Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College

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Jun
27
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Summer Dance Concert to feature both classic, modern choreography


DancingThe Stephens Summer Dance Concert is this weekend and audience members are in for a treat, Director Elizabeth Hartwell said.
“Columbians will enjoy this concert because it will thread eclectic topics into a lighthearted and at times substantive journey,” she said. “In fact, our last piece is titled ‘Journey’ and features old rock songs from the famous band of the same name.”
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Macklanburg Playhouse.
Attendees can also expect dances involving large props, evoking a sense of freedom and fanciful fun, Hartwell added.
“Our students are a steadfast group,” she said. “Each dancer is ready to play many characters within one setting, and they accomplish their tasks with finesse and ease.”
Dancers have spent the past month working with an all-star cast of guest artists, including a ballet master who brings decades of knowledge and several who are at the peak of their professional careers.
Russell Sulzbach, director of the School of Performing Arts and of the Ballet South company, enjoyed fame in the 1970s as a lead dancer in the Joffrey Ballet. At Stephens, he’s challenged students to perfect classical ballet steps in new ways. His choreographed piece will combine traditional ballet with modern music.
Concert-goers can expect contemporary dances, as well, choreographed by professionals, including Stephens alumnus Francisco Graciano, a member of the prestigious Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York; and Morgan Hulen, a member of the world-renowned MOMIX. 
Brandi Coleman, associate artistic director of Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, choreographed her work around the company’s style, which celebrates the communal core of jazz performance: Dancing, singing and storytelling in rhythmically syncopated conversations.
And actor and dancer Hettie Barnhill choreographed her piece around movements inspired by some of her Broadway performances, including “Spider-Man.”

“Our students have enjoyed working with these incredible dancers,” Hartwell said. “We’re so excited to share the culmination of all of their work with the community this weekend.” 

 
Jun
27
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Stephens will be smoke-free campus starting July 1

Stephens College will become a smoke-free campus starting July 1, 2014.
That means all lit cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes and other smoking products will be prohibited on campus grounds, including parking lots, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“This policy is much like policies adopted at other colleges and universities,” said Lindi Overton, vice president for finance and administration. “Like them, we believe our employees, students and visitors have the right to breathe fresh, clean air.”
The University of Missouri adopted its smoke-free policy last year, and some 20 other Missouri campuses are also smoke or tobacco free. Across the country, more than 1,300 colleges and universities also prohibit smoking.

Stephens will provide employees with information about local smoking cessation programs and resources to help them adjust to the policy throughout the month of July. 
 
Jun
26
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Camp Citizen Jane lets girls explore filmmaking

When Paula Elias, executive director of Citizen Jane, instructed participants of the annual Camp Citizen Jane to come up with a storyline for a “Please Silence Your Cell Phones” public service announcement, she gave them just one rule.
No showing a crowded movie theater mobbing a person on the phone.
Instead, she challenged each group to create a “no cell phone” PSA based on a genre: Action, horror, comedy.
The result was some pretty creative story lines. One group assigned the “horror” genre showed just how not scary a scary situation can be when Mom calls your cell. Another involved a pirate.
“They are amazing,” Elias said. “The students are responsible for the entire process, from writing the script to filming to editing.”
Camp Citizen Jane lets middle-schoolers from Columbia Public Schools not only learn about filmmaking but also get experience using the equipment.
“We focus on hands-on training from lighting and camera to directing,” Elias said.
This year, 20 students participated in the first session, which included the basics of filmmaking. Eighteen are currently enrolled in the advanced camp, during which students are creating short films as well as the cell phone PSAs. They’ll screen their works at a public showcase at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 3, in Helis Communication Center.
Kylie Williams, a 13-year-old from Smithton Middle School, plans to enter her short documentary to the Citizen Jane Film Festival. The film documents her struggles with eating disorders, a story she hopes will help others.
Other students are finding different types of talents they didn’t realize they had. Ava Mace, 13, of West Middle School, is a “natural director,” Elias said.
Mace said she was surprised to learn how few females actually work in Hollywood.
“Women are super-underrepresented,” she sad. “I hope things change.”

Asked if she’ll help change those trends, Mace said: “I’ll try my best.”
 
Jun
25
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New head basketball, golf coach brings extensive experience


By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
Stephens College Director of Athletics Deb Duren has announced the hiring of Ray Fron as the Stars’ new head basketball and golf coach. The 25-year coaching veteran arrives at Stephens after serving as assistant head basketball coach and recruiting coordinator at Aquinas College (NAIA DII) the past three seasons.
“I want to thank President Dianne Lynch, AD Deb Duren and the search committee for giving me this opportunity,” Fron said. “I am impressed with the quality people I met on my visit and believe the pieces are in place to make Stephens competitive athletically. Stephens has what I was looking for—a small college with a great track record academically, yet willing to support the student-athlete on the playing field.”
The bulk of Fron’s experience at the collegiate level comes from his time in Grand Rapids, Mich., at Aquinas College. Longtime head coach Linda Nash added Fron to her staff in 1996 and welcomed him back with open arms in 2011. Including his two stints (1996-2008, 2011-14), Fron has helped guide the Saints to four NAIA DII National Tournament appearances and a Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) title in 2007. During his time at Aquinas, the Saints compiled a record 267-190 (.584).
“I believe in setting high expectations and creating an atmosphere of players wanting to be engaged in whatever the basketball and/or golf programs are involved in,” Fron said. “We will work extremely hard both on the court/course and in the classroom. Coach Nash and I have always preached about having a balance in life. Our goal is to win every contest we are in, but we want to be able to enjoy the journey and have fun along the way.”
Between coaching stops at Aquinas, the Grand Rapids, Mich., native had the opportunity to become head coach at Spring Hill College (NAIA DI). He inherited a challenging situation as the fourth women’s basketball hire in a four-year span. In three seasons at the helm, Fron brought stability to the Badgers’ basketball program and improved areas such as academics and recruiting.
Prior to joining the collegiate ranks, Fron was the head girls’ basketball coach at Central Catholic High in Modesto, Calif., for four years, leading the program to its first-ever state playoff appearance. He also spent three years as head coach at Riverbank High School in Riverbank, Calif., from 1987-90.
In addition to basketball, Fron will also coach golf at Stephens. While hitting the links is a hobby for Fron, he also has competitive experience playing on the Michigan Amateur Golf Tour (MIAGT).
Classroom success and the development of young women off the court is nothing new to Fron, a big advocate of the small college academic and athletic mission of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Aside from coaching, Fron has taught special education at both the middle and high school level. He received his B.S. in Psychology and Special Education from Grand Valley State University and also has a Master in the Art of Teaching from Aquinas College.
Athletically, Fron was a prep athlete at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids where he lettered in cross country and track, while also playing basketball and baseball.
“I also would like to thank my wife and family for allowing me to take on this responsibility as their support has never wavered,” Fron added. “Lastly, I want to thank my longtime colleague at Aquinas College and great friend, Coach Linda Nash, whose friendship has meant so much to me. It goes well beyond basketball.”

