Department News 12-10-18

Megan Sanborn Jones gave last week’s final Faith and Works lecture of the semester, about “The Power of the Perfect(able) Body.”  She opened her lecture with a description of a Book of Mormon scene that had always confused her, the story of Ammon in the court of King Lamoni, which describes various people falling on the ground for fear, for joy, or for spiritual rebirth. This was especially intriguing to her as a Mormon scholar who studies performativity and the part the human body plays in the dynamic of acting and performance.  She looked at these stories in the Book of Mormon with skepticism until she experienced the same thing herself, when her legs gave way from under her, on two very different and contrasting situations, caused by overwhelming emotions. Megan’s ability to bring threads from a range of her experiences and research into her faith practice brought all of us to a greater understanding of the significance and importance of spiritual experience, Mormon ritual, and a deeper appreciation for the stories in the Book of Mormon. We’re very lucky to have Megan in our department! Watch for the transcript of her lecture on the CFAC website, coming soon!


Well-known and critically acclaimed documentarian Nanfu Wang visited BYU last Tuesday, December 4th.  She gave a lecture Tuesday evening in 2107 JKB to about 50 students about how she got into documentary film making. On Wednesday, she spoke to beginning production students about making their first feature film.  She then fielded questions from students in the Documentary History and Theory class who had all watched Wang’s film, Hooligan Sparrow.  Finally, she generously watched dailies and gave feedback to two documentary capstone projects. Nanfu is best known for the documentary Hooligan Sparrow, for which she worked under the scrutiny of secret police.  The film paints a harrowing portrait of the oppression of Chinese dissidents. The documentary follows a Chinese artist-activist as she seeks justice for victims of a child sex bribery scandal. Filming secretly with a variety of hidden cameras and devices, Wang found herself followed, interrogated and constantly in fear of her work (and life) being destroyed. Born in a remote farming village in Jiangxi Province, Chinese-American filmmaker Wang seeks to illuminate lives normally hidden from the view of the West. Her works include a variety of photographs and short films, as well as the feature-length documentary, There Is No Time, which follows a homeless man in Florida over the course of a month.  Recently, Sundance announced that one of her films, One Child Nation, will be shown at the festival this year. 


One of our adjunct faculty members, Lisa Elzey, who also works for Ancestry.com, recently appeared on The View, a national talk show which films in New York at the ABC Broadcast Center.  Lisa was the spokesperson for Ancestry for the three hosts, Joy Behar, Abby Huntsman, and Meghan McCain, and gave each host a summary of her ancestors’ migrations. In addition, each member of the audience received an Ancestry DNA kit. 

Here’s the Youtube clip of her session of The View:


Margaret Lillian Swenson Woodbury, the wife of late BYU faculty member Dr. Lael J. Woodbury, passed away on Thursday, December 6, 2018. Margaret was a lover of the arts, in particular drama, in fact, she met her future husband while performing as the lead of the play “He Who Gets Slapped”. She served in different capacities throughout the Church, including Primary President, Relief Society President, Provo Temple Worker, and missionary when she served with her husband Lael in the New York South Mission. Visitations will be held from 6-8pm on December 12 at the Berg Mortuary of Provo and from 9-10:15am on December 13 at the Oaks Hills 7th Ward Chapel. The funeral services will be held 10:30am on December 13 also at the Oaks Hills 7th Ward Chapel. To read Margaret’s full obituary and for additional details about these services, click here


Student News

Last week, BYU participated in the Utah Film Grad Program in Salt Lake City at the urging of Kyle Stapley. Our department submitted two films, “Gather,” directed by Howie Burbidge and “Dreamers,” directed by Catherine Santos Pearce.  Two films from the U of U and two from UVU also played. Tom and Courtney Russell attended and felt our students’ films played very favorably.  Tom observed that, “Both films were well received and the organizers were generous with their praise. Any one of our capstones were good enough to have screened at the event, but they have to select only two from each school due to the time constraint.” The films were juried by a panel active in the Utah film community and Howie Burbidge received the Jury Prize for best film. He received $500, a full access pass to Sundance for he and a guest, a meeting with a film industry professional, and a pass to the Utah Film Commission’s event at Sundance this year.  Congratulations, Howie! 

