Special Events & Opportunities

CONVERSATIONS


Panel Discussion Featuring Blues for an Alabama Sky playwright Pearl Cleage

Sunday, April 28 at 4 PM | Robinson Choir Room

Playwright Pearl Cleage joins Africana Studies department chair, Dr. Julia Jordan-Zachary, and student dramaturg, Alex Gomez, for a lively discussion about the themes, ideas and politics of Blues for an Alabama Sky. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to learn more about Ms. Cleage’s writing process and her work as an activist probing issues of race, sex and love in the lives of brave black women.

Pearl Cleage is an accomplished playwright, journalist, poet, and novelist. Since the early 1980s, Cleage has drawn national attention with her dramatic works, which include Flyin’ West, an extraordinary play about pioneer black women at the turn of the century, and Blues for an Alabama Sky. Her first novel What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, was an Oprah’s Book Club selection, a New York Times bestseller, and a BCALA Literary Award winner. She is also the author of I Wish I Had a Red DressMad at Miles, and Deals with the Devil. A contributing editor to Essence magazine, Pearl Cleage frequently performs her work on college campuses. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Zaron W. Burnett, Jr.

Dr. Julia Jordan-Zachary’s scholarship focuses on critical policy analysis dealing with race, gender, and sexuality. Her first book Black Women, Cultural Images and Social Policy (Routledge 2009) examines the racial and gendered processes of policy making; how these affect the imageries, public attitudes, and discursive references about black womanhood; and the impacts of these on the lives of African American women. She is also the author of Shadow Bodies: Black Women, Ideology, Representation, and Politics (Rutgers University Press, 2017), a book that explores the political and cultural representations of the Black woman’s body and the implications for effective Black women’s political organizing. In addition to these two important books, she has co-edited three books and published several peer-reviewed articles, all exploring the intersectionalities of race, gender, citizenship, and social policy.

“Black Womanhood and the Harlem Renaissance” by Dr. Janaka Lewis

Pre-show Talk and Dessert 

Friday, April 26, 2019 at 6 PM | Robinson Choir Room

Drawing from the representation of women in Blues for an Alabama Sky, this talk will examine themes from both contemporary texts written on the Harlem Renaissance and those by women writers during the period on Black women’s physical and social mobility.  Dr. Lewis discusses social regulations on Black women’s bodies from both within and from outside their own communities and addresses ways in which they navigate expectations of “respectable” womanhood. Finally, she moves toward understanding Black women’s agency and visibility within mainstream movements for women’s rights.

Post-show Audience Conversation facilitated by Assistant Professor Chris Berry

Thursday, April 25 at 9:30 PM | Black Box Theater

Share your thoughts and questions about Blues for an Alabama Sky with other members of the audience and the show’s cast and crew.

"August Wilson's Pittsburgh": Post-show Conversation with Wali Jamal

Facilitated by Lynne Conner (after the performance of How I Learned What I Learned)

Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 9 PM | Black Box Theater

Wali Jamal is a Pittsburgh-based performer and playwright, and one of very few actors to have performed in all 10 of August Wilson’s American Century cycle plays AND Wilson’s one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. Wali is a Pittsburgh native and mentee of Wilson who is actively involved in productions that interpret Pittsburgh’s rich African American culture and history.  Theatre department chair Lynne Conner, also a Pittsburgh native, will share insights into Wilson’s work from her book, Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater (University of Pittsburgh Press).

Forgiving and Forgetting: Shakespeare and Power by Peter Holland

Pre-show Talk and Dessert

Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 6 PM | Robinson 145 

Distinguished Shakespeare scholar Peter Holland shares his recent research into Shakespeare and memory.