Fron and his wife, Kari, have been married for 35 years and are the proud parents of three: Lauren, Robert and Tarah. The Frons are also proud grandparents of Ainsley and Tatum, the daughters of Robert and his wife, Ronda.
 
Jun
23
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New York-based director, actor join OST production of 'Rich Girl'


A New York-based director is on the campus of the Okoboji Summer Theatre in Iowa this month directing the company’s second show of the season, “Rich Girl” by Victoria Stewart.


An adaptation of “Washington Square,” the modernized script and characters intrigued Director Rich Cole, he said.


“It’s a great women’s play that shows the different cross spectrums of society,” he said. “I love plays that are actable, and have people saying what they would actually say, and have people who have flaws. In part, it’s about what society has done to women and how they have had to turn around and react—and the price we’ve paid for that.”


Cole also said he liked the idea of producing a fairly new play: OST’s production is just the fourth production of “Rich Girl,” which debuted at the George Street Playhouse in association with the Cleveland Playhouse.


A comedy that ultimately turns dark, “Rich Girl” is the story of Claudine, played by Stephens student Lydia Miller, a young woman who falls for a struggling theater director played by guest artist Evan White. Claudine’s mother, Eve, played by guest actor Celeste Ciulla, fears Henry is only after her daughter’s inheritance.


The show begins Tuesday and runs through Sunday.


This is Cole’s second season at OST, Stephens’ summer stock theatre company near Spirit Lake, Iowa. Artistic Director Dan Schultz recruited Cole last summer to direct “Angel Street,” and Cole said it didn’t take much to convince him to come back.


“It’s a happy place,” he said. “The level of professionalism here is really extraordinary. You can tell the students like doing this.”


For “Rich Girl,” Cole recruited Ciulla, a New York-based actor whose credits include Lady Macbeth, Truvy from “Steel Magnolias” and the Ghost of Christmas Past in “A Christmas Carol.” 
Ciulla is also a former fellow in the Ten Chimneys Foundation Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program, a widely acclaimed national program designed to serve the future of American theater. That’s one reason she was eager to join OST this year.

“I love the idea of theater reaching into a community,” she said. “And I like the idea of spreading the craft.”

 
Jun
19
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Closing show to feature popular Broadway songs

 

 

 


By Emma Carter/STI Public Information Director
The Stephens College Summer Theatre Institute will finish this season with the ever-popular musical revue on Monday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Macklanburg Playhouse on Willis Avenue.
This year's show, titled "A Grand Night for Show Music," consists of a selection of songs from three popular Broadway musicals, two of which contain quite a few dance numbers, choreographed by guest artist Millie Garvey. She has graced Stephens with her choreographing talents many times, most recently with the musical “Respect: A Musical Journey of Women.”
The show also contains a jazz number and a tap number choreographed by local dance instructors and long-time STI teachers Maggie Dethrow and Marie Brannigan-Robertson. The students have been working on these numbers since day one in mid-May. All other numbers were choreographed and learned in the past two weeks.
Audience members can expect humor, charm and a powerful performance from the students. Director Rob Doyen, another long-time Stephens faculty member, has selected material that really allows the students to showcase their strengths.
Patrons are advised to arrive early to snag seats for this annual show, which typically nearly fills the house.
The show, which is free and open to the public, is suitable for all ages and will run approximately an hour.
The Summer Theatre Institute is an on-campus intensive theatre experience for students between their first and second years at Stephens.
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Jun
18
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Stephens announces new Dean of Performing Arts

Dr. Gail Humphries Mardirosian, an internationally acclaimed performing arts scholar, author, director, academic administrator and award-winning, longtime faculty member at American University in Washington, D.C., has been named the new Dean of the School of Performing Arts at Stephens College.
“We’re thrilled that Dr. Mardirosian is joining Stephens College,” President Dr. Dianne Lynch said Tuesday. “Her creative vision, exceptional intellect, international experience and collaborative spirit will help propel our performing arts program to the next level of professional quality and national reputation.” 


Dr. Mardirosian’s broad experience encompasses academic administration, program development and fundraising and the direction of more than 130 productions, including drama, musical theatre, children’s theatre, classical and new works. She is also the past chair of the AU Department of Performing Arts, having opened both the Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre and the Katzen Arts Center during her chairship.


Dr. Mardirosian has taught and directed in multiple countries, including Greece, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and the Czech Republic, where she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar teaching at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She is also involved in international forums promoting artistic exchange and interaction.


As an arts administrator for more than 25 years, she has also consulted for multiple nonprofit arts and education organizations throughout the U.S. Dr. Mardirosian is also the team leader for an arts integration research project titled Imagination Quest (IQ), a collaborative effort between Imagination Stage and American University professors.


Dr. Mardirosian has an impressive list of honors and recognition, as well, including several outstanding teaching, faculty and directing awards, and articles published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Teaching Artist Journal and Current Issues in Education. In the spring of 2013, she was invested into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her book, “Arts Integration in Education: Teachers as Agents of Change,” is scheduled to be published by Intellect Books in 2015.


She holds a Ph.D. in education and a master of arts in theatre from American University and a bachelor of history and theatre from Allegheny College in Meadeville, Pa.


About her appointment to Stephens College, Dr. Mardirosian said, “I look forward to upholding and expanding the Stephens tradition of excellence in the performing arts. The College’s commitment to cutting-edge educational programs resonates deeply for me. I hope to be a catalyst for innovation while always respecting the exceptional foundation of rigorous and deep training in the arts that is a Stephens hallmark.”

The School of Performing Arts, currently ranked 16th in the country by The Princeton Review, is one of five schools at Stephens College. Other schools include Fashion and Design, Humanities and Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies and Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication. Founded in 1833, Stephens College has a long history of innovation in women’s education.
 
Jun
18
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Behind the scenes at Okoboji Summer Theatre



Building-the-setEight hours before show time on opening night, Stephens College theatre students are still painting the set; arranging knick-knacks and other props; and adjusting the lighting.
After a rushed lunch, they return to the stage, this time doing one last rehearsal—a technical rehearsal that allows Director Dan Schultz to tweak lighting, movements and sound.
This is Okoboji Summer Theatre, and every hour counts.
An intensive summer stock theatre company, the program challenges students to produce nine professional shows in just 10 weeks. And they perform those shows for six nights straight.
“There are very few summer stock theatre companies still doing this,” said Taylor Wetzel, a May graduate who has returned as part of the staff. “We have guest artists come to us and say they’ve never done anything like this before.”
On this particular day, the cast and crew is gearing up for the first show, Ken Ludwig’s “The Fox on the Fairway.” It’s a farce about a golf tournament gone awry. 
Opening night is a big deal in Okoboji—the theatre is one of few night-time entertainment options in the communities surrounding Okoboji and Spirit lakes, and audiences have returned for more than 55 seasons.
And this opening night did not disappoint. Audiences howled at the antics and over-the-top storyline starring Stephens students Elyse Bertani, Heidi Womelsdorf and Carolyn Williams, conservatory student Ty Carter and guest artists Kyle Groff and Aaron Choi—all of whom enjoyed a standing ovation for their performances. 
But what goes on behind the scenes is just as impressive, with technical crews building elaborate sets in just days. “The Fox on the Fairway,” set mostly in a country club house, complete with a full bar, bookshelf and framed portraits of members, was designed by Stephens alumna Michaela Lynne Stein.
“At Okoboji, you learn confidence as a female designer,” she said. “You're not scared to take charge and do the carpentry and other skills that need to be done.”
This particular show runs through Sunday, but already cast members are preparing for the next show, "Rich Girl," a romantic comedy that starts Tuesday, June 24. 
Watch a preview video of “The Fox on the Fairway” courtesy of Director Dan Schultz.
 