Also, congratulations are in order for media arts student Oscar Jimenez, who was one of the camera operators on Design faculty member Robert Machoian’s film, “The MINORS,” which was accepted into the shorts program at Sundance.  The film is “A slice of life about a grandpa and his grandsons, the future and the past.” For a list of the indie episodic, shorts and special events that have been accepted at Sundance, go to https://www.sundance.org/blogs/news/2019-sundance-film-festival-episodic-shorts-special-events  (Incidentally, Oscar was also the DP on “Gather.”)


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Department News 12-03-18

BYU main stage season for 2019-2020 was announced on November 30, 2018. Megan Sanborn Jones conducted a forum where theatre students tried to guess the plays from clues. We are so excited for next year’s season which will include: With Two Wings, An Evening of Thorton Wilder Plays, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Wendy and Peter Pan,and Little of Shop of Horrors! For the complete main stage season and affiliated productions, click here


This is the closing week of the BYU production Radium Girls directed by Stephanie Breinholt, based off the real events of the 1920’s. The play largely follows the experiences of Grace Fryer, one of many women who fell ill while working as a luminous watch dial painter in a radium factory. Don’t miss this chance to witness this heart-wrenching and awe-inspiring play on the Margetts stage. For tickets and showtimes, click here


College Factual, a free online service designed to help prospective students weigh many different factors to find the best college and major fit for them. This service ranked the BYU theatre program as the number 1 best value program, as well as the number 1 best program in Utah, and 23rd overall-best program in the nation (out of 314 schools). To see the ranking information for theatre, go to https://www.collegefactual.com/majors/visual-and-performing-arts/drama-and-theater-arts/rankings/top-ranked/p3.html#abs23


Scott Christopherson film, The Insufferable Groo, played at the Calgary Documentary Film Festival (part of the Calgary Underground Film Festival, CUFF) in Canada this past weekend.  CUFF is Western Canada’s premiere genre festival.  The festival included 13 feature films, with Groo serving as the centerpiece for the festival and making the Canadian premiere for the film. It will screen at the Tower Theater on December 11 and The Insufferable Groo is currently in theatrical release in LA during the month of December. It will also have a limited release on video-on-demand platforms on December 14.  Check out this article from the college about the film: https://cfac.byu.edu/department-of-theatre-and-media-arts/scott-christophersons-the-insufferable-groo-prepares-for-theatrical-release-and-video-on-demand-platforms/


Just before Thanksgiving weekend, the production team of the “China Spectacular” took a trip to Las Vegas to get inspiration for the show they will be producing in China in May 2019. The purpose of the trip is to celebrate 40 years of BYU touring in China, and to enhance relations with its people. They are likely to have several General Authorities present for the celebration. Producer Michael Handley, director Janielle Christensen, lighting designer Marianne Ohran, costume designer Dennis Wright, puppet master Nat Reed, stage manager Jennifer Reed, and choreographer Becky Wright Phillips, attended Le Reve (The Dream) and Cirque Du Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE.  Here are some of the inspirational effects the group saw on their trip.  From these the team will create whimsical surprises, visual magic and unexpected effects throughout the China show, including a production number of, “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman, West Side Story Medley, Phantom of the Opera: Medley: Young Ambassadors, Circle of Life, and Happy: Vocal point, and so much more!


Congratulations to Kris Jennings, our most recent Theatre Education faculty member, who is engaged to Tony Peterson. Tony grew up on both coasts and has been a Utah resident for the last 11 years. He works for Hussmann Corp and loves traveling and competitive cycling in his free time. They are planning to wed in August 2019. 

Department News 11-26-18


Critically acclaimed documentarian Nanfu Wang will be visiting BYU next week. Nanfu Wang is an Emmy-nominated and Peabody-winning filmmaker based in New York City. She is best known for the documentary Hooligan Sparrow, for which she worked under the scrutiny of secret police. The film paints a harrowing portrait of the oppression of Chinese dissidents. The documentary follows a Chinese artist-activist as she seeks justice for victims of a child sex bribery scandal. Filming secretly with a variety of hidden cameras and devices, Wang found herself followed, interrogated and constantly in fear of her work (and life) being destroyed. Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2016, Hooligan Sparrow has won
over twenty awards internationally including two Emmy Nominations, a Peabody Award, a 
Cinema Eye Honor for the Best Debut Film, the George Polk Award for the journalistic achievement, an IDA award, and the Truer than Fiction Award at the Independent Spirit 
Awards. Born in a remote farming village in Jiangxi Province, Chinese-American filmmaker Wang seeks to illuminate lives normally hidden from the view of the West. Her works include a variety of photographs and short films, as well as the feature-length documentary, There Is No Time, which follows a homeless man in Florida over the course of a month. Wang’s schedule will be as follows. Students, full-time and adjunct faculty  are welcome to join us for any of these events.