Peter Holland is McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre at Notre Dame University. Prior positions include the Judith E. Wilson Reader in Drama and Theatre at the University of Cambridge (1996-1997) and Director of the Shakespeare Institute and Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham (1997-2002). His first book, The Ornament of Action, was a study of Restoration comedy in performance. Subsequent work has concentrated on Shakespeare in performance and on editing Shakespeare’s plays. He is editor of Shakespeare Survey, general editor with Stanley Wells of the Oxford Shakespeare Topics series, associate general editor of the Oxford Drama Library, and series editor of Redefining British Theatre History. His article on ‘"William Shakespeare" is the longest entry in the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Other interests include David Garrick, recent British drama, performance theory, and English pantomimes.

Words, Words, Words! Why Do We Still Perform Shakespeare?

Post-Show Panel Discussion with Shakespeare scholar Dr. Kirk Melnikoff, actor/scholar Jessica Boyles, actor and stage voice professor Christopher Berry, and student dramaturg Hessie Sanders

Saturday, October 27, 2018 | Black Box Theater | Following performance of Twelfth Night

Shakespeare’s plays are hard, “wordy” (code for boring), and old. So why do we still produce and perform them? Join us for a post-show panel discussion with UNCC students and professors and Charlotte area theatre professionals to hear why they think Shakespeare performance is valuable and rewarding for theatre artists, scholars and audiences.

  • Jessica Boyles, MLitt Candidate at Mary Baldwin University
  • Kirk Melnikoff, PhD, Professor of English at UNCC
  • Christopher Berry, MFA, Assistant Professor of Stage Voice at UNCC
  • Hessie Sanders, UNCC Department of Theatre Major

Coffee Chat with HAMILTON Stage Manager Amber Johnson

Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 10 AM | Robinson Hall Front Lobby

Join Amber Johnson for a conversation about what it’s like to Stage Manage the national touring company for HAMILTON. Amber Johnson holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Oklahoma, and was Chicago-based Company and Stage Manager for a number of companies including Court, Next, Lookingglass and Chicago Shakespeare Theatres. She toured as an ASM on the second national tour of MOTOWN, THE MUSICAL, and in the Chicago production of HAMILTON, before working on the first national tour of HAMILTON that is currently stopping in Charlotte. She is a member of AEA.

Post-show Conversation with Dramaturgs Dr. Jennifer Pierce and Marissa Rivera

Saturday, September 14, 2018 at 9 PM | Black Box Theater | CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER EMERGENCY

​Post-show Conversation with actors Kaja Dunn and Carlos Cruz on role preparation and research using culturally competent techniques

Friday, September 13, 2018 at 9 PM | Black Box Theater | CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER EMERGENCY

Post-show Conversation with Playwright Caridad Svich

Thursday, September 12, 2018 at 9 PM | Black Box Theater | CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER EMERGENCY

Caridad Svich has written more than 40 full-length plays, a variety of short works, and 15 translations. She received the 2018 Ellen Steward Award for Career Achievement in Theatre (from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education), a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and the National New Play Network rolling world premiere for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the Isabel Allende novel. She has won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice and has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times. Her works in English and Spanish have been seen at venues across the US and abroad.

WORKSHOPS & MASTER CLASSES


Master Class on the Artistic Integration of LED's Into Clothing, Costumes, Props and Accessories led by Janet Hansen

Friday, April 5, 2019 at 1 PM | Robinson 205

This Master Class led by designer Janet Hansen introduces students to innovative methods for integrating LED lighting effects into a range of theatrical and fashion contexts, from costumes and props to couture and accessories.

Sign-up is limited. Notification about how to sign up will be sent out in January. Observers are welcome to attend (without signing up).

Janet Hansen specializes in the artistic integration of LEDs and other electronic lighting into clothing, costumes, props, and accessories. She is the founder of Enlighted Designs, Inc. (enlighted.com), based in Encinitas, California, and has been creating custom illuminated clothing for more than twenty years.  Her designs are worn by a wide variety of professional entertainers, including dancers, musicians, actors, team mascots, and theme park performers. Recent clients include the Radio City Rockettes and the latest revival of Cats on Broadway. Janet's work combines her interests in fashion, art, and technology, as well as her formal training in engineering. A former rocket scientist, Janetholds a B.S. in General Engineering from Harvey Mudd College, and a Ph.D. in Biomechanical Engineering from UC San Diego.