 
Jun
17
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Aviation sign uncovered at Columbia demolition site



As the City of Columbia began demolishing an existing building at the Parks Management Center in the 1400 block of West Business Loop 70, a surprise find temporarily turned a demolition project into a historical preservation project.

During the demolition of the building, a brick façade fell from the face of a 43-foot long by approximately 2-foot tall steel beam. Hidden beneath the brick facade, which was once the face of the building, were the words "Stephens College Aviation Department."

The Parks Management Center was once the home to Columbia Municipal Airport. After operating a private airport on the site, the Allton brothers sold the land and the airport to the City of Columbia in 1928. Columbia Municipal Airport was home to Stephens College Aviation Department from 1941 until about 1960. In 1968, Columbia Regional Airport in Elkhurst began operations and Columbia Municipal Airport was repurposed as Cosmo Park.

The building being demolished is believed to have once housed numerous airport functions and Parks and Recreation functions, most recently used as a repair garage for Parks and Recreation vehicles and equipment. A new Parks and Recreation fleet maintenance facility is almost complete next door to the building under demolition.

Stephens College has a unique history with Columbia Municipal and Columbia Regional Airport. In 1941, Stephens College began teaching women aviation and leased the Allton Hotel, which is across the street from the former airport and now a retirement center, to use as classrooms for the aviation program. Columbia Municipal Airport was then used for both ground and aeronautical training.

One alumna of the program, Francis Jenkins Holter '44, went on to work as an aeronautical engineer for North American Aviation and later was an engineer at Bendix Aerospace where she was the project engineer for the Apollo lunar rover and a principal engineer on the Apollo lunar module used in the moon landing program. Wally Funk '58 became one of the Mercury 13 - Women in Space program launched by NASA in 1961.

The connection between Stephens College and Columbia Regional Airport continues today. Last year, Creative Ink, a student-run integrated marketing communications firm at Stephens, began preliminary work on a new branding logo and marketing plan for Columbia Regional Airport. Stephens College fashion classes recently used Columbia Regional Airport as a backdrop for one of the multi-faceted Project Runway events, where fashion students' designs were modeled and photographed in various settings at Columbia Regional Airport.

Because of the rich history of the Stephens College Aviation Department and the relationship with Columbia Municipal Airport and the City of Columbia, as well as the impact graduates have made across the world with their education in aeronautics that began in Columbia, engineers developed a plan to safely remove and preserve the beam. It has been transported to, and will be stored at, Columbia Regional Airport until a use can be determined.
 
Jun
17
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Filmmakers more than half-way through 50-day, 50-state trip


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Two Stephens filmmakers are in the final stretch of their journey traveling to all 50 states in just 50 days.
Meredith Jacob and Madeline Carl left last month and have since visited states along the east coast, stopping at notable places such as the district’s Capitol and more obscure locations such as the bar where poet Edgar Allen Poe was last seen. 
While they're mostly staying with friends alumnae and whoever will take them in, one night spent in a former lunatic asylum in West Virginia, was by far the most “memorable” overnight stay, Jacob said.
“It is a haunted, abandoned asylum with many deaths and crazy stories (like most asylums) and maybe got a little scared when we got audio of a spirit saying ‘killer’ and grunting after asking questions,” she said.
While site seeing is one aspect of the trip, it’s not the filmmakers’ mission. Their ultimate goal was to collect film of amazing, previously untold stories from across the country about perseverance and achievement.
“Our mission has been wonderful,” Jacob said. “We have met a lot of characters and many diverse people along the way. We have met a guy who pulled over O.J. Simpson while on the L.A. Police Department and a girl on Times Square nearly naked in body paint. We have been told many goals and stories that are vastly different … goals ranging from medical school to seeing their grandchildren again.”
The students plan to turn that film into a full-length documentary.
Public response has been overwhelming. The women have been tracking their adventures on Facebook and are traveling in a Subaru with a link to the page written on the back windshield. The result has been strangers taking photos of their vehicle and posting them on the Facebook page with messages of encouragement.
A few days ago, the students couldn’t get in touch with their host. They posted a plea on Facebook and ended up staying with strangers who immediately became friends.
But while they’ve had a few bumps in the road—figuratively and literally—both Jacob and Carl agree they’re glad they went despite any initial misgivings.
“The trip so far has been pretty incredible and totally full of surprises,” Carl said. “We have learned a lot about ourselves and about each other.”

The trip is scheduled to end with a flight to Hawaii next month.

 
Jun
13
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Guest artists challenge students at Stephens Summer Dance


Two members from world-renowned dance companies and a ballet legend are on campus this week teaching Stephens Summer Dance students new movements and original choreographed works in preparation for the summer dance concert.

Francisco Graciano, a Stephens alumnus, is a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York. On campus, he’s teaching water-inspired movements, a Taylor trademark.

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Morgan Hulan helps a student balance on the see-saw.

Morgan Hulen, a Columbia native, is also borrowing movements from the company he dances for, MOMIX, which relies a lot on impromptu dance involving props. In class yesterday, he challenged dancers to explore techniques using teeter-totters. The result was some impressive acrobatic stunts.
And while Russell Sulzbach, director of Ballet South and of The School of Performing Arts in Florida and a former member of the Joffrey Ballet, is focused on classical ballet, students are being challenged to execute basic steps in new ways. Thanking Sulzbach after class yesterday, one student noted that she’d moved in ways she hadn’t thought possible.
That’s the goal of all of the guest artists during Stephens Summer Dance, an intensive program that connects students with working professionals.
“The idea is to teach them that their ability isn’t finite,” said Elizabeth Hartwell, program director. “As soon as something becomes easy and automatic, it’s time to introduce something new.”
The techniques students are learning in the program will be showcased at a public concert, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. June 27-28 at Macklanburg Playhouse.
Attendees can expect a wide-range of original works. Graciano’s piece aims to explore the contrasts between human spirit and our automaton nature. He compared his vision for the piece to dystopia, void of the human dynamic. The dance will be set to the music of American composer Philip Glass.
Hulen’s piece will incorporate the seesaws, although he’s still in the creation process. While the choreographed piece will have a formal format, he’s toying with the idea of including impromptu sections that allow the dancers to create their own movements.
“I have ideas and a basic structure, but I like the idea of letting them explore,” he said.
Hulen is also emphasizing the importance of music and said the piece will combine piano music with Rusted Root, a band best known for the hit “Send Me On My Way.”
“It will be fun to see how we marry the two styles,” he said.
Sulzbach is choreographing a classical ballet piece with contemporary music and the costumes somewhere in the middle.