Tuesday, December 4:  

  • 7-8pm, Guest Lecture in 2107 JKB     

Wednesday, December 5:

  • 9-10am, Beginning Production Students about making their first feature film 
  • 11am-1 pm, Q & A With Documentary History and Theory Class (Students will have watched Wang’s film Hooligan Sparrow)
  • 7-9pm, Watch Dailies and Give Feedback to Two Documentary Capstone Projects

Radium Girls, directed by Stephanie Breinhholt, continues its run this week and next in the Margetts theatre. We interviewed the production’s dramaturg, Pollyanna Eyler, about some of the things she discovered in the process of researching the production. Stephanie really wanted the cast to see these characters as human beings, not just “good” and “bad,” so Pollyanna figured out a unique way of doing that. In one exercise, the cast and crew used relative finder from Family Search to discover they were related to some of those involved on both sides of the law suit.  Even though the play focuses on a relatively small cadre of workers, there were actually thousands of factory workers who were affected by the radium.  Check out the amazing lobby displays on the 1st floor and the study guide in the program to learn more.  Pollyanna says, “I’ve lost family members and many friends to cancer, so initially I didn’t want to work on Radium Girls due to the sad subject matter.  Over the last year of production, I’ve learned to face my fears and focus on hope.  Thanks to the sacrifice of the Radium girls, actions of concerned citizens, and continued research by scientists of integrity, we have hope for a better tomorrow.  As consumers, we can do our part to think critically and make informed decisions about how we spend our time and money.  I have come to appreciate this play, despite the tragic circumstances, as a word of caution, a support for scientific research, and a catalyst for change.”


Rick Curtiss and Adam Houghton recently participated in the ASTR Forum in San Diego. They participated in a working group on puppetry and their paper title was “The Power of Pure Form and Puppetry”. The content of the paper shared discoveries of Rick and Adam’s research in Pure Form during their creation and performances of Legend for Witkacy. The purpose of the working group was to provide peer feedback on their paper in order to strengthen it. They had a positive experience with this and got good feedback from colleagues at other institutions. They also participated in an invigorating, broader conversation about puppetry with other puppetry scholars. This conversation gave them ideas of where the scholars hope research and scholarship will go in the next few years. All together this forum experience gave us a lot to contemplate and they are in discussion about our next steps.

Department News 11-19-18

This past weekend, BYU held the 25th annual Final Cut Film Festival. Over 40 films were submitted to this year’s festival and, in the end, 19 films were screened. Awards were determined based on category and the winners can be seen below. All in all, it was a fantastic festival! A special thanks to the SFA for supporting this yearly event and to Grant Gomm for his hard work in organizing and orchestrating the festival. Best Fiction:  “Passenger Seat”, directed by Jeffrey Hein Best Non-Fiction:  “Dreamers”, directed by Catherine Santos Pearce Best Editing: “Gather”, directed by Howie Burbidge Best Cinematography: “Gather”, directed by Howie Burbidge Best Production Design: “Gather”, directed by Howie Burbidge Best Sound Design:  “To Have and To Hold”, directed by Colton Elzey Audience Favorite:  “Anna”, directed by William Knowles“Gather”, directed by Howie Burbidge

