Meadows School of the Arts

Theatre Artist-in-Residence Will Power receives 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award

Will PowerWill Power, Artist-in-Residence in Theatre, SMU, theatre artist-in-residence in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, is one of 21 national performing artists announced as recipients of the fifth annual Doris Duke Artist Awards, presented by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF).

Appointed in recognition of their creative vitality and ongoing contributions to the fields of dance, jazz and theater, awardees will each receive $275,000 in flexible, multi-year funding as well as financial and legal counseling, professional development activities and peer-to-peer learning opportunities provided by Creative Capital, DDCF’s primary partner in the awards.

Other recipients include Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, choreographer and MacArthur Fellowship awardee Mark Morris and Pulitzer Prize-winning musician Henry Threadgill.

Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, said, “The foundation is pleased to support this new class of Doris Duke Artists. The composers, musicians, theater artists, choreographers and playwrights who comprise this cohort are visionaries who have already made important contributions to their respective fields. We hope these awards enhance their capacities for exploration and experimentation, in keeping with Doris Duke’s adventurous spirit. DDCF looks forward to their continued creativity, as their work is not only important to the creative sector, but vital to the vibrancy of our society, as well.”

Power is an award-winning playwright and performer who combines classic folklore with modern elements. His recent musical Stagger Lee (2015) spanned the 20th century, tracing mythical characters in their quest to achieve the American Dream. Its deep-seated themes of racism and power were translated through Joplin-inspired tunes, R&B and hip-hop.

His other plays include Fetch Clay, Make Man, which enjoyed a successful run Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop; Steel Hammer with SITI Company (Humana Festival); The Seven (winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, New York Theatre Workshop, La Jolla Playhouse); Five Fingers of Funk! (Children’s Theatre Company); Honey Bo and The Goldmine (La Jolla Playhouse); and two acclaimed solo shows, The Gathering and Flow, which toured over 70 cities in the U.S., Europe and Australia.

Power’s other awards include a United States Artist Prudential Fellowship, the TCG Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, a Jury Award for Best Theatre Performance at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and the Trailblazer Award from The National Black Theater Network.

“I am thrilled and honored to receive a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award,” said Power. “As an artist, the road is often unpredictable and nothing is guaranteed. I have tried to the best of my ability to travel this road and create stories the best I can. When you live life as an artist, you try to sustain your faith in what you’re doing, and you pray that you will also be able to adequately take care of your family. This award allows me to do just that – it is a public acknowledgment of what I am trying to say while giving me some long-term support to provide and care for those I love. I am forever grateful to receive this award from the Doris Duke Foundation.”

Power won the Meadows School of the Arts’ Meadows Prize in 2011, an international arts residency launched in fall 2009. During his residency at SMU, Power worked with Meadows student actors and designers to create a new theatre work, Alice Underground, a modern spin on the tale of Alice in Wonderland. His work in Dallas as winner of the Meadows Prize was a partnership between the Meadows School and the Dallas Theater Center.

Power was subsequently named an artist-in-residence at the Meadows School and is also the Andrew W. Mellon Playwright in Residence with the Dallas Theater Center, a position awarded through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and HowlRound. Stagger Lee, which was produced and premiered by the Dallas Theater Center in 2015, was partially developed in workshops in collaboration with the Meadows School as a part of Powers’ Meadows Prize residency.

He also conceived and directed The Shakespeare Project at SMU in 2013, which fused the rhythms of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter with the contemporary beats of hip-hop, and used that rhythm to explore key Shakespearean characters. The Shakespeare Project was an extension of a work Power created for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the London Olympics in 2012, a hip-hop version of Caliban’s speech from The Tempest.

His film and television appearances include The Colbert Report (Comedy Central), and Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason (PBS).

Power was a guest of the U.S. State Department on five separate occasions, traveling to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. On these trips and others, he taught community workshops in shantytowns, worked with poets in former regimes of the Soviet Union and lectured at various libraries, grammar schools and colleges.

Currently, he is working on Wade in the Water, which he describes as a “Nuvo-Gospel Musical,” or a work that brings a more contemporary viewpoint to a traditional Biblical or gospel tale. It is being commissioned and developed at Center Theater Group in Los Angeles.