National Theatre Institute (NTI) Information Session and Acting Workshop

Friday, March 29, 2019 at 1 PM | Rowe 163 

1 PM  | Information Session on NTI programs presented by Carrigan O’Brian, Program Representative & Teaching Artist

1:30 PM | Workshop: Gameplay: The First Rehearsal led by Carrigan O’Brian, Program Representative & Teaching Artist

About The National Theatre Institute

With a singular schedule and an unmatched breadth of training, the National Theater Institute’s six semester-long programs offer students a springboard to the professional world at the two-time tony award-winning Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Founded in 1970, NTI’s credit-earning theater intensives—taught by industry professionals and master teachers—train actors, singers, directors, dancers, designers, playwrights and composers.

About Gameplay: The First Rehearsal

Have you ever played theatre games in class, and wondered: “why in the world are we doing this”? “what does this have to do with theatre”? This workshop introduces students to training exercises used by the world-renowned london-based theater company, complicite. Through a series of advanced exercises, students are lead to observe human behavior under heightened circumstances, develop listening skills, and how to apply playfulness to acting. Through focused and committed play, the relationship between these exercises and electrifyingly exciting theater is deepened and advanced.

"Acting through Song" Workshop led by Broadway star Cassondra James

Friday, February 1, 2019 at 4 PM | Rowe Recital Hall

Information on how to sign up for the workshop will be sent out in January 2019.

In this workshop, Cassondra James will discuss 'truth', the art of 'joyous communication', and how these intersect in song interpretation and performance. Students are encouraged to bring printed sheet music and lyrics to workshop with the class. Though the workshop will focus on music, it is open to all - from non-singers to studied and professional singers. 

Sign-up is limited to 15 students. Notification about how to sign up will be sent out in January. Observers are welcome to sit in the house seats (without signing up).

Cassondra has traveled the world singing and workshop leading. She has toured with the grammy-award winning artist Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, and has performed with a wide range of artists like Christina Aguilera, Kim Burrell, Tituss Burgess, The original ladies of Chic, Laura Izibor, Alicia Keys, Gladys Knight, LaChanze, and Wynton Marsalis. When she is not traveling, you can hear her performing jazz, funk, the blues, r&b, gospel, and even classical music in venues around the New York metropolitan area. She is currently a Storyteller and flutist in the Tony Award-winning revival of Once on This Island. In addition to her musical accomplishments, Cassondra earned her B.A. in sociology from Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY) . She has since earned a Master's degree in theological studies from Drew University, and is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she is conducting research on stand-up comedy.

Authentic Performance Acting Workshop led by Jennifer Pierce, Ph.D.

Friday, November 9, 2018 at 2:30 PM | Rowe 163

What makes a performance seem “real”? How can I connect with a scene partner? How do I make the audience buy into my performance?

In her Authentic Performance workshops, Dr. Jennifer Pierce takes studies about how the brain works and applies it to acting, giving you simple, practical techniques for creating authentic performances and connecting with your scene partners. Please come in loose comfortable clothing that you can move in. If you have a memorized monologue or scene ready, you may get a chance to work with it. 

Shakespeare Masterclass presented by Rodney Cottier, Head of the London Academy of Dramatic Art Drama School

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 12:15 PM | Rowe 163

Sign up on the Robinson Hall Call Board (across from Room 128) or by emailing Lynne Conner  at lconner2@uncc.edu.

Rodney Cottier is the Head of Drama School at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art – the world’s oldest drama conservatory. Rodney has thirty-five years experience as a stage director and teacher of stage combat, acting and text at LAMDA, were he has directed twenty-five plays from Shakespeare’s canon. As a fight director, Rodney has worked at Shakespeare’s Globe as Master-of-Fight, choreographing several productions including Mark Rylance’s Hamlet. His Shakespeare Masterclass is interactive, stimulating, and a great deal of fun!  Special focus will be given to the “Bloody Rag” Speech in HENRY VI. The lecture is free of charge, runs 2 hours, and is geared to all levels of experience, with something in it for everyone – from those just starting out to old pros.  All are welcome, and the more who attend, the merrier.  No special preparation is required, but if they can, participants should please bring copies of Shakespeare’s complete works, any edition. 