About 60 animation students, 20 illustration students, Illustration faculty members Justin Kunz and David Habben, Animation faculty members Nathan Lindsay and Kelly Loosli, and TMA chair Wade Hollingshaus, attended the Creative Talent Networking Expo in Los Angeles last weekend.  Kelly explains that this Expo is a great place for students to meet industry professionals, network, and begin to get an idea of how to navigate the professional world.  They encourage students to attend the Expo as early in their programs as possible because it helps them to understand how their training will apply to their eventual employment while giving them some idea of the many opportunities in the industry.  The CTN Expo emphasizes visual development and storytelling, or storyboarding and concept art, which are areas utilized in the front end of animation development and production. Many artists have tables on the floor, and many industry giants like DreamWorks, Nicolodean, and Pixar, have booths.  On Saturday night, there was an alumni event at the LDS Church in Burbank where many BYU alums joined with students to network.
While in Southern California last week, Wade Hollingshaus took the opportunity to try out the Dark Ride Disneyland app that has been created and developed by Benjamin Thevenin and Jeff Parkin.  Wade brought along his friend and media arts alum Ryan Little.  The app is designed to be used in the park and to engage users’ critical thinking skills. Although Wade used a test version of the app, Benjamin anticipates that the app will be available to the public in the next few weeks.

Student News Theatre Arts major Zoe Taylor applied for an internship for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in New York on a whim.  Zoe is a costume designer and specializes in wardrobe supervision on student film projects.  Since Fall 2016, she has been the wardrobe supervisor on student projects “Socorro,” “Anna,” “To Have and To Hold,” several 6-week Cinema projects, and is currently working on the capstone “Guardian.” She has also done art direction and wardrobe supervision on several students’ independent film projects.  After competing with many other applicants, many from Ivy League schools, and almost all from film programs, she was chosen as one of fourteen production interns on The Late Show, in part because her resume was so unique!  Her internship will go from Jan. 7 through the end of May 2019, and she will have the opportunity of rotating through all the production departments on the show.  Dennis Wright will serve as her faculty advisor.  Zoe also has the distinction of being the first TMA student to ever have the opportunity to do this!  And yes, she feels very excited and is looking forward to representing BYU well in this once-in-a-life-time opportunity!

Faith and Works Lecture 2018: Megan Sanborn Jones

The Perfect(able) Body: Embodied performance as a way to “Be Ye Therefore Perfect”

Dec 6 @ 11 am | Madsen Recital Hall

The College of Fine Arts and Communications Faith and Works Lecture series continues in December with Theatre Professor Megan Sanborn Jones. Professor Jones’ lecture will focus on her experiences with performance and how it reframes the commandment to “be ye therefore perfect.” Jones will discuss how Christ’s embodied performance on earth can give us insight into the relationship between the spirit and body. Designed for students, the Faith and Works series features faculty conversations that explore how their professional experiences help build their faith. Learn more about the upcoming lecture here.

Event 2018: Coming Home – A Christmas Story

Coming Home: A Christmas Story, a BYU award-winning play, will be performed on December 10 in the Provo Library Ball Room at 7pm. The production is free. George King wrote the script and lyrics and C. Michael Perry wrote lyrics and music (both are BYU Alumnus). We hope you have the chance to come enjoy!

 

Department News 11-12-18

This weekend is BYU’s 25th annual Final Cut Film Festival. This festival allows students of all majors to submit short films to be screened in the Pardoe Theatre. Due to the large quantity of submissions, a selection committee carefully reviews each year’s submissions to determine which should be included in the actual festival. This year’s festival organizer, Scott Christopherson, remarked on the importance of this opportunity for student filmmakers: “You can show your film to your friends, and they might sugarcoat it, but when you show it to the public, they’re either going to laugh, or they’re not; they’re going to emote, or they’re not… A festival gives students a goal to work towards. It pushes them to create better work because they know that people are going to see it.” Scott has personally experienced the potential opportunities these film festivals can provide; he also participated in the Final Cut Film Festival when he was a student at BYU. His work “Only the Pizza Man Knows” won Best in Fest and caught the attention of other filmmakers that would later become his greatest friends and connections in the field.

The Final Cut Film Festival will be held from Thursday, November 15 to Saturday, November 17. In addition to the short film submissions, the four fiction and two nonfiction media arts capstone projects will also be screened, making a total of 19 films being shown. To maximize the number of submissions screened, different films will be shown each night and the final night will be followed by an awards ceremony. For more information about showtimes and which films will be shown each night, click here. For access to ticket purchase, click here.