> Read the full story from SMU Meadows News

May 12, 2016|Faculty in the News, For the Record, News|

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts to present two premieres at “Meadows at the Winspear” benefit concert, May 11

The 2016 Meadows at the Winspear event, benefitting the Meadows Scholars Program, will take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 11 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora Street in Dallas.

AppalachianSpringFinal

The Meadows Dance Ensemble performing Appalachian Spring

The concert will feature the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Paul Phillips, and the Meadows Dance Ensemble, composed of top students from the Meadows School’s nationally respected dance program, in both works.

The first is the premiere of a newly envisioned choreography of Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird, created by Claudia Lavista and Victor Manuel Ruiz, noted artistic directors of the acclaimed Delfos Danza Contemporanea in Mazatlán, Mexico. They have replaced the magical and mercurial glowing bird of Russian folklore with a more contemporary version of Stravinsky’s masterwork, inspired by the visual aesthetics of Hieronymus Bosch and the theme of migration.

The second is Martha Graham’s ballet masterpiece Appalachian Spring, featuring the world premiere of the newly completed, full orchestra version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning music by Aaron Copland. The Meadows Symphony Orchestra will be the first to perform the new material and will also act as “test drivers” for the score, helping to inform any corrections required before the music is published.

Donna-Wilhelm-photo-by-Kim-Leeson

Donna Wilhelm

The event will also honor Donna Wilhelm, a committed supporter of the arts in education and will inaugurate the new scholarship fund in her name. Beginning this fall, the Donna Wilhelm Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide SMU Meadows scholarships to highly qualified students from underrepresented ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Meadows at the Winspear is the pinnacle of our performance season,” said Meadows Dean Samuel S. Holland. “Not only will talented students in dance and music collaborate in presenting two extraordinary premieres, they will do so in a world-class venue. We’re honored to give the first performance of Copland’s iconic work with full symphony orchestra and to present a moving reinterpretation of Firebird based on a theme of migration and human displacement – reflecting our philosophy that art can become a form of social action. We are also delighted to honor Donna Wilhelm – whose work has had an impact not only on SMU but on all of North Texas.”

Tickets are $17 for students, faculty and staff and can be purchased online.

May 5, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|

Five receive 2016 SMU Faculty Senate Outstanding Staff Awards

The SMU Faculty Senate honored five staff members for exceptional performance with its 2016 Faculty Senate Outstanding Staff Awards. The honors were presented during the Senate’s last meeting of the 2015-16 academic year on Wednesday, April 27.

This year’s winners:

  • Susan Bailey, Academic and Student Affairs, Lyle School of Engineering
  • Donna Gaubert, Dedman School of Law
  • Bobbie Lay, Division of Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Jan Olavarri, Dean’s Office, Cox School of Business
  • Susan Sifford, Applied Physiology and Wellness, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development

In addition to award trophies, each honoree received gifts ranging from season tickets to art books to museum memberships, donated by SMU Athletics, the SMU Bookstore, SMU Dining Services, Meadows Museum and the Meadows School of the Arts.

May 2, 2016|For the Record, News|

Calendar Highlights: Mustang Must-do’s for April 22, 2016

Korean ‘Comfort Women’ Presentation: In a rare U.S. appearance, two surviving Kang Il-chul, a former Korean sex slavevictims of Japanese military sexual slavery will be at SMU on Friday, April 22, for the Embrey Human Rights Program’s “Evening With Kang Il-Chul and Lee Ok-Seon,” held in partnership with Seoul, South Korea’s House of Sharing, an assisted living home where Il-Chul and Ok-Seon and five others find support. The free public event will begin with a 6:30 p.m. reception featuring Korean food and dance tributes, followed by a 7:15 p.m. discussion in McCord Auditorium, Room 306 of Dallas Hall, 3225 University Blvd.

