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Stephens School of Performing Arts hosts all-star lineup for Summer Theatre Institute 2016

May 16, 2016


This summer, Stephens College B.F.A. theatre students will have the unique and exciting opportunity to study and perform under the direction of top-notch, expert guest artists from across the country through their enrollment in the B.F.A. program’s six-week intensive Summer Theatre Institute (STI). Scheduled guest artists include Emma Pope from Chicago’s famous improvisational theatre Second City; Jessica Burr and Matt Opatrny from the internationally acclaimed Blessed Unrest, a devised theatre company; John Achorn, co-founder of the International Commedia Dell’Arte School in Humboldt County, California; and Ryan McIntire, professional stunt coordinator and fight choreographer, with credits from universities and professional regional theaters from across the country.

The Stephens College Summer Theatre Institute program offers intensive workshops in physical theatre, devising, stage combat, musical theatre, performance techniques, clowning, voice technique, acting, as well as classes in technical theatre and design, public relations and theatre management. The students immediately apply what they have learned by working with special guest artists to develop a fully staged, five-show season. Performances are held weekly and are free and open to the public. Each production will be supported by a rotating roster of the B.F.A. students, who will serve as actors, stage managers, designers, technicians, crew members, front-of-house staff and more, stretching their learning experience to include every aspect of the theatrical process. 

2016 Summer Theatre Institute Season
(All performances are free and open to the public! Each show is a one-night only, special event.)

Commedia Tonight!
7:30 p.m., May 20; Warehouse Theatre
Classical physical comedy, Family-Friendly

This delightful Italian Renaissance-inspired physical comedy is an all-ages show that is sure to entertain even the youngest of family members. Commedia dell'arte, the grandfather art form of clowning, is a fun and fast-paced style of theatre that will have you laughing yourself silly and wondering what exciting thing will happen next. 

Directed by guest artist John Achorn, a co-founding member of the Dell-Arte School in Humboldt County, California.


Rock ’em, Sock ’em
7:30 p.m., May 27; Warehouse Theatre
A stage combat slug-festival, PG-13

As fun as it sounds! A night of stage combat at its best.

Guest artist Ryan Quinn McIntire is directing this wildly entertaining evening of theatre featuring the art of stage combat. You won’t want to miss this night featuring stage martial arts. Don’t forget to duck!

McIntire focuses on theatre and film performance and has specialized in movement and stage combat. He has trained at the National Stage Combat Workshop and the Virginia Beach Bash Combat Workshop. Stage and screen combat credits include fight choreography for Regent University, Theatrix Productions Inc., CBN, the University of Central Missouri, Northern State University of South Dakota, Regent University, and Littler Theatre of Norfolk. He serves as a stunt coordinator and double for the NewDominion Pictures television show, A Haunting. 


The Blessed Unrest Project
7:30 p.m., June 3; Warehouse Theatre
Electrifying devised theatre, PG-13

Based off the award-winning Blessed Unrest Project in New York City, this will be a truly unique experience you won’t want to miss.

The brilliant, internationally acclaimed physical theatre company Blessed Unrest, fresh off their Off-Broadway triumph, returns to Stephens College!

New York-based husband and wife team of Matt Opatrny and Jessica Burr, founding co-artistic directors of Blessed Unrest, will awaken students to the exciting, physical theatre techniques known as ViewPoints, and will guide the STI Company toward the creation of a breathtakingly original, devised theatre performance piece. Their work breaks traditional theatre boundaries, creating new forms of storytelling that are unforgettable. For their body of work, Blessed Unrest was recently honored with the prestigious Lucille Lortel Theatre Innovation Award.


Improv, Chicago Style! 
7:30 p.m., June 10; Warehouse Theatre
Hilarious, long-form improvisation, inspired by Chicago’s famed comedy troupe Second City. PG-13

This performance of character and story-driven improv is guaranteed to have you in stitches. Directed by Second City veteran Emma Pope, Improv, Chicago Style! is sure to be a unique and entertaining evening for all. 


Lullaby of Broadway
7:30 p.m., June 20; Macklanburg Playhouse
A sparkling Broadway musical revue, Family-Friendly

A beloved tradition, this is one musical revue not to be missed.

Be prepared for fabulous song and dance featuring the entire STI Company. Our beloved traditional season closer is a sparkling musical revue featuring some of the greatest music from the Broadway repertoire. This one is always packed to the rafters! Stephens’ own Trent Rash will direct and guest artist Tamara Walker will choreograph. A jam-packed, joyful send-off from the STI 2016 Company to our wonderful, dedicated Columbia community. Come early, as this one is going to be standing-room only!

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