College of Fine Arts News Archive

July 2016

  • SFA fine arts students gain experience through internships

    SFA fine arts students gain experience through internships

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    SFA theatre alumnus Nick Pinelli completed internships at Texas Shakespeare Festival in Kilgore and Texas Nonprofit Theatres Inc. in Fort Worth. He would later secure positions with Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and Madcap Puppet Theatre, a troupe in Cincinnati.
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    SFA senior Gary “Chip” Morris, top right, is interning at Portland Stage in Portland, Maine, this summer where he teaches at a theatre camp for children. Morris will begin another internship there in September that concludes in mid-May.
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    Daniel Miller, center, who is a 2016 graduate of SFA, performs in William Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline” during the 2014 season of the Texas Shakespeare Festival in Kilgore. Miller was an intern at the festival.
    July 21, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Internships provide valuable experience in any chosen career. But completing an internship can also be a deciding factor for a recent college graduate looking to land that big first job.

    For fine arts students majoring in various areas of art and theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University, internships often take them to big cities in far-away places and open the doors to exciting experiences.

    Many students earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the SFA School of Theatre will complete, for credit, either a year of study abroad at Rose Bruford College in London, England, or a yearlong internship with a professional regional theatre company. Some may spend a summer in an internship with a professional theatre company such as the Texas Shakespeare Festival or Portland Stage Company in Maine. Others start their careers as interns after graduation.

    “Our study-abroad partnership with Rose Bruford College fulfills the same requirement as a internship in the BFA program, but I wouldn’t characterize it as an internship,” explained Scott Shattuck, director of the School of Theatre. “Students enroll in a different course and get in-class instruction, albeit in a conservatory setting that is quite different from our approach here at SFA.”

    Theatre major Gary “Chipper” Morris of Grand Prairie is completing a summer educational internship in the Education Department of Portland Stage that runs through Aug. 18. He will begin a seasonal internship there in early September that runs through May 18. Morris is working as a teacher this summer at camps based around books such as the Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Boo series. He pieces together monologues and scenes that campers bring to life.

    “It’s really cool that I have a job that allows me to show kids how theater can be used to bring any story to life, even popular books that I was fortunate enough to read when I was a kid,” Morris said. “I really don’t think there’s anything better than seeing all these kids having an unforgettable experience while knowing I was able to help make it so.”

    In the fall and spring, Morris will be involved in Portland Stage’s public school outreach program and weekend theatrical camps for children.

    “Portland Stage also does a wonderful job of allowing its interns to get work experience in just about every department, which could be anything, ranging from lighting to costuming to stage management, etc.,” he said. “Some interns even get some acting opportunities on mainstage productions.”

    The School of Theatre has a close relationship with Kilgore’s Texas Shakespeare Festival because Shattuck and Angela Bacarisse, professor of theatre at SFA, have worked there frequently in the past. Other longstanding partnerships for BFA internships are with Dallas Children’s Theater, a professional company that produces high-quality plays for young audiences both in Dallas and on national tours, and Arizona Theatre Company, that state’s largest non-profit professional resident theatre company, which performs in both Tucson and Phoenix. SFA theatre students have also worked with Theatre Three in Dallas. SFA theatre alumna Kat Edwards completed her BFA internship at Theatre Three. She now supervises the company’s internship program as their company manager. SFA senior theatre major Taylor Dobbs of Baytown is working this summer with “The Lost Colony,” an outdoor symphonic drama produced by the Roanoke Island Historical Association at Manteo’s Waterside Theatre on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. As an undergraduate, SFA alumnus Nick Pinelli completed internships at TSF and Texas Nonprofit Theatres Inc. in Fort Worth. He would later secure positions with Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and Madcap Puppet Theatre, a troupe in Cincinnati.