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Russell Sulzbach watches dancers try new moves.


“The steps and arm movements are the same as used in traditional ballet but with a twist,” he said.
Hulen and Graciano have both been enrolled in and have worked at Stephens Summer Dance previously. However, this is Sulzbach’s first time on campus and in Columbia. So far, Sulzbach—known in the 1970s as one of the lead performers in Joffrey productions—has been impressed.

“I love this place,” he said. “The students are so wonderful and willing to try new things.”
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Jun
13
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Middle schoolers learning basics of fashion and design


About a dozen middle school girls are learning the basics of fashion and design on campus this week, part of the annual Stephens Fashion Camp.


So far, participants have studied colors, fabrics and textures, learning how to sketch fur, lace and ruffles. They also designed original monograms, which faculty members then made using monogram machines. Those will be attached to tote bags the students are sewing, said Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion and Design.


The camp, part of Columbia Public Schools’ SUNsations program, is a two-week camp that aims to give girls a taste of the fashion industry. In addition to using sewing machines, participants have several opportunities to sketch and design.


Yesterday, they were given pre-drawn silhouettes, giving them a starting point to design garments. Students will be challenged to draw a figure based on a live model during the second half of the program.


Students are also studying the history of fashion, creating a timeline of trends throughout the decades. Today, they’re visiting the Costume Museum and Research Library to see examples of some of those trends.


The camp also includes visits to downtown shops to let students see how runway trends translate into commercial apparel.

Next week, students will create mood boards, which will set the inspiration for their final original designs.

All of their creations will be on display in the afternoon on Friday, June 20, in the Davis Art Gallery.

 
Jun
13
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Camp Citizen Jane underway at Stephens

Camp Citizen Jane is underway at Stephens College, a summer program designed to let girls explore the world of filmmaking and media.
The camp is split into two sessions—one for those just beginning to learn about filmmaking and another for those at more advanced levels. Both two-week camps combine lectures with real filmmaking activities.
“They’re really getting a well-rounded experience,” said Paula Elias, director of Citizen Jane. “One day they’re creating storyboards; another they’re touring Columbia Access Television; and throughout the camp, they’re filming and editing original works.”
Camp Citizen Jane: Basic Filmmaking Tools and Media Literacy began June 9 and runs through June 20. The camp concludes with screening for family and friends.
Camp Citizen Jane: Advanced Tools of Filmmaking begins June 23 and runs through July 3. Students enrolled in that camp will create films specifically for the True/False Film Festival’s Gimme Truth competition, as well as a “Please Silence Your Cell Phone” announcement for the Citizen Jane Film Festival in the fall.
All participants receive a free membership to Columbia Access Television, so they can continue working with film equipment. 

The camp is part of Columbia Public Schools’ Summer SUNsational program.
 
Jun
12
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STI production tells stories from women of the West

By Emma Carter/STI Public Information Director
Expect to laugh, cry and leave feeling inspired by “Women of the West,” an intimate play adapted by Summer Theatre Institute’s Artistic Director Lamby Hedge.


The production is a series of stories taken from the diary entries and letters written by actual women of the frontier, and they range from charming to tragic. 

The play aims to breathe life into the stories of real women—women who never imaged their stories would be heard.

“These women led tough lives, but they managed to find beauty, love and empowerment in the simple tasks of cooking, quilting and keeping a family alive on the open prairie,” Hedge said. “While our other shows this season have focused on a particular acting style or skill, this production focuses on the simple act of honest, first-person storytelling.”

The show, which will be held on Friday, June 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Macklanburg Playhouse on Willis Ave., is free and open to the public and will run approximately one hour.

The Summer Theatre Institute is an on-campus intensive theatre experience for students between their first and second years. The program concludes next week with the annual musical revue, “A Grand Night for Show Music.”

 
Jun
11
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New event planning degree sees successful first year

The first year of a new Event and Convention Management degree at Stephens proved successful, allowing young women to work alongside professional planners as they prepare for their own careers.

“We were able to get out there and work as a team, getting that good experiential education that’s so important to us,” said Assistant Professor Cindy Hazelrigg.
During the program’s first year, students were involved in the Cancer Research Center Gala, the United Way, Ronald McDonald House Red Shoe Gala, a Pot of Gold Auction at Father Tolton Catholic High School and a number of private weddings and events. Several students are also members of Meeting Professionals International.

Students are interested in a variety of careers ranging from wedding planners to sporting event planners to corporate event managers.

“There’s such a variety of interests, it’s exciting for me,” Hazelrigg said. “We can pull from that as we have classroom discussions.”

And the jobs are out there. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry is growing at a rate of 33 percent—much faster than the average for job outlooks through 2022. And the median pay for event planners in 2012 was more than $45,000 a year.

“It’s a thriving industry,” Hazelrigg said. “And having the program embedded in our School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication is giving our students an edge in that market. They’re getting a broad background in business, marketing and leadership while having the ability to focus on event and convention management.”

Jenna Westra, who finished her freshman year in the program, hopes to pursue a career in the sports industry.

“People think it’s just wedding planning, but there’s so much more you can do with it,” she said.

Westra praised Hazelrigg for making the coursework relevant and for adding the off-campus experiences.

“I loved being able to tour the new Broadway hotel near campus and the Tiger Hotel,” she said. “I’m looking forward to planning more events.”
 
Jun
10
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Musical camps let children sample performing arts


Summer Musical Camps at Stephens will be held next month, weeklong programs that let children experience musical theatre while also learning age-appropriate lessons.
The camps are designed to let children sample the arts. Children do not have to audition to be part of the program, nor does it require ongoing commitments.  
“It gives them a taste of the world of performing arts,” said Pam Ellsworth-Smith, camp director who is also an assistant professor of music at Stephens. “It’s our goal to enhance the skills they come to us with, whether it’s dancing, singing or acting.” 
This year, Ellsworth-Smith is hosting three camps for various age groups. Each camp is being held at Historic Senior Hall and will conclude with a public performance in the Recital Hall.
Show Biz Kids is for children in kindergarten through second grade and will be held July 7 through July 11. Participants will perform songs and explore themes from “The Lion King.” Children will also get to wear animal masks for the performance.
“‘The Lion King’ installs great values,” Ellsworth-Smith said. “It really builds on the idea of being part of something greater than oneself.”
Students in third through fifth grade will perform selections from “Music Man” during the Spotlight camp, July 14-18. The camp will combine the performance with historical lessons from the piece, which is set in the early 1900s. Students will have a chance to pick a townsperson and develop his or her character.
Stars on Stage for students in grades sixth through eighth will be held July 21-25. That showcase will feature songs from “13 the Musical.”
“‘13 the Musical’ deals with middle school-age issues, so it’s really age appropriate,” Ellsworth-Smith said. “There will be a lot of opportunities for discussions about identity, the dangers of spreading rumors and what it means to be a friend.”

