West Virginia State University will host a year-long celebration of the art, craft and dialogue of theatre and related arts of film and television through “Essential Stages: The Donna Skeen Visiting Theatre Artists Series.” All performances, workshops and master classes are free and open to the public.
This inaugural theatre arts series will kick off on Sept. 18 and continue through April 23, 2015, featuring various artists from around the nation performing and leading discussions about how theatre works, their experiences as working artists and how communities benefit from the arts.
The series begins Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fannin S. Belcher Theatre in the Davis Fine Arts Building with “The Fula from America: An African Journey.” Written and performed by Carlyle Brown, “The Fula from America” is the story of one African-American’s search for an African identity. Brown is a writer/performer and is the artistic director of Carlyle Brown & Company based in Minneapolis.
Brown will be joined at the Visiting Theatre Artists Series by Michael Wangen, a lighting designer in the Minneapolis area who has been active for more than 30 years.
On Sept. 19, at noon, Brown will lead a workshop, “In Your Own Words … Creating Theatre.” This will be followed at 2 p.m. by a workshop, “Throwing Light on the Playwright’s Words,” led by Wangen. Both workshops will take place in the Belcher Theatre in the Davis Fine Arts Building.
On Sept. 28, at 3 p.m., Dan Shoemaker, founder of the award-winning Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, N.C., will lead a public conversation on “Building a Theatre Company from Inception to Success.” The event will take place in the Skeen Theatre in the Cole Complex.
The last three presentations of the fall season will take place Oct. 22-23 when honored thespian and theater scholar Baron Kelly will lead a lecture and master class on Shakespeare. The lecture will take place at 2 p.m. in the Skeen Theatre on Oct. 22 and will center on Shakespeare and Ira Aldridge, the 19th century African-American Shakespearean actor. The Performing Shakespeare master class will follow at 4 p.m. on Oct. 22, also in the Skeen Theatre.
Then on Oct. 23 at noon at the WVSU Capitol Center Theatre in Charleston, Kelly will do readings from his play in development about Aldridge entitled “Ira Aldridge: The African Roscius.”
The Visiting Theatre Artists Series will continue through spring 2015, and will feature workshops on Feb. 10-11, 2015, on working in Los Angeles and New York City, as well as workshops March 31-April 2, 2015, on healing through the arts. The series will conclude April 22-23, 2015, with a master class in mime and a look at the works of Charlie Chaplin.
For more information, call Susan Marrash-Minnerly at 304-766-5110 or visit www.wvstateu.edu/ArtistSeries.