    SFA also works with Porchlight Music Theatre in Chicago, AD Players in Houston, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

    Palestine senior Greg Albright’s internship with Porchlight in Chicago begins in mid-August and continues to mid-May. He will primarily be doing office work, but he will also have opportunities during the company’s mainstage season in a variety of areas, such as stage management, sound design and props.

    “The internship is all-encompassing,” he said. “It allows me to dabble in anything and everything I want to experience.”

    His transition to Chicago began with a lot of online research, identifying the company’s office space and performance venue locations, his apartment options in safe and affordable locations, and best ways to navigate the city. Because it is not a paid internship, it was critical that Albright calculate rent, food and transportation costs and other expenses far in advance so that he could budget adequately. Recent SFA graduates Mary Collie and Sarah Wisterman, along with other School of Theatre alumni, are based in Chicago and are available to advise him, Albright said.

    Internship benefits are many, the greatest of which is probably the networking opportunities, according to Shattuck.

    “Students form relationships with peers and arts professionals that allow them to develop professional networks in a very competitive field,” he said. “They also put ‘soft-skills’ such as teamwork, problem-solving and communication to the test in a way that often allows them to develop even more rapidly than they do in our production processes on campus.”

    Central Heights senior Kathleen Easterling was an intern in the costume shop at Texas Shakespeare Festival last summer and was rehired this summer, mainly as a stitcher and dresser during performances, working daily from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. with short lunch and dinner breaks.

    “By working at TSF last summer, I was able to establish a reputation for myself and be rehired this summer,” Easterling said. “I made so many connections with people all over the country last year and this year. I was able to work with highly experienced designers and learn many different techniques from my coworkers. I loved being able to meet people from all over the country and to experience different cultures.”

    Additionally, students can learn information, vocabulary and skills that they don’t get on campus because they are working with different equipment, people with different backgrounds, and different material than they were exposed to on campus, Shattuck explained.

    “We work hard to make their experience here at SFA as varied as we can, but they’ll always encounter new things in the ‘real world,’” he said.

    “Not only did I improve my craft by working with TSF, but I made so many life-long friends,” Easterling said. “The connections you make with your coworkers and the community of Kilgore are so amazing. I met so many kind and wonderful people here at TSF. I would not trade my experiences here for anything.”

    Several SFA design students in the School of Art have found internships closer to home, and some are on campus. Student graphic artists are working this summer with SFA Athletics, Campus Recreation and the College of Fine Arts. One student is interning with Tyler Today Magazine, two others recently secured internships with a Henderson sign company, and other student designers are interning at the Naranjo Museum in Lufkin.

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  • A few openings remain in Junior Jacks theatre day camp

    A few openings remain in Junior Jacks theatre day camp

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    SFA School of Theatre’s Junior Jacks day camp introduces children to theatre. This year’s camp runs Monday, Aug. 1, through Saturday, Aug. 13. Limited spaces are still available.

    July 21, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Junior Jacks Theatre Camp of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre is popular among area children entering third through ninth grades.

    So much so that the third through sixth grades category is already filled for this summer’s two-week day camp. But a few openings are available for seventh through ninth graders, according to Carolyn Conn, associate professor of theatre at SFA and the camp’s director.

    Junior Jacks was designed as a day-camp version of the highly successful High School Summer Theatre Workshop at SFA.

    “We have children representing all local and nearby schools as well as many home schoolers,” Conn said. “There are also many repeat campers. This year, five of our former Junior Jacks ‘graduates’ are attending the High School Summer Theatre Workshop at SFA. We also have one former Junior Jack/High School Workshop participant who just completed her first year as an SFA theatre major.”

    Junior Jacks is a community outreach opportunity to introduce children to theatre and allow the School of Theatre’s teacher certification students to work with students who are younger than high school age. This year’s camp is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 1, through Saturday, Aug. 13. Registration deadline is July 29.

    Junior Jacks campers play theatre games and rehearse plays that will be performed at the camp’s conclusion. The younger group meets from 9 a.m. to noon and the older group meets from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Play performances will be at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, in Room 160 in the Wright Music Building on the SFA campus.