Each camp is $199 per week and includes instructional materials, costume rentals, snacks and T-shirts. Click here for more information. 
 
Jun
9
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President Lynch commissioned to study future of journalism education

Stephens College President Dianne Lynch has been commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to take an in-depth look at the future of journalism education.


This summer, she will travel the country interviewing those at the helm of both traditional media outlets, such as the Washington Post, as well as those involved in new journalism models. She pointed to the increasing number of online news sources that rely on grants rather than advertising revenue in order to ensure complete autonomy and to ensure that investigative reporters have the tools they need to provide in-depth information on trends and issues. In many cases, she noted, seasoned journalists are leaving traditional newsrooms to join these new types of media outlets.


Lynch is also working with journalism deans and professors, surveying them on how they envision journalism in the year 2025.  She stressed that the white paper is not a formal research project as much as a collection of the best thinking of a wide spectrum of academic and news professionals.


“This is about collecting the biggest and best ideas out there—models to better understand what journalists need to be and do in 2025,” she said, noting that many students entering college this fall will graduate in 2020.


Prior to taking the helm at Stephens, Lynch was dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, and she has an extensive background in journalism and new media technologies. She studied the credibility of online news in the early years of the World Wide Web and is considered an expert on the news habits of digital natives—those who’ve grown up with the Internet. She’s also served as a member of the national Journalism Advisory Council for the Knight Foundation.

She will present initial findings at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's annual conference in Montreal in August.
 
Jun
9
Date Tail

Stephens fashion programs earn Top 10 spots

Stephens College’s School of Fashion and Design is in the top 10 programs in the country for fashion marketing, according to a new set of rankings released earlier this week.
The marketing degree is ranked 8th by Fashion Schools, an online resource that aims to provide students with information about fashion and design programs. The company began rating schools last year.
Stephens was also ranked 10th in the Midwest and 33rd nationally for its design degree and 13th in the country for fashion management.

“We know we’re providing our students with an excellent education and lots of real-world experiences in the world of fashion,” Dean Monica McMurry said. “We’re pleased that others recognize our high-quality programs, as well.”
 
Jun
5
Date Tail

Trip to L.A. opens industry doors for film students


Dinner-tableFor LeeAnn Lowery ’15 the chance to spend a week in Los Angeles wasn’t about sight seeing or even visiting major studios.

“The highlight was meeting alumnae who are actually working in the industry—alumnae who were in the exact spot we’re in and are now successful,” Lowery said.
Lowery and fellow film majors took the trip last month as part of the digital filmmaking program at Stephens. The trip began last year and is now offered to all film students once between their sophomore and junior year or junior and senior year.
As part of the week-long experience, students visited a recording studio and watched a film composer compose a cue for “Grimm,” toured Sunset Boulevard, toured “The Simpsons” writing room and attended a lecture at the Writers Guild Foundation Library.
A brunch with Stephens alumnae living in the area capped off the trip and was “perfect,” said Assistant Professor Steph Borklund, who accompanied the students.
“I really feel that it confirmed the possibility to some of the students that it is possible to move to L.A. if they want to,” she said. “Seeing our alumnae not only succeed in L.A. but also giving the students advice and their information was key.”
Alumnae and students exchanged information, and alumnae offered to help students if they choose to move to L.A. after graduation, she said.

“The Hollywood industry seems a lot less daunting and success there seems a lot more within reach because, not only do I have the advice and encouragement of many successful women, but I also have the beginnings of a relationship with people and especially Stephens alumnae who would be willing to help me along the way,” Livvy Runyon ’16 said. “I really enjoyed hearing their personal stories of how they got where they are, and the advice they gave to us about starting out in our careers and our lives was absolutely invaluable to me. Their words were so inspiring and encouraging, I feel like the things I used to see as impossible are actually a lot more attainable than I thought. They encouraged us that with some hard work, perseverance and a lot of passion, nothing is off limits to us.”

 
Jun
4
Date Tail

New York-based director overseeing original production at Stephens


The director of a revolutionary theatre company in New York is on campus this week overseeing production of an original play based on the life of a famous female geologist.
Jessica Burr is co-founder of Blessed Unrest, an award-winning experimental physical theatre company that generates original works. Burr’s partner, Matt Opatrny, joined her on campus last week, as well.

Jessica-Burr
Courtesy of Alan Roche


At Stephens, Burr is working with about 20 theatre students to write and create a show featuring the life of Luella Agnes Owen. Owen, who died in 1932, was the first woman to openly explore and write about the caves of Missouri. Despite social restrictions, Owen explored hundreds of caves, publishing “Cave Regions of the Ozarks and Black Hills” in 1898.
The show, “The Beauty of Darkness,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Warehouse Theatre. It’s free and open to the public.
Burr and students discovered Owen’s biography while looking for materials on which to base the play.
Rather than a linear biography, “The Beauty of Darkness” will be a journey of interwoven narratives of stories, poetry, original choreography and music that bring our central story clearly into the here and now. Information will come unexpectedly, Burr said, and through all types of mediums.
“We’re essentially all asking the question and letting it be,” she said. “That question is ‘What does it mean to build your own way as a woman in this place?’ It will also celebrate the women on whose shoulders we stand.”
Burr and Opatrny have been working together since 1999 and held their first performance as a company in New York in 2001, just days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The mood and tenacity following that event has shaped the company since, she said. In addition to productions in New York, Blessed Unrest pursues international partnerships in hopes of breaking down cultural barriers through artistic collaboration.
This is Burr’s first time working at Stephens and visiting Missouri. Although the process has been hectic—she and the crew have two weeks to write, rehearse and produce the show—she said she’s been impressed with Stephens.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “The idea of coming into a place and working with people you’ve never met and to devise a play from scratch in two weeks … it’s in that fine line between very brave and very stupid. But they’ve set the bar so high. They’re focused, have had great training and take care of each other. I’m learning a lot just keeping up with their processes.”

“The Beauty of Darkness” is part of the Summer Theatre Institute at Stephens. Click here for a list of all STI productions. 

 
Jun
4
Date Tail

Lee students enjoy field trip at President's Home



Children from Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School enjoyed their annual end-of-year field trip at the President’s Home at Stephens College today.

sidewalk-chalkThe school’s more than 300 students took advantage of the property’s layout to spread out and rotate through various activity stations. While older students played Frisbee and competed in cardboard box races—requiring them to roll down the lawn inside a box—younger children ran egg and water races and decorated the sidewalks with chalkboard art.
“We love being Partners in Education with Lee and hosting their field day,” Stephens President Dianne Lynch said. “There are always such great games and activities.”

Having the President’s Home property near the school is “phenomenal,” said Lee Principal Karen Burger.
While the field trip is held annually, the school often uses the property for outdoor physical education classes.
“We have a soccer field which is also used for recess but otherwise we’re a little landlocked,” Burger said. “We’re really grateful to have the opportunity to use this space when the weather is nice.”

