Posted September 13, 2012
Towson University Department of Theatre Arts Alumnus Ian Belknap Appointed New Artistic Director of the Acting Company
Ian Belknap, a 2006 graduate of the Towson University Department of Theatre Arts, has been named as the new Artistic Director of The Acting Company. Margot Harley, who founded the company along with legendary director and actor Houseman forty years ago, announced the appointment. “We’re a Company of young actors – founded forty years ago with the young Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, David Schramm and David Ogden Stiers right out of Juilliard – and it is appropriate that we begin our next 40 years with a vibrant young talent as our artistic leader,” said Ms. Harley, who will move from Producing Artistic Director to Producer. Harley and Houseman, who is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Orson Welles and his Oscar-winning role as Professor Charles Kingsfield in the film The Paper Chase, created The Acting Company from the first graduating class of the Drama Division at the Juilliard School. The company is known not only for the prominent American actors it counts among its alumni, but also for its educational outreach programs. The Acting Company performs each year in over 40 cities to audiences of 70,000 and reaches more than 30,000 students with its arts education programs. Its numerous awards include the Obie Award, Los Angeles Critics Circle Award and a Tony award for Excellence in Theatre in 2003.
As a student at Towson University, Belknap appeared in several main stage productions, including
The Servant of Two Masters, Hair, and Waiting for Godot. He was awarded the John Glover Scholarship. He directed David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago and was a leading force behind the student producing group Free Space. Belknap also began his work in the professional theatre through internships with the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival and CENTERSTAGE. While a directing intern at CENTERSTAGE, Belknap began working with director Mark Lamos. He would go on to assist Lamos at several other theatres throughout the country. Belknap also worked at the New York Theatre Workshop, Primary Stages, New Victory Theater, Guthrie Theater, The Kennedy Center, Rep Stage, Everyman Theatre, Young Audiences, Prince Music Theater, and Philadelphia Theater Company, before beginning work at The Acting Company in 2008. His production of Damascus, written and performed by Andrew Weems, ran off-Broadway. Damascus was part of the inaugural WRITE ON! Festival that Belknap created to feature new plays written by The Acting Company alumni actors turned playwrights. He directed The Comedy of Errors which premiered at the Guthrie Theater before a two year national tour. His upcoming production of Of Mice and Men will also tour as part of The Acting Company’s 40th anniversary season. Since 2011, Belknap has overseen The Acting Company’s education department, forging new relationships with Teachers College, Columbia University and Lincoln Center Theater. The partnership with Teachers College gave rise to a 40 week Shakespeare program for kindergartners at The Community School, a public school in Harlem. Lincoln Center Theater presented The Acting Company’s production of Julius Caesar in 2012 for students across New York City.
Belknap says of his education at Towson University, “The Department of Theater Arts taught me clarity. Ambiguity begets boredom. Clarity creates experience. I learned that difference from a constellation of opportunities as a student actor, historian, electrician, producer and director. The department gave me room to explore a variety of interests and that freedom led me to directing. This process from general to specific was ushered by the extraordinary faculty, in particular Professor Dr. Robyn Quick and Associate Professor Peter Wray, the finest jurors of clarity.”
See the announcement on The Acting Company's website here.
Posted July 10, 2012
Towson University Theatre Alumnus Selected for the Drama Desk Nominating Committee
Towson University Department of Theatre Arts alumnus Adrian Wattenmaker was selected to be one of six distinguished New York theatre critics and educators who will chose the nominees for the 2012 – 2013 Drama Desk awards. Since his graduation from Towson University in 2005, Adrian has worked extensively as an actor and director. He directed plays at the New York Theatre Workshop, 440 Studio, and Brooklyn WordShop. He served as an assistant director for Austin Pendleton and David Schweizer. Adrian also taught acting at Brooklyn College, New York Film Academy, University of Nevada, Reno, and the School of Creative and Performing Arts, where he is the director of their Brooklyn Campus. Adrian is currently completing his MFA in Directing at Brooklyn College.
