The production showcased 200 Dallasites from all over the city, who shared the stage with professional actors. The unique staging vividly retold the Bard’s well-loved story of the marooned Prospero, who commands spirits, creates apparitions and manipulates the elements to take revenge on his enemies – and in the process awakens in Miranda, his teenage daughter, her first experience of love.
Applications are now being accepted for the fourth annual Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop, a free, six-week program for emerging playwrights presented by SMU faculty member Will Power.
Power, artist-in-residence in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and playwright-in-residence and Mellon Foundation Fellow at Dallas Theater Center, will work closely with participants to sharpen their writing and help them develop professional relationships and learn from their peers in a rigorous and supportive environment.
Each participant will develop his or her own three-scene project, followed by a closed reading for workshop members with actors from SMU and the local community. SMU will host the program, which will meet once a week from Nov. 1-Dec. 5, 2016. Participants must be available on Nov. 1 and then on Monday evenings through Dec. 5.
The Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop is intended for emerging and mid-career professional playwrights who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have previously written at least one play and are able to demonstrate a unique and compelling voice.
Interested writers should apply by submitting a completed application, a 10-page excerpt from any play they’ve written, a full-length play (one or two acts), a résumé or biography, and a one-page summary explaining their writing goals, the ways in which they’d like to develop as an artist and why they would like to participate in the program.
In its first three years, the Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop has helped foster the work of a number of local theatre artists. Award-winning playwright and SMU staff member Jonathan Norton ’11, a participant in the inaugural class in 2013-14, said the workshop was “a game changer for me. It was great, and very necessary, to have a place to return to week after week to deep-dive into the craft of playwriting.
“Will creates a very supportive environment that is still incredibly demanding and rigorous. Through the workshop I was able to articulate my strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and develop strategies to get better.”
The Meadows Prize is awarded to pioneering artists and creative professionals who are active in one or more disciplines represented by the academic units within the Meadows School.
Complex Movements is a Detroit-based artist collective developing interactive performance work that draws connections between complex science and social justice movements to support the transformation of communities. The group is comprised of graphic designer/fine artist Wesley Taylor; music producer/filmmaker Waajeed; lyricist/organizer Invincible; and multimedia artist/performance systems architect Carlos Garcia. Their work draws on multiple disciplines, including community organizing, design, music, architecture, storytelling, multimedia art and theater.
For their Meadows Prize project, Complex Movements will collaborate with the Dallas community and the Meadows School on a week-long residency in February, and return in October for a four-week engagement of Beware of the Dandelions in Dallas’s Fair Park.
Beware of the Dandelions is a performance-based installation that also functions as a workshop space and a visual arts exhibition. Participant activity occurs inside a 400-square-foot polyhedron pod structure designed in collaboration with Detroit-based architect Aaron Jones to create an immersive visual and sound experience. Through community collaboration and the interdisciplinary nature of the installation, Complex Movements seeks to raise the visibility of local issues and social justice-based art and activism.
Lear deBessonet is director of Public Works – a major initiative of The Public Theater that engages the people of New York as theater creators as well as spectators. Working with community partner organizations in all areas of the city, Public Works invites members of diverse communities to participate in theater workshops, attend classes and productions, and become involved in the daily life of The Public.
Under deBessonet’s leadership, Public Works deliberately blurs the line between professional artists and community members, creating theater that is by and of the people. For her Meadows Prize project, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native will spearhead a new co-production between the Meadows School and the Dallas Theater Center of The Tempest, to be developed for spring 2017.
Lear’s first visit to Dallas will be in spring 2015. This co-production marks a new form and scale for a Meadows Prize project and will engage hundreds of volunteers, community partners from across Dallas, and the institutional collaboration and alignment between SMU, The Public Theater and the Dallas Theater Center.
“We’re very excited to welcome Complex Movements and Lear deBessonet to the Meadows School as our sixth-year recipients of the Meadows Prize,” said Meadows Dean Sam Holland. “Both help us advance important elements of the vision for the Meadows School – to allow our students to interact with artists at the top of their fields and to integrate the Meadows School more deeply into our community.”
Inaugurated in October 2009, the Meadows Prize is presented annually to up to two pioneering artists. It includes support for a residency in Dallas, in addition to a $25,000 stipend. In return, recipients are expected to interact in a substantive way with Meadows students and collaborating arts organizations, and to leave a lasting legacy in Dallas, such as a work of art that remains in the community, a composition or piece of dramatic writing that would be performed locally, or a new way of teaching in a particular discipline.
A collaboration between the Dallas Theater Center (DTC) and the Division of Theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts brings to life a collection of 15th-century mystery plays based on the Book of Genesis that were among the first ever written in the English language.
Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and other Biblical characters are part of In the Beginning, which features Meadows Theatre students performing with Dallas Theater Center actors in a co-production directed by DTC Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty. The show’s original run has been extended, and performances are scheduled for Feb. 10-15 and Feb. 17-22, 2009.
In addition to playing the Biblical characters in text taken directly from the first 10 chapters of the Bible, the cast portrays real-life members of the Dallas community sharing insights into Genesis.
All performances are held in the DTC’s Kalita Humphreys Theatre, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. The show is performed without an intermission and contains partial nudity. Ticket prices are $16-$60; discounts for SMU faculty, staff and students are available. Purchase tickets online or, for the SMU discount, call the Dallas Theater Center at 214-522-8499.