The field trip marks the last full day of school and celebrates the end of the school year, which concludes tomorrow.
children1
children2

 
Jun
3
Date Tail

Columbia Transit unveils logo designed by Creative Ink


The City of Columbia today unveiled a new logo for Columbia Transit designed by Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm at Stephens.


The logo is a colorful wheel-shaped design that conveys a variety of ideas, said Teresa White, a marketing specialist for Columbia Transit.


“The brilliant women at Creative Ink had the idea of making it a wheel without being too obvious about it,” she said. “It incorporates a number of transportation elements, the spokes and wheel and arrows, but also conveys the idea of connecting the community.”


Creative Ink Sponsor Kate Gray, assistant professor of graphic design, joined city leaders at a launch party today on the University of Missouri campus revealing the new look, as well as a new transportation plan.



Sarah Coyen, who will be a senior this fall, was the account executive and will be the executive director of Creative Ink this coming school year. Sara Barnett, also a senior, was the designer and is the incoming creative director for the firm. Students worked based on the idea of conveying a sense of movement, Gray said. 
The City of Columbia and Columbia Transit have been working on an overhaul to the public transportation system for the past year. CoMo Connect, the name of the brand, had a temporary logo, but needed a more professional permanent look, White said.


“The city was very excited to be able to utilize the talents of our local Stephens College students on this project,” Drew Brooks, multi-modal manager, said in a statement. “The Creative Ink program was a perfect fit for our needs and helped us connect to the student population here in Columbia. Rebranding the entire bus line is a huge undertaking for the city, and the students we worked with just blew us away with their innovative ideas and professional attitudes. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Creative Ink, now in its sixth year, is also working with the city to rebrand the Columbia Regional Airport and has worked with other community clients, including Columbia Public Schools. The firm does not charge for services but rather uses those partnerships to gain real-world experience.
 
Jun
3
Date Tail

McConnell selected to Capital One Academic All-America® First Team



By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
TOWSON, Md. – Stephens College softball standout Jessica McConnell was named to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America® First Team today. 
Selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), McConnell becomes the Stars’ first-ever Academic All-American® in any sport.
She was one of 11 student-athletes to earn first-team honors and is the lone representative for the American Midwest Conference (AMC).
“This honor speaks volumes about Jess’s commitment to excellence on the field and in the classroom,” said Athletics Director Deb Duren. “During her time at Stephens, she has been a tremendous asset and model student-athlete for our program.”
McConnell finished her career as the Stars’ all-time leader in hits (148), doubles (31), triples (13), runs batted in (44), total bases (208) and slugging percentage (.515). As a four-year starter for the softball team, she started all 144 games of her college career.
This season, the Edwardsville, Ill., native was named first-team AMC All-Conference, another first for the Stephens softball program. She was the Stars’ leading hitter with a .394 average while driving in a team-high 17 runs. She also had eight doubles and four triples.
The Edwardsville, Ill., native is a recent graduate of the M.B.A. program at Stephens, where she also finished her undergraduate degree in business and marketing with a 3.94 grade point average.
As a multi-sport athlete, McConnell racked up several academic awards in her time at Stephens. She is a five-time Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete and eight-time AMC Academic All-Conference honoree.
“Across the country, there are several student-athletes who perform at an elite level and some who achieve at a high level in the classroom,” Duren added. “But, there are very few who excel at the level that Jess has in both areas.”
To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.30, have reached sophomore athletic and academic status at their current institution and be nominated by their sports information director.
On May 1, McConnell became eligible for the Academic All-America® team by earning Capital One Academic All-District honors for District 3, which covers the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
 
Jun
2
Date Tail

Brooklyn Nine-Nine star talks career, Stephens roots


Actress and Stephens alumna Stephanie Beatriz has found success in acting on stage and in film and television.

 


With a major role in the Fox hit Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which snagged a Golden Globe for best TV comedy series in January; a role in Short Term 12, which many consider one of the best motion pictures of 2013; and an upcoming role alongside some big-name co-stars, Beatriz has been rightfully deemed a “rising star.”


But she hasn’t forgotten her Stephens roots. For those tuning in to the Tuesday night hit comedy, don’t let her role as tough-talking Detective Rosa Diaz fool you. In real life, Beatriz is developing a reputation for being accessible, friendly and down-to-earth. We see why! The talented celeb was happy to take time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about her success.


Stephens: When we heard “Rosa Diaz” on Brooklyn Nine-Nine being described as tough and smart, we thought: "That sounds like a Stephens woman!"—even though she’s also described as “really scary,” and you don’t seem that way at all.
Beatriz: Actually, I can absolutely relate to her scariness. Do not cross me when it is snack time. Also don't cut me off in traffic.


STEPHENS: The show is obviously resonating with audiences. Congratulations on the Golden Globe win! You were stunning in that blue dress (and we loved the glasses) at the ceremony. Tell us what it was like to be part of such an amazing night—the 360 Glam Cam, being in the audience, being on stage—all of the details!


BEATRIZ: Thank you! It was fun, extremely strange and anxiety producing! We were all so excited to be at the event, and for many of us it was our first awards show. The Red Carpet part was very strange: Because I'm a newcomer and our show is still so new, many photographers and interviewers just had no idea who I was and skipped right over me! I didn't mind at all though and was simply trying to enjoy the moment. Once we finally got inside (from start to finish, the carpet took us about an hour and a half with photos, interviews and slow walking in high heels) and were seated at our table, the real fun began. I loved seeing my favorite actors and flipped when Meryl Streep walked by. The ceremony was so fun and flew by.


Once Andy's (Samberg) win was announced, we were all on cloud nine: he was so surprised! And when our category came up and we were announced the winners, we were so, so joyful. I had my glasses on at that point, so I could see the ceremony and ended up just running on stage with them on. Being on that stage felt so surreal: I was holding on to (co-star) Chelsea Peretti, who was standing next to me, for dear life. I was so, so happy that the work of (writers) Dan Goor and Mike Schur was recognized that evening. The characters and worlds they created swept the comedy categories—Amy Poehler won best actress in a comedy series—and they are so deserving of the recognition. Afterward, we were swept into the backstage area where we were interviewed within an inch of our lives! (By the way, Al Roker is adorable in real life.)


The best part of the day? That's a tie between the actual win and getting ready that morning! Fellow Stephens alum and my best friend [and Stephens alumna] Katie Mellinger is a professional makeup artist, and she flew out from New York City just to do my makeup! 


Stephens: We love hearing that Stephens connection! You played a much different role in Short Term 12, which was an intimate movie. Even though we don't learn much about your character, “Jessica,” we still feel really connected to her in that she's a vital part of this community. What do you credit that to?


Beatriz: The credit goes totally to Destin Cretton, our director/writer. He worked at a group home for years as a day job, and his experiences there shaped the narrative of the film. He encouraged us to get to know the younger actors who populated the group home you see in the film. Between shooting scenes, you could often find many of the younger cast in my dressing room, hanging out and talking about music and making each other laugh. I felt really responsible for them and like a big sister. I hope a bit of that comes through in the film.