    Registration cost is $75 per student and $50 for each additional sibling within a single family. Needs-based scholarships may be available. More information and a registration form can be found at http://www.theatre.sfasu.edu, or contact Conn at (936) 468-1031 or conncs@sfasu.edu.

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  • 12X12 silent bidding continues through Saturday

    12X12 silent bidding continues through Saturday

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    “Ali,” charcoal on paper by Gary Roberts, is among the entries in this year’s 12X12 scholarship fundraiser of the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts.

    July 12, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Only a few days are left for silent bidding on artwork for this year’s 12X12 scholarship fundraiser of the Friends of the Visual Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University.

    The silent auction features 12-by-12-inch pieces created by approximately 70 artists from Nacogdoches, Lufkin and other areas of East Texas. The art is on display in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches. Anyone may silently bid on the pieces. Bidding will continue until Saturday evening, July 16.

    At 6 p.m. that evening, pieces that have no silent auction bids (minimum $250) are available for purchase for $100. Unsold art will be awarded as raffle items, with tickets available at the event. Texas State Rep. Travis Clardy is scheduled to be the evening’s master of ceremonies and will announce the winners of the art pieces. The public is encouraged to attend this free event.

    The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information about 12X12, call The Cole Art Center at (936) 468-6557.

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  • SFA SummerStage Festival concludes this week

    SFA SummerStage Festival concludes this week

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    July 12, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The SFA SummerStage Festival closes this week with a flurry of performances of Steve Martin’s mischievous comedy “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 12, 14, 15 and 16, and “A Year with Frog and Toad” at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, and Friday, July 15, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, and 2 p.m. Thursday, July 14, and Saturday, July 16. All performances will be in W.M. Turner Auditorium. “Picasso” is recommended for mature audiences while the children’s musical “Frog and Toad” is perfect for the whole family. Call the Fine Arts Box Office at 936.468.6407 for tickets or more information. Tickets will also be available at the door 45 minutes before each performance.

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  • ‘An Evening With Levie Isaacks’ planned for Friday

    ‘An Evening With Levie Isaacks’ planned for Friday

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    July 6, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and the Nacogdoches Film Festival will host “An Evening With Levie Isaacks, A.S.C.” at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 8, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    Isaacks, a visiting cinematographer who has been working with the School of Art’s summer feature film project “Sins of the Fathers,” has worked on location and in Hollywood, California, as a cinematographer and director of photography for more than 30 years. Isaacks has also served as a panelist at the Nacogdoches Film Festival.

    Friday’s event will include a showing of Isaacks’ “The Little Rascals Save the Day.” The screening gets underway at 7 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session with Isaacks. Popcorn and other refreshments will be served.

    “The Little Rascals Save The Day” is a nostalgic look at the popular classic comedy series developed in the 1930s and ’40s, Isaacks said.

    “The series has a timeless way of entertaining audiences over multiple generations, and few have never heard of the ‘Little Rascals’ or “Our Gang,’” he said. “The stories are generally about the poor kids in the neighborhood who pick on the rich kids. It is notable that it took on a racial mixture when that was unpopular in most venues.”

    Many of the scenes in “The Little Rascals Save The Day” are reprises from early episodes, Isaacks explained.

    “Having grown up with the ‘Little Rascals’ and ‘Our Gang,’ I felt very privileged to be chosen to be the cinematographer of this full-length feature installment of the series,” he said. “So join the Rascals as they find trouble around every corner.”

    Born in Houston of deaf parents, Isaacks used sign language to say his first words. He served in the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer and as a platoon leader in Vietnam and was decorated with a Bronze Star for heroism and an Army commendation for valor.

