SCENE PARTNERS: Guest Artists and Scholars

Students in Theatre benefit from a steady stream of visiting artists and scholars. Each year, guest artists, researchers, and master teachers spend days—even weeks—giving our students further opportunities to work with theatre professionals.

Stage directors and designers in residence bring their unique perspectives to University Theatre productions. Master teachers of acting, directing, voice, and movement complement and expand our theatre practice curriculum while visiting scholars enrich our courses in dramatic literature, theory, and theatre history.

The Visiting Artists & Scholars Program is also an important source for international education at the University of Kansas. Guests to the program include visitors from the United Kingdom, Greece, Lithuania, Republic of Kosovo, China, and Israel.

Since 2000, visitors to the have included such international artists as Chen Shi-Zheng and Lei Guo-Hua, leading figures in Chinese Theatre; Romas Viksraitis, Artistic Director of Elfu Teatras in Lithuania, and Ireland's Mangiare Theatre Company.

American guest artists offering performances and workshops for our program have included the stage and film actor Andre DeShields; Bill Talen, known as "Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping"; prize-winning director Tazwell Thompson, and director/scholar Henry Miller.

KU Theatre is fortunate to have the support of its alumni who regularly return to campus to work with current students. Among our recent SCENE PARTNERS are playwright and director Neil LaBute, author of The Shape of Things and Reasons To Be Pretty; the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor and singer Mandy Patinkin; the Tony Award-nominated lyricist and playwright Bill Russell (who has visited to direct his musicals Pageant and Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens), and James Still, nationally acclaimed playwright and director.

Another special guest is Terre Jones, former President and CEO of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Reston, VA, who visited to work with students interested in arts administration.

From the academic world, a number of leading scholars have visited our department to share their insights with our students, including Marvin Carlson from The City University of New York, Joseph Roach from Yale University, Rhonda Blair (SMU); Brian Herrera (Princeton) and Eli Simon, from the University of California, Irvine.

Other visits have included a David Crystal, British linguist, academic and author and an expert on the evolution of the English language. Crystal visited in fall of 2010 to work with actors in the University Theatre production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. 

Funding for guests of the SCENE PARTNERS program is provided by a number of sources including the Julie Stough Lecture Fund and LeWan Alexander Spiritship Fund, in addition to partnerships with other units and programs at the University of Kansas, including the Hall Center for the HumanitiesDepartment of English, the Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship, and the Freeman Fund through the Center for East Asian Studies.


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