 

Stephens: It does! At what age did you decide to pursue acting?
BEATRIZ: Pretty young! In eighth grade, I was in a drama class at school. We had one big production each semester. I wanted the part of the ingénue, but it went to a particularly beautiful and popular girl. My short hair and very crooked teeth won me the part of the evil villain. I was naturally devastated until we started rehearsals, and then I just started FLYING. I was free to explore physical comedy, voices, timing, everything I was too embarrassed or shy to try before.


The day after the production, which the entire school attended, a football player who had never spoken to me before told me how much he liked my brother's performance in the play. SUCCESS! I had made people believe I was someone else! I had also fooled the cool kids into liking me. Granted, they didn't know it was me, but somehow it didn't matter. I was hooked.


Stephens: Which actors inspired you growing up?


Beatriz: Carol Burnett—I loved her show. I adored the entire cast of The Golden Girls. Tom Hanks and Robin Wright—I was devastated/sublimely happy after seeing Forrest Gump as a kid. And the voiceover work of all the actresses who played Disney princesses was a major influence; I am not ashamed to say that.


Stephens: That probably helped when you landed the role of “Cinderella” at Stephens! You enjoyed the spotlight in a number of lead roles during your time here, including “Miss Brodie” in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and “Chava” in Fiddler on the Roof. Do you have any “favorite” roles from your Stephens days—any roles that especially challenged or inspired you?


Beatriz: The Girl in Hot L Baltimore was such a special role in a very special production. [Theatre Professor] Rob Doyen and I spent a ton of time onstage together in that, and I thought it was so wonderful to see him play this sort of meek, shy and sad character. The Warehouse produced Rocky Horror Picture Show as a benefit, and I was lucky enough to be cast in that as well—such an amazing production and so fun. Very challenging for me; I had to dance and sing and stayed onstage the entire time as a sort of Greek chorus. As a freshman, a few classmates and I produced a play called The Real Queen of Hearts Ain't Even Pretty. That was fantastic because we put it up ourselves with support from The Warehouse Theatre and [Assistant Theatre Professor] Dan Schultz, who was an upperclassman at the time. About six of us pulled everything together ourselves. I loved that about Stephens; it celebrates and encourages an environment where you can learn to create your own work, which is so important for artists. So many times things are out of your control, and with that project we made all the decisions.


Stephens: You actually went into theatre after graduation more so than film or television acting. Tell us a little about your professional theatre background.


Beatriz: I moved to New York City immediately after college and was lucky enough to become a part of the union right away though a great company called Theatreworks/USA that produces children's theatre. After that, I tried to do everything I could to get to know people who could get me a job. [Stephens alumna] Becca Ayers introduced me to her agency and through them I booked my first regional theatre job, the role of “Marela” in Anna in the Tropics at the Pittsburgh Public Playhouse. Since then, I've been lucky enough to work at some amazing theatres: Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Yale Rep, The Mark Taper Forum, Hartford Stage, and most recently, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.


Stephens: How difficult was it to make the switch as an actor from the stage to the screen?


Beatriz: I was struggling a bit with the transition, but I took some great classes in L.A. about auditioning. I think it's really important to keep learning, to keep looking for answers. If I'm feeling lost, that's when I know I need to go back to class!


Stephens: You got quite a bit of attention for your role as Sofia Vergara's sister on the ABC hit Modern Family last year. What was it like to work on such a wildly popular series?
Beatriz: Fantastic. The cast was hugely welcoming and extremely professional. I learned a ton just watching how they worked.


 

STEPHENS: We’ll see more of you on the big screen this year. You play “Jill,” the best friend and roommate of the main character in You're Not You, a film with some pretty big names, including Josh Duhamel and Hilary Swank. What was it like working with them and what can audiences expect from that film?
BEATRIZ: Hilary was lovely, extremely kind and very focused. I didn't get to meet Josh, as we were not in any of the same scenes. I'm looking forward to seeing the final version of the film myself! One of my agents (he's a total tough guy) saw it and said it emotionally wrecked him. I think that's a good sign!



 
May
27
Date Tail

Comedy meets combat in 'Slap Schtick' theatre production

By Emma Carter/STI Public Information Director


Summer Theatre Institute students on Friday will present “Slap Schtick,” comedy meets combat.


The show, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Warehouse Theatre, will consist of a series of fight vignettes. Some students created original scenes, while others took familiar scenes—everywhere from Bridesmaidsto Shakespeare—and added a physical fight.


Audience members can expect to “ooh” and “ahh” at the convincing fight sequences and laugh at the circumstances from which each fight has sprung.


The performance is directed and choreographed by guest artist John Wilson, a professional director, actor, fight choreographer and teacher. Wilson’s regional credits include American Heartland Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, Ensemble Theatre Company, Denver, Co., and his most recent effort, “Romeo and Juliet,” which was his seventh fight director assignment for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. 


The show is free and open to the pubic and will run approximately one hour. It is for those ages 12 and up.

The Summer Theatre Institute is an on-campus intensive theatre experience for students between their first and second years. Upcoming shows include:
·   The Blessed Unrest Project

7:30 p.m., Friday, June 6

Warehouse Theatre, 104 Willis Ave.

Directed by Jessica Burr and Matt Opatrny

An evening of thrilling, artist-driven magic!


· Women of the West
7:30 p.m., Friday, June 13

Warehouse Theatre, 104 Willis Ave.

Adapted and Directed by Lamby Hedge

Using authentic diaries and letters of the period, STI will make women of the frontier come alive once more.


·  A Grand Night for Show Music

7:30 p.m., Monday, June 23

Macklanburg Playhouse, 100 Willis Ave.

Directed by Rob Doyen, Musical Direction by Cheryl Nichols and Choreographed by Millie Garvey
A joyous Broadway musical revue.
 
May
27
Date Tail

'Starting with My Voice' to be presented Wednesday and Thursday


"Starting with My Voice," an original musical written by Audra Sergel and Trent Rash, adjunct instructors at Stephens College, will be presented Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Windsor Auditorium on the Stephens campus. Tickets are $10. Click for ticket information or more on the show.


The music is provided by Sergel, who teaches voice and piano and provides accompaniment at Stephens, and the book is written by Rash, who gives private voice lessons at Stephens, teaches Performance Techniques and performs in theatre productions.


"Starting with My Voice"—accepted into the 2014 Chicago Musical Theater Festival as one of just eight musicals out of 40 submissions selected to be part of the event—is the musical journey of five interconnected souls, that while living their human, everyday, complicated lives are learning simple, spiritual lessons. The songs lead the audience to peek into these lessons in grief, love, humor, and self-acceptance, and make for a show that is funny, real, from the heart and honest. It is rated PG-13 for mild language and adult themes.


Sergel’s music was originally composed for a revue, “Now is the Time,” which debuted at The Bridge in Columbia last fall. Hearing all of the pieces together at that event, Sergel said, made her realize she had something special—a collection of songs with a unifying theme.