Cézanne Quartet: Join the Cézanne Quartet, Meadows’ Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence, on Saturday, April 23 as they perform the two quartets by Janacek and Beethoven’s “Rasumovsky” Quartet, op. 59, no. 2. Since winning Second Place Ensemble in the Senior Division of the Coltman Chamber Music Competition, the musicians have collaborated with cellist Andrés Díaz and violist Matt Albert of SMU, performed with the Bridge the Gap Chamber Players and Open Classical Artist Series and participated in the McGill International String Quartet Academy. The free public event will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium.

Heavenly Images: “When I consider your heavens….” The words of Psalm 8 serve as the basis for the final choral concert of the season on Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. From Tarik O’Regan’s The Ecstasies Above, a setting of Edgar Allan Poe’s Israfel, to Franz Joseph Haydn’s celebratory chorus The Heavens Are Telling, you will spend the evening gazing at a myriad of heavenly images. The Meadows choirs are honored to be joined in this performance by the young artists of Flower Mound High School. The concert is free and open to the public and will be held in Caruth Auditorium.

Tables of Content invitationFriends of the Library: The Friends of the SMU Libraries will host the 16th annual Tables of Content fundraiser at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 30, in the newly renovated Fondren Foundation Centennial Reading Room in Fondren Library, 6414 Robert S. Hyer Lane.

The event will include the presentation of the 7th annual Literati Award to Darwin Payne ’68, SMU centennial historian and professor emeritus of communications. The event also will feature a reception honoring the “Top 10 Haute Young Authors” as well as 19 table hosts who will lead discussions on a variety of topics with guests at the dinner.

Tickets to Tables of Content are $150. Sponsorship packages with special benefits and seating for the event are available from $1,000 to $10,000. For additional information, call (214) 768-3225 or visit smu.edu/friends.

 

April 22, 2016|Calendar Highlights|

Arts and business students lead SMU Fashion Week 2016, April 20-22

From April 20-22, SMU arts and business students will present the fifth annual SMU Fashion Week. This program began in 2012 and has since been produced primarily by students interested in careers within the trillion-dollar international fashion industry, SMU Fashion Week has grown along with the nearly five-year-old fashion media program, part of the Division of Journalism in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

This student-led program is championed by Cox School of Business undergraduates in the SMU Retail Club and students studying fashion media. Students are engaged in covering all aspects of the week for various student media. They also help put on events like the Spring Fashion Show.

Fashion-Week-23347393The Retail Club puts together the entirety of the Fashion Show, which will take place on Friday, April 22 at 2 p.m. This year’s fashion show coordinator is junior India Pougher, also a fashion media student.

Members of the executive committee have been working all week with the stores to coordinate the best show possible. Student models will be sporting clothing from The Stak by Stanley Korshak and Luxury Garage Sale. Members of the Retail Club also style each look, keeping in mind the current trends, model preferences, and what will look best with the hair and makeup. Gucci Beauty will be doing the makeup and Retail Club Co-President Chandler Helms will be doing the hair for each participant.

These sort of out-of-class experiences really help shape students. “Besides improving photoshop skills, planning events and meeting deadlines, SMU Retail Club has really given me a chance to apply skills that I have learned in entrepreneurship and marketing classes,” says Helms.

This week serves as a springboard for students to learn more about careers in the fashion industry, what skills are needed and where they personally excel.

Make sure to check out this year’s line-up and support our students:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20 – A talk with Hillary Kerr, co-founder of WhoWhatWear – 11 a.m. in room B600 in the basement of the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus (Dallas 75205)

THURSDAY, APRIL 21 – Fashion Week keynote address by Kate Betts, former editor of Harper’s Bazaar: Keynote address at 7 p.m. in room 241 of the Umphrey Lee Center, 3300 Dyer St. on the SMU campus. Reception with Kate Betts precedes the lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the Division of Journalism complex near Room 280 in the Umphrey Lee Center.

FRIDAY, APRIL 22 – Spring Fashion Show, 2 p.m. outdoors near the steps of Dallas Hall. The show will be on the lawn of the main quad outside Dallas Hall.

For more information, contact Chelsea Bell, director of the Fashion Media Program in the Meadows School Division of Journalism, at 214-768-4913 or via e-mail.

April 20, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|
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