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Archive for the 'Theatre' Category

From shining in the spotlight to shining the spotlight on social issues: Theatre and Social Change at Messiah

Monday, April 14th, 2014

In “The Real Thing: a Play,” Czechoslovakian producer and writer Tom Stoppard wrote, “Words are sacred … If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” Nudging the world toward social change has been the goal of Messiah College’s Theatre and Social Change course since its introduction to the theatre curriculum in 2002. The impetus behind Theatre and Social Change (TASC) came after Messiah College professor Valerie Rae Smith facilitated the student-writing of an original production, “E.D. & Ana,” which studied eating disorders among college students. Smith says, “Students were so responsive to the play and the conversations surrounding “E.D. & Ana” that a general education course was created. By 2002 Theatre and Social Change was a term students used across campus, in the residence halls and in the classrooms.” (more…)

Harrisburg costume designer returns to her alma mater to help with campus plays

Monday, March 24th, 2014

It has been only a few years since Amanda Owens ’10 graduated from Messiah College with a degree in art history and minor in studio art, but she already is finding an artist’s niche in Harrisburg.

“The great thing about a liberal arts degree is I learned to recognize interdisciplinary connections everywhere,” said Owens, “such as the connection between planning a store layout and planning a gallery layout. In recognizing those connections and being able to express them, I become a more valuable member of the workforce.”

With the goal to revitalize the Harrisburg community through art-based nonprofit organizations, she is involved in several projects. One of her roles involves working as a costume designer with Harrisburg’s Gamut Theatre, collaborating on several productions suchs as “The Jungle Book,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Coriolanus.”

“I’ve always enjoyed working with textiles, but I find I have little patience for the finer details involved with clothing production,” said Owens. “The fun thing about costume design is that you make these really fantastical or beautiful pieces and totally let the small, finishing details fall by the wayside because the audience will never see it or even know.”

In addition to working with Gamut Theatre, she is a founding member of The MakeSpace, a studio and gallery that provides arts programming and resources for local artists. “We want to help artists get the resources they need to make things,” said Owens.

Most recently, she began working as an adjunct instructor for Messiah’s Department of Theatre and Dance. She designed costumes for “The Good Doctor,” which opened Nov. 14, 2013.

Using the skills she gained at Messiah, Owens helps the area art scene flourish by fulfilling several roles.

Story by Adela Antal ’16. Photography by Dani Fresh. This profile originally appeared in the fall 2013 issue of The Bridge.

WITF’s Cary Burkett stars in Messiah’s production of “J.B.”

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Cary Burkett

Known to the Harrisburg region for the past 28 years as the “voice of central PA,” Cary Burkett is a familiar voice on WITF’s “Center Stage” and on the news as an arts and culture producer for the station. Now in addition to his radio responsibilities, Burkett, who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from the University of Texas, will return to his acting roots playing Mr. Zuss in Messiah College’s production of “J.B.” by Archibald MacLeish.

“J.B.” is a play within a play that is based on the Old Testament book of Job. J.B. is an upright man who continually faces catastrophe and therefore, after much steadfast faith, begins to question the presence of God in his life. Bringing to light the complex question of why God lets good people suffer, audience members watch as two circus clowns, Nickles and Mr. Zuss, who assume the roles of Satan and God respectively, debate J.B.’s devotion to God. (more…)

A new way to worship

Monday, July 16th, 2012

While dance currently is an accepted form of both recreation and study — a dance minor began in the fall of 2010, and this past fall a dance major was added — for many years Messiah College, as a part of its founding Brethren in Christ denomination, took a firm standpoint against it. “The major source for opposition to dancing over the years basically came from the denomination, which was opposed to a number of ‘worldly’ activities, including dancing, playing cards, attending movies,” said Morris Sider, a member of the College’s faculty from 1963 to 2009. (more…)

Drawing a line between theatre and worship

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Valerie Smith and Bryant Vance

When Valerie Rae Smith delivered her first monologue at age 13, she had no idea that she was revealing a special personal gifting that would from that point on direct her vocational steps.

Smith, now associate professor of theatre and co-chair of the theatre department at Messiah, chats with theatre student Bryant Vance about how being a person of Christian faith has shaped and affected her career in theatre in this latest Listen Up! podcast.

Smith sees a clear line between theatre and worship, citing that theatre is just one venue for expressing God-given creative abilities.  She is pleased with the way Messiah College challenges its students, both on stage and off, to deal with difficult and complex issues, and notes how she, like her cast, grows during the process of rehearsing and performing a play.

Listen to the interview between Valerie Smith and Bryant Vance.

Visit the department of theatre website.

From Grantham to global expeditions

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

School of the Arts alumni showcase talent around the world

Perhaps a hidden gem of Messiah College is its School of the Arts.  It is there that aspiring actors, musicians, and artists hone their skills in creative and public expression. Graduates from the School of the Arts have gone on to be international performers and excel in instilling their artistic vision in the communities where they work and live in while creatively contributing to the larger, global artists’ community. Mipa Lee (’05), Efthymios Mavridis (’89), and Jesse Baxter (’02) are all alumni from the School of the Arts who work internationally.