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Radium Girls opens this weekend and with only nine characters playing 40 roles, the play “is a fast-paced snapshot of the true story of what happens when the American dream bumps up against the realities of health, wealth, and big business.” Commenting on the unique aspects of this production, director Stephanie Breinholt said, “It’s a nice challenge for the actors and for me in staging all of these different scenarios in one very simple space without a lot of props or furniture… The actors change costumes in the blink of an eye, or even one moment they’re one character, and then they turn and they’re another character.”  One of the things the dramaturg, Pollyanna Eyler, tried to help the cast deal with was how to understand how people could jeopardize others’ lives when they were aware of the risks. Eyler points out that, “Even the ‘bad’ people, they’re not villains. They’re just real people with real intentions of trying to do what they think is appropriate in the situation.” Breinholt also remarked on how impressed she was with the actors’ ability to empathize with their characters saying, “I love that the cast is finding positives in every character… You could go in with quite a bit of bias, especially against the characters that represent the Radium Corporation, but they’re finding the humanity in every character. It’s not just a cut and dry story. Everyone has good qualities, but they make some glaring mistakes.”  For more about the production, click here. For access to showtimes and tickets, click here.

Megan Sanborn Jones and the current grad cohort of 6 students attended a one-day (October 31) Frantic Assembly workshop to learn the “Frantic method,” which is a way of creating physical theatre using the principles of pressure, counterbalance, and team work.  We created some lovely duets and group movement pieces, and concluded the workshop with a group choreography with all the participants.  The best part of the day was the ride back and forth to SLC in Megan’s mama van, where we talked about art, history, baby names, and the gospel. Frantic Assembly also conducted a workshop here on campus with Kris Jennings, Julia Ashworth, and their students.  They participated in similar experiences, where they learned the principles of the Frantic method in devising theatre stories.  Frantic Assembly teaches a method of devising that is one of the most studied and praised theatre companies working today.  Their work has always been about more than the work on the stage.  It is about the ethos of collaboration, empowerment, and of the constant desire to improve, telling stories in a voice we don’t always hear and finding talent in places we don’t always look.  The group has toured extensively across the UK and worked in over 40 countries internationally collaborating with some of today’s most inspiring artists.  Below are some of the fun things they did at the workshop on Saturday, November 3.


Student News

Anna, directed by Billy Knowles, just won Best Student Drama Short and Best Director Student Short at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards. Anna was screened last week at the media arts forum and will be screened this weekend at the Final Cut Film Festival.

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Internship Opportunity 2019: TheatreSquared

Looking for a summer internship? This might be the opportunity for you!

TheatreSquared is one of the nation’s fastest-growing theatre companies, with a reputation for producing work of the highest standard and, as a playwright-led company, for cultivating the development of new plays for the American stage. The company’s new, 50,000 square-foot, two-venue facility is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2019 (ournextstage.org).

Located in progressive downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas (Top Five Best Places to Live in the U.S., 2017 U.S. News & World Report), the theatre is at the hub of a region that recently surpassed the half-million population mark and is consistently ranked top in the nation for its mix of an affordable cost of living and high quality of life.

TheatreSquared’s professional internships are designed for university students and early-career professionals. Apprentices and interns work under the direction of artistic staff and guest artists, receiving in-depth practical training and hands-on work experience at a professional theatre as well as making connections with respected artists and members of the field.

All positions are hands-on, with each student having real responsibilities within their focus area. Students will receive a small stipend to offset incidental expenses, and will also have the opportunity to receive college credit.

Interested candidates should apply by completing the application form and submitting a cover letter to morgan@theatre2.org at which time an interview or a portfolio review may be scheduled.

AVAILABLE INTERNSHIPS

DESIGN (Lighting / Sound / Properties / Scenic / Costume):
Duties: Help create and execute the design for the Arkansas New Play Fest workshop production as assistant to the designer. Assist during production meetings, first rehearsal, technical rehearsals, load-in and strike. Work as a lead designer, executor and teaching artist for the TheatreSquared Education Programs – The Summer Shakespeare Academy production and SummerStage.

STAGE MANAGEMENT:
Duties: Work with the team of Stage Managers to execute the Summer Programming, including assisting with the pre-production, rehearsal process, tech and running of the workshop production and staged readings of the Arkansas New Play Fest and the TheatreSquared Education Programs – The Summer Shakespeare Academy production and SummerStage. Responsibilities include assisting the AEA Stage Manager in all components of stage management, including setting up and maintaining the rehearsal hall, maintaining an environment conducive to the artistic needs of the production, creating the paperwork necessary for running the production, and running the “deck” on assigned productions.

