The College Collaboration is off to a very exciting 2018. Jan Rosenberg’s play will have its first production at Birmingham Southern College starting January 25th. Jan and I will go out to see the play. I’m always thrilled to see the production and to know where the college brought the production to. The student’s commitment is always strong. However, most exciting is that this production is helmed by our first student director. From all reports it seems like it is going well.
The play is about body image and many issues that come along with that. Some deadly. Some ingrained in our societal day to day life. I really appreciated hearing the students’ experience when the two schools, Birmingham Southern and West Chester, were in NYC this summer.
The week prior Howard Community College’s production of Morgan McGuire’s play IN THE COTTON will be presented as part of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival – Region II at Indiana University, in Indiana, PA. That play is a cultivation of the development of the three productions at Carroll, Prince George, and Howard Community Colleges in Maryland. I am very excited to present the work at KCACTF because it will showcase the work and voice of the students for students around the entire region. A primary goal of the development of the plays with the schools is to have a long conversation about the theme of the play. In this case it is a conversation about race that is immediate and pressing in our society. I’m impressed with the script’s ability to capture all sides of the discussion – and each time I see one of the schools’ production I’m impressed by how much ownership the students have over their characters’ point of view and the topic as a whole. I’m excited to include all of the schools and students from the region into the conversation.
We will be announcing two new playwrights that have been commissioned for the 2018/19 academic year. Those conversations with the schools will begin in early February. Five schools are participating in the two projects this year. I’m excited to get the ball rolling.
I was reminded yesterday that infusing the academic world with a collaboration of professionalism heightens the experience for the student. It doesn’t make it better or worse. But it does heighten the awareness that the work matters. It will have a life well after the production. Their input will matter – and the conversation they started through the development of their play will continue with people and communities they haven’t even imagined as of yet. I feel that responsibility in the work and commitment from the students. It excites me that we will have four writers, five productions presented in 2018 – with four more to come in 2019. There’s a lot of conversation happening in 2018!
Talk with you soon.