of Lindsey Tippets
Elena Bender (right) helps run an exercise on using audio cues in writing. Courtesy of Lindsey Tippets.
For those who participated in this year’s China Spectacular, it certainly was the chance of a lifetime. But the performers and backstage crew all had to adapt when much of the show’s equipment didn’t arrive in China with them. In her article, Martha Duzett relates the experience that Sarah Kupferer, the China Spectacular‘s assistant stage manager, had during this time. At first, Kupferer relates the difficulty they had to tackle this unforeseen circumstance. “We had planned and prayed about this show,” Kupferer had said. “We made this show for these people, so why didn’t our equipment come through? Why couldn’t we give them the show that we planned?” But everyone rose to the occasion. They rented sound equipment, found basketball equipment for the Dunk Team, even changed the choreography for the Cougarette’s “Lion King” number because of missing props. In the end, the show was still spectacular, and Kupferer learned from the experience. “Heavenly Father requires a lot of hard things of us,” she said, “but sometimes those things are put in our path so that we can learn from them. It’s our job to overcome them prayerfully and be able to learn and grow from them.”
Backstage during BYU’s China Spectacular. Courtesy of Susan Kupferer.
Susan Kupferer was in charge of packing hundreds of BYU Spectacular costumes. Courtesy of Susan Kupferer.
Susan Kupferer and her husband Matthew visit the Great Wall of China. Courtesy of Susan Kupferer.