COMPANY MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT:
Duties: Work with the team of Company Managers and Production Managers to provide the highest level of hospitality to our artists, collaborators, and staff. Specific responsibilities will include coordination of housing and transportation for artists in residence; gathering information on local resources to provide to artists and staff; coordination of staff parties and events; observe and participate in all aspects of production management and the planning of the 2018/19 season. Valid driver’s license required.

DEVELOPMENT:
Duties: Work with the Development team on fundraising, including individual, corporate, foundation, government, and capital giving, as well as provide experience in grant writing, gift processing, donor events, the annual gala, and mail campaigns. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: planning, coordination, and execution of special events and parties under the guidance of the Director of Development.

MARKETING:
Duties: Work with the Marketing team on all facets of branding, publicity, promotion, and direct-mail marketing essential to the ticket sales of TheatreSquared, assist with digital media efforts, specifically our Arkansas New Play Fest, the TheatreSquared Education Programs – The Summer Shakespeare Academy production and SummerStage and the launch of the 2018/19 season.

LITERARY MANAGEMENT/DRAMATURGY:
Duties: Assist the Artistic Director and the individual directors of the Arkansas New Play Fest, to support the process of new play development, analyzing scripts, maintaining correspondence with agents and writers, assisting with play readings, writing/developing content for performance programs or study guides, and conducting production-specific research.

MDT Cabaret Fall 2018

Once each semester, MDT students have the opportunity to perform solo and small group performances in a cabaret setting at “The Wall” in the Wilkinson Student Center. “The Wall” is a popular night spot with food and beverage service in a relaxed atmosphere. Students are responsible for selecting and rehearsing their own material presented in this informal setting. Join us on Friday, November 16 at 8pm to enjoy their work!

MDT Cabaret at the Wall

Department News 11-05-18

This week, the Theatre and Media Arts Department will host two outside reviewers for our National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) self-study.  Wade Hollingshaus  has headed up the report preparation, with help from each of our area heads and Rodger Sorensen, who generously met with Wade over the summer to help him figure out all the pieces the report needed to cover.  The report has been sent off to the reviewers and to the NAST offices.  The schedule is available at the front desk in the office.  In the meantime, here is a brief introduction to the two outside reviewers who will be visiting the department on November 6 – 9, 2018.

anne d'zmura

Anne D’Zmura has served as resident director at the nationally acclaimed Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis where she directed Peer Gynt, Bert’s Folly, Billy and Dago, and Poster of the Cosmos; artistic associate for the NYC-based The Acting Company where she directed the national tours of Macbeth and The Tempest; artistic associate for the Playwright’s Center where she spearheaded the Stage-Time New Play Series and co-artistic director for Yale Cabaret. Some additional directing credits include Tony Award winning South Coast Repertory World Premiere of Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson.  She was assistant director for Trevor Nunn on Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia on Broadway. Anne has directed many new play development workshops at theatres including South Coast Repertory, Playwright’s Center, BACA Downtown, Bristol Riverside Theatre, The Acting Company and Women’s Project Theatre.  Anne currently serves as Head of Directing of Theatre Arts at California State University, Long Beach where she also served as Chair and Artistic Director and initiated EPIC (Educational Performance in Community) and the Affinity Series in collaboration with the faculty and staff. Anne’s work on ecology and theatre is in Readings in Performance and Ecology published by Palgrave Macmillan. Anne served as guest artist/scholar at Carnegie Mellon where she was invited to develop a course and project merging theatre and ecology for the Drama School and The Center for Arts and Society.  Anne continues to develop international arts activism projects.  Anne is a member of SDC, SAG-AFTRA. She received her BA from Hampshire College and her MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama.

