For the first time, theatre faculty and students from the University of the District of Columbia, American University, Howard University, Catholic University, George Washington University and Georgetown University unite to create new theatre. Share what these diverse students and their faculty mentors have discovered while working to build community and make theatre across perceived boundaries of race, class, gender and geography. What awaits this next generation as they step up to the plate? Experience a dynamic theatrical window into the future.
What: DC University Theatre Collective: NextUS at the Atlas Intersections Festival
When: Thursday February 28, 2013 @ 7:00PM
Cost: $5 General/Student/Senior. Click here to purchase tickets.
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002.
I had a chance to speak with UDC's Assistant Professor, Lennie Smith, about his experience. Please enjoy!
LENNIE SMITH: The opportunity to collaborate with local theatre faculty colleagues was what excited me the most doing this project. Unfortunately, we all are so busy in our little worlds creating great theatre for our university communities that we seldom get the opportunity to connect with each other as artist. This project expanded our horizon as local university theatre artist who all have common goals for our students and the local DC community.
JL: Can you talk a bit about the rehearsal process? What was it like to work with professors and students from other universities?
LS: We all agreed that the best way to do the rehearsal process is to partner up with another professor and take turn leading a rehearsal. This process was very enlightening and empowering for the students and the faculty, because we all got the opportunity to learn from each other and the students was able to work with the different styles of the professors.
JL: Can you tell us about your role?
LS: My role was to lead some of the rehearsals with another professor. I also was able to contribute more with the style and form of the pieces, because of my expertise in applied theatre. However, we all had something unique to contribute.
JL: What did you learn from this experience? If you were to do this over again, what would you do differently?
LS: First, I learned that our future is in good hands with our young artists. The students came in with so much creativity and a willingness to explore that it made our job easy. I really wouldn’t change too much because it is a process and as artist we have to remember that sometimes the work will take care of itself.
JL: Why should audiences come see DC University Theatre Collective NextUS?
LS: What do you think they will learn from this performance? I believe that the audience will be inspired by the synergy of the students. Remember, the students met for the first time during this process. When the audience experience what they were able to create about their perception of how they see themselves in the world they will be inspired and empowered.
Lennie Smith is a professor in the theatre program at the University of the District of Columbia, where he teaches a variety of courses in applied theatre, creativity, and drama. He is one of the most effective drama-based trainers in the field. His interactive approach to training is an empowering source that has empowered and entertained people all over the United States. A well-known director, playwright, lecturer, and workshop leader, he is also a RDT/BCT (Registered Drama Therapist/Board Certified Trainer).
Now in its fourth year, this unique all-arts festival brings together more than 100 performing groups over twelve days to offer music, theatre, dance, film and spoken word that captures a kaleidoscope of perspectives on our ever-evolving community and world. All five of our performances spaces will be alive with world premieres and innovative collaborations among artists of all ages, races, cultures and art forms.
From Family Saturdays featuring performances and events for children to late-night parties and jazz jam sessions, INTERSECTIONS seeks to connect the broadest possible audience with the most exciting new ways of making community-inspiring art. We invite you to join us -- to be delighted, energized and maybe just a little transformed.
--Mary Hall Surface, Festival Artistic Director