    His cinema life began while working part-time at a local television station in Austin while attending the University of Texas. There, he was handed a newsreel camera, and his love affair with film and telling stories began, according to information at http://hollywooddp.com/bio.htm

    After graduation, he continued to work in broadcast journalism and later in commercials and documentary films in his home state of Texas. There, he was also able to garner experience as a camera operator on films shooting on location in Texas.

    When the time came to move to Los Angeles to try his hand at being a director of photography of movies and television, he got his first feature film at Roger Corman’s Concord studios in Venice, California. From that time until now, he has practiced his craft on independent films and television, the website said.

    Isaacks was nominated for a “Cable ACE” award for an episode of “Tales From The Crypt,” and his TV credits include “Dawson’s Creek” and “Malcolm In The Middle,” which won a Peabody award. His feature credits include movies for MGM, Universal and Paramount studios.

    For more information about this event, call The Cole Art Center at (936) 468-1131.

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  • ‘Picasso at the Lapin Agile’ showcases Steve Martin’s ‘distinct brand of humor’

    ‘Picasso at the Lapin Agile’ showcases Steve Martin’s ‘distinct brand of humor’

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    July 5, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Most fans of the hilariously funny Steve Martin are familiar with him as an actor, stand-up comedian and banjo player.

    Images of “a wild and crazy guy” exclaiming “Excuse me!” and performing the song “King Tut” on “Saturday Night Live” are ingrained in a generation of Martin devotees. As a film star, his roles in “The Jerk,” “The Pink Panther,” “Parenthood,” “Cheaper By the Dozen” and dozens more comedies are legendary. Musically, he’s known for his skillful banjo performances of bluegrass music.

    These credits and accolades in film and music span decades, but it is less widely known that he is also an acclaimed writer. He has published a memoir, “Born Standing Up,” and the novel, “An Object of Beauty,” and he has written numerous plays and screenplays. Martin and Edie Brickell collaborated on the musical “Bright Star,” which just closed on Broadway after a successful three-month run.

    Martin’s first full-length play, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” was initially presented as a reading in Martin’s Beverly Hills, California, home, with Tom Hanks reading the role of Pablo Picasso and Chris Sarandon reading the role of Albert Einstein. Later, the play opened at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois, and played from October 1993 to May 1994, then went on to run successfully in Los Angeles, New York City and several other U.S. cities.

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre will present “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” as part of its SummerStage Festival, with 7:30 p.m. performances July 5, 6, 7, 8 12, 14, 15 and 16.

    Reflective of Martin’s humor, “Picasso” is a “must see” for his fans, according to Inga Meier, assistant professor of theatre and director of the production.

    “I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.” – Steve Martin

    Martin has “a distinct brand of humor that is simultaneously irreverent and playful,” Meier said in describing the playwright’s writing style.

    “Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.” – Steve Martin

    The play is about an imagined meeting in 1904 between a would-be scientist called "Einstein" and an irresistible-but-unknown painter named "Picasso" in a Paris café called the Lapin Agile. Wit and whimsy fuel their talk of creativity and inspiration with the bistro's unforgettable cast of regulars until a very different kind of genius mysteriously arrives from the future.

    “Boy, those French! They have a different word for everything.” – Steve Martin

    “In ‘Picasso,’ Martin’s humor is blended with profound questions regarding feminism, war, human relationships, the nature of creativity, the relationship between art and science, and how we define ourselves in relation to the past and future,” Meier said. “These themes are as relevant now – more than 20 years after the play was written – as they were to the play's first audiences and as they were to the time in which the play is set.

    “To loosely borrow from the character of Einstein, the play is about ‘everything,’” she added. “In the play, Picasso states that his ideas touch the heart, whereas Einstein’s touch the mind. This play speaks to both.”

    “... you're nuts but you're welcome here.” – Steve Martin

    “Above all else, I want the audience to have fun,” Meier said.

    The play is recommended for mature audiences.

    General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/youth. A “pay-what-you-can” performance is July 6.

    For tickets or more information, visit theatre.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. All performances are in W.M. Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

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