“They are all about making a decision, a choice moment,” she said. “They’re individual stories about being who we are and how we decide to advocate for change.”

Sergel reached out to Rash to help write the book and direct the production, and professional actors have since joined the cast.


Although outside of the realm of their teaching duties, Sergel and Rash agree their musical could benefit students. The musical could be performed in the future using students in the cast, Rash said. On a broader level, it shows how making one decision—in this case submitting the music to the festival—can have significant results.

“As an artist, when you feed yourself, you share,” Sergel said. “It shows students you have to stay open. Stephens women are courageous, they put themselves out there, and that’s contagious. This is about taking the next step and being bold.”

The next step for “Starting with My Voice” will be showings at The Den Theatre in Chicago and for the Hannibal Arts Council next month.

 
May
24
Date Tail

Internationally known guest artists work with dancers at Stephens Summer Dance

 

Dance-Studio-1
Students practice movements in the summer dance intensive.

Students enrolled in the Stephens Summer Dance intensive are studying the art of Jump Rhythm and learning contemporary modern  dance from two internationally respected guest artists.

Brandi Coleman is the associate artistic director of Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, a Chicago-based dance company that celebrates the communal core of jazz performance

dancing, singing and story-telling in rhythmically syncopated conversations. At Stephens, she’s teaching the art form to students. 
Hettie Barnhill is a Broadway entertainer who last performed in the production of Spider-Man. She’s teaching contemporary movements inspired by some of her Broadway performances.
Both artists are emphasizing high-energy movements that are relaxed and controlled. Movements are sharp with an emphasis on the transitions between poses. 

Dance-Studio-2
Coleman urges students to focus their eyes while moving.

“The styles work together,” Coleman said. “They’re different but complementary.”  Dance students are being challenged, but Coleman and Barnhill agreed that once they get out of their comfort zones, they’re “willing to go for it.” That includes being willing to “scat," get into character and take other risks.
Barnhill and Coleman are choreographing dances that students will perform at the annual Summer Dance Concert. The concert, which is open to the public, will be held at 7:30 p.m. June 27-28 at Macklanburg Playhouse.
Coleman is also an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University. In 2007, she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance On-Camera in the PBS documentary Jazz Rhythm Jazz Project: Getting There. She is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Dance-Studio-3
Barnhill leads warm-up exercises before her class.

Barnhill’s Broadway production ended in January. She’s using the break between shows to not only serve as a resident artist at Stephens but also work with A Long Walk Home, Inc., a non-profit organization that uses art therapy and performing arts to educate the public about healing from trauma. She’s been honored twice as a Rising Star by the Young & Powerful for Obama Group and in 2011 was named NAACP “Top 21 Leaders 40 and Under” in the fields of arts and culture.
Stephens Summer Dance is part of the College's B.F.A. in Dance program that allows students to earn their degree in three years and two summers. The program is split into two sessions, allowing high school students to participate, as well.
During the second session, guest artists include Francisco Graciano, a member of the Ben Munisteri Dance Company, Cortez & Co. Contemporary/Ballet and Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre and the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York City; Russell Sultzbach, director of Ballet South; and Morgan Hulen, a member of the world-renowned MOMIX dance company.

 
May
22
Date Tail

SCCS enjoys Preschool of the Year party on last day

baloon-artist
A balloon artist creates a rabbit for an SCCS student.

Stephens College Children’s School is celebrating the last day of school today with a party—complete with prizes the school won late last year when SCCS was named Preschool of the Year in a Parent’s Pick contest sponsored by Hulafrog of Columbia.

 

 

 



The honor came with rental of a bounce house, the highlight of this afternoon’s event, as well as a balloon artist, who was on hand creating bunnies, swords and other creatures from colorful balloons.
Kona Ice also pulled its frozen treats onto the school playground, letting parents and children keep cool in between activities.
Hulafrog is a website that provides information on kid-friendly businesses and events. Last year, the company asked parents to name the top preschool in town.
“We were thrilled” to be selected, said Leslie Willey, director and Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Stephens. “We know we provide an excellent educational experience, but we also know we are in good company.”
Stephens College Children’s School offers preschool through fifth grade.

 
May
21
Date Tail

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction now 100% online


Teachers and other education professionals seeking to complete a master’s degree can now do so entirely online through Stephens College.


Effective immediately, the College’s Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction is a 14-month, 100% online program. That’s a switch from its predecessor, which required students to spend a week on campus two consecutive summers.


“We know a lot of people want to teach summer school or have summer travel plans,” said Dr. Leslie Willey, director of the M.Ed. program and dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. “By eliminating the on-campus week in June, this opens the door for more people to take advantage of our program.”


The M.Ed. allows working professionals to complete assignments, group projects and presentations through multi-media platforms online. In many cases, students can apply what they’re learning in class to their own homerooms and schools.


“It’s designed for full-time teachers,” Willey said. “We stay current with curriculum trends, so it’s really relevant to a teacher’s life. We want them to adapt assignments and projects to use in their classrooms and to share best practices with one another.” 

 
May
20
Date Tail

Summer Theatre Institute presents collection of tales based on Sandburg stories


By Emma Carter/STI Public Information Director
Stephens College theatre students on Friday will present “A Dozen Rootabagas,” a collection of tales based on stories by Carl Sandburg.


The play—adapted by Kip Niven, father of Summer Theatre Institute student Maggie Niven—is a string of original folk tales, each one building off the one prior to it. Audience members can expect to be charmed by endearing, quirky characters and Sandburg’s unique language and vivid imagery.


Tales include “The Story of Blixie Bimber and the Power of the Gold Buckskin Whincher,” “How They Bring Back the Village of Cream Puffs When the Wind Blows it Away,” and “How Gimme the Ax Found Out About the Zigzag Railroad and Who Made it Zigzag.”


The play begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Warehouse Theatre and is free and open to the public. It’s directed by Carol Estey, a Broadway veteran and artistic director of dance at Stephens.


The Summer Theatre Institute is an on-campus intensive theatre experience for students between their first and second years. Upcoming shows include:


·  Slap Shtick!

7:30 p.m., Friday, May 30

Warehouse Theatre, 104 Willis Ave.

Directed/Choreographed by John Wilson

A comic look at what happens when a well-intentioned master class in fight choreography goes awry.


·   The Blessed Unrest Project

7:30 p.m., Friday, June 6

Warehouse Theatre, 104 Willis Ave.

Directed by Jessica Burr and Matt Opatrny

An evening of thrilling, artist-driven magic!


· Women of the West
7:30 p.m., Friday, June 13

Warehouse Theatre, 104 Willis Ave.

Adapted and Directed by Lamby Hedge

Using authentic diaries and letters of the period, STI will make women of the frontier come alive once more.


·  A Grand Night for Show Music

7:30 p.m., Monday, June 23

Macklanburg Playhouse, 100 Willis Ave.

Directed by Rob Doyen, Musical Direction by Cheryl Nichols and Choreographed by Millie Garvey
A joyous Broadway musical revue.

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