Adrian was in the theatre studies track in the Department of Theatre Arts at Towson University. His directing projects as a student included Betrayed by Everyone and Tales, as well as a development internship at Baltimore Theatre Project, and a dramaturgy internship at CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore. He was selected to receive the department’s Steve Yeager Scholarship. Mr. Yeager, a fellow Towson theatre alumnus and director, teaches Acting for the Camera at the university.
The Drama Desk awards are among the most important New York theater honors. The awards recognize productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway.
Seven local stage productions make "City Paper's" Top 10 in "The Year in Stage"
Theatre professor Daniel Ettinger worked on scenic design for four plays in the top 10, including "Two Rooms," "Apartment 213," "All My Sons" and "The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?".
"Apartment 213," conceived and written by MFA in Theatre candidate Joseph Ritch, was performed as a co-production between Iron Crow Theatre and TU's MFA in Theatre Program. Faculty member Stephen Satta is the artistic director for the Iron Crow Theatre.
"Sideshow" was produced by MFA in Theatre graduate Jose David Gregory's company, Teatro101.
Theatre graduate Andrew Peters directed "Antarctica," produced by Glass Mind Theatre Co., for which Peters is also artistic director.
"Playing Dead," a product of the New Russian Drama Project at TU, was translated by theatre professor Juanita Rockwell and directed by Fulbright Scholar in Residence Yury Urnov.
Two MFA students are winners in the City Paper’s short fiction and poetry contents
Donna Sellinger, MFA Theatre ’ 10, won 1st place for her short fiction, “The Universal Sewer,” and Lola Pierson, a current MFA theatre student, won 3rd place for her short fiction, “Good for What Ails Ya,” in the City Paper’s 2010 short fiction and poetry content.
The Theatre Arts Department congratulates them and is very proud of their accomplishments.
Theatre professor Robyn Quick receives Elliott Hayes Award from The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas
The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) recognized the extraordinary achievement of dramaturg Robyn Quick, professor of theatre at Towson University, at its annual conference held in Banff, Canada, June 20-July 1. Quick received the Elliott Hayes Award and a $500 prize for spearheading the New Russian Drama Project, a major effort to bring contemporary Russian drama to an American audience. The project brought together TU's theatre department and Philip Arnoult's Center for International Theatre Development. With Quick serving as lynch pin, the two organizations partnered in a series of commissioned translations, classroom studies, productions at the professional and university level, and a series of artistic collaborations and exchanges.
The project focuses on theatrical work created by Russian artists who came of age after the fall of the USSR. Says Quick: "Many artists and scholars still know little about this movement and have limited access to the plays themselves in translation. As a result, the plays have not yet found their place on U.S. stages or in academic study. Our project hopes to acquaint more people in the United States with this writing and to use the plays as a point of departure for enriching our understanding of the current social and cultural concerns of the Russian people. Given the historic tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States, as well as the environment of misunderstanding that still permeates our country's relationship with Russia, insights we might gain about this culture from the plays seem particularly timely and necessary." Read more.
Adam Burke noted in New York Times article
Adam Nicholas Burke graduated from Towson University in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in theatre design. He now works at the Charleston, S.C.-based marketing agency Rawle Murdy Associates as social media manager. He represents several major clients including artnet.com, Carnival Cruise Lines, CARTA, Cheeseburger in Paradise, MeadWestVaco, Nickelodeon, Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., South Carolina State Port Authority and Wild Dunes Resort. Adam was mentioned in this New York Times article.
"It was during my first job interview that I discovered the true value of the education I had received from the Theatre Program at Towson University. Where others may have been sweating through their interview suits, I was eerily collected. The time I had spent pushing my boundaries in the acting courses at TU had taught me how to develop a character with a clear goal as a way to work through uncomfortable situations; I played Happily Employed and there were no obstacles that could keep him from achieving his objective of landing the perfect job. After knocking the interview out of the park and landing the job, the writing and research skills I had developed while preparing my Bachelor's Thesis have helped me successfully explain complex social media concepts to my clients. My experiences at TU working with teams of students to produce plays and outreach programs have taught me how to work collaboratively with my colleagues to accomplish tasks. Although I may not have ended up working in the theatre Industry, the most important lesson I have taken with me from Towson University's theatre program is that 'All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players.' "