DeAnna Toten Beard

DeAnna Toten Beard, MFA, PhD is Professor of Theatre History and teaches a variety of theatre studies courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. Dr. Toten Beard joined the Baylor faculty in 2002. In 2012, she was named a Baylor Teaching Fellow. Dr. Toten Beard has also taught in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and is currently co-director of the Baylor in Oxford study abroad program.  Dr. Toten Beard is an active historian with research interests in early twentieth century U.S. theatre and drama. Her specializations include American expressionism, modernist theatre design, and depictions of World War I on the American stage. Among her publications are “The Little Theatre Movement” in  Blackwell’s Companion to American Literature (2017); “Inspiration and Atmosphere in Getting Together A War Play: Stage Authenticity and the WWI Soldier on the Broadway Stage” in Theatre Annual (2015);  “Performance, Preparedness, and Playing with Fire: Major General O’Ryan and U.S. Military Theatricality in the World War I Era” in Public Theatre and Theatre Publics (2012); “Artisan to Artist: The Impact of Gallery Exhibitions of New Stagecraft in the U.S., 1914-1919” in New England Theatre Journal  (2007); and “American Experimentalism, American Expressionism, and Early O’Neill” in A Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century American Drama (2005).  She is the author of the monograph, Sheldon Cheney’s Theatre Arts Magazine: Promoting a Modern American Theatre, 1916-1921 (2009). Dr. Toten Beard is also the editor of The Texas Theatre Journal, published annually by the Texas Educational Theatre Association.  Dr. Toten Beard devotes professional service to the work of the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) as a visiting evaluator of programs around the country.  From 2012-2017, she served as Commissioner for NAST and 2018 she began a term as Chair of the Commission on Accreditation.  DeAnna Toten Beard earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre History, Literature, and Criticism from Indiana University, a Master of Fine Arts in Dramaturgy from Stony Brook University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and English Literature from the University of Mary Washington.


Kyle Stapley was able to attend the second annual LA TV and Film Connection Fall Social held at the LDS Institute Building at UCLA this past weekend.  He felt the social was very successful, organized by some of our alums, Caitlyn Stratton-Walton, Julia Glausi, and Jordan Peterson.  About 175 people attended, including many BYU alums, LDS people in the industry, and media arts, theatre, and animation alums, and other friends. The highlight of the event was the Alumnus of the year award, given to David Wardle, who graduated from BYU Law School in 2002.  In addition to his law firm experience, Wardle has worked as in-house counsel, running the legal departments of independent film distributors First Look Studios and Millennium Entertainment. David was given the award for his work with the Whittaker Group, which has been working to provide opportunities for media arts graduates in the LA area. Also presenting at the social was Virginia Pearce, the director of the Utah Film Commission, and Kyle who made a presentation about internships. At the conference, it was announced that the Whitaker Group and LA Connection would merge under the Whitaker Society.  This group will start scholarships for media arts students and encourage internships.  Colton Griffiths from the BYU’s Career Center also presented a new service similar to LinkedIn  for students and alumni to connect with each other and companies offering jobs/internships.  Many companies represented at the conference would like to use this service.  Kyle is excited about the possibilities of this annual event and would  love to get more current media arts faculty and students to attend.

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Dr. Kirsten Pullen was hosted by the Women Studies Conference for Bodies of Women that was held last week.  As one of several speakers invited to present at the conference, Dr. Pullen titled her presentation, “Watching Women: The Body of the Performer, the Performing Body, and the Body of the Audience.” She specifically presented on the bodies of actresses during the 19-20th centuries, including Lena Horne and other greats. Kirsten holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Theatre Research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently the chair of the theatre department at the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana, the alma mater of Bridget BentonAmy Peterson Jensen, and Rory Scanlon. She is a performance historian with particular emphasis on female performers and performance theory during the 20th and 21st centuries in the United States. She has published books through top notch publishers at Cambridge University Press and Rutgers University Press.  Dr. Pullen is also an active member in the American Society for Theatre Research, serving as a member of its Executive Committee from 2011–2014. After her well-attended presentation, Kirsten also hosted several round table discussions for students around campus and took a tour of the theatre spaces in the Harris Fine Arts Center.

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Benjamin Thevenin attended the “Taking Back the Web” conference hosted by the Centre for Critical Media Literacy at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Dublin, Ireland a few weeks ago. After presenting “Play & Pedagogy: Toward an Object-Oriented Media Literacy Education” to an international audience, he was able to travel around Ireland a bit with his wife Emily, who served her mission in the country 15 years ago. It was lovely. Here’s photographic evidence!

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This weekend is your last chance to see BYU’s Production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap! Come enjoy this unique production directed by David Morgan who has expertly mixed the aspects of film noir and horror mystery theatre. For more information about showtimes and tickets, click here.

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