Playwriting Workshop led by Caridad Svich

Friday, September 28, 2018 at 2:15 PM | Robinson 205

A playwriting workshop with OBIE winner Caridad Svich on the art of awakened dreaming, articulating vision, and finding story. In-class writing will occur in this workshop. 

Caridad Svich has written more than 40 full-length plays, a variety of short works, and 15 translations. She received the 2018 Ellen Steward Award for Career Achievement in Theatre (from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education), a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and the National New Play Network rolling world premiere for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the Isabel Allende novel. She won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice and has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times. Her works in English and Spanish have been seen at venues across the US and abroad.

CAREER DEVELOPMENT 


Coffee Chat with Theatre and Film Actor Don Castro (class of 2000)

Friday, March 15 at 1 PM | Robinson 205

Don Castro is the 2019 Department of Theatre Distinguished Alumni awardee. Mr. Castro holds an MFA in acting from the University of Florida. His credits include diverse roles spanning theatre, film, and television. He has performed on stage in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, Florida, California, and Missouri. Don has also performed internationally in Athens and Spetses, Greece. Films featuring his work have screened in festivals in cities worldwide, such as Seoul (Korea), Mumbai and Bangalore (India), Christchurch (New Zealand), Bangkok (Thailand), Cannes (France), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York City. Don also has extensive experience in industrials, commercials, voice-overs, and commercial print. He is a member of Actors Equity Association (AEA), the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

Coffee Chat with Broadway Performer Cassondra Lewis

Friday, February 1 at 1 PM | Robinson 205

Don't miss this opportunity to talk to Cassondra Lewis about her career on and off Broadway! Cassondra has toured with the Grammy-award winning artist Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, and has performed with a wide range of artists like Christina Aguilera, Kim Burrell, Tituss Burgess, The original ladies of Chic, Laura Izibor, Alicia Keys, Gladys Knight, LaChanze, and Wynton Marsalis. When she is not traveling, you can hear her performing jazz, funk, the blues, r&b, gospel, and even classical music in venues around the New York metropolitan area. She is currently a Storyteller and flutist in the Tony Award-winning revival of Once on This Island.

Pizza Lunch with Actor Wali Jamal

Friday, January 18, 2019 at 12:30 PM | Robinson 205

Don't miss this opportunity to talk to Wali Jamal about his work as a professional actor and how to build a career in theatre. Wali is a Pittsburgh-based performer and playwright, and one of very few actors to have performed in all 10 of August Wilson’s American Century cycle plays AND Wilson’s one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned.

College of Arts + Architecture Networking Fair

Thursday, November 8, 2018 | 11 - 1 PM | Storrs Gallery

This event will include arts and design professionals who work in all five disciplines of the COA+A including Art, Music, Dance, Theatre, and Architecture. Students will have a valuable opportunity to mingle with these professionals and learn more about programs within these organizations where they can get more involved through volunteering, internships, part-time or full-time employment. A few of participating organizations include the Arts and Science Council, Charlotte Ballet, Little Diversified, McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Opera Carolina, and many more!

Pizza Lunch with Obie-Award winning Playwright Caridad Svich

Friday, September 28, 2018 at 12:30 PM | Robinson 109

Don't miss this opportunity to talk to Cardidad Svich about her work and how to build a career in theatre. Caridad has written more than 40 full-length plays, a variety of short works, and 15 translations. She received the 2018 Ellen Steward Award for Career Achievement in Theatre (from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education), a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize. She won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice and has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times. She is also a UNCC Theatre alum and winner of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award!

Showcases & Portfolio Forums


Senior Capstone Performance Showcase

Tuesday, May 7 at 7 PM | Center City Building

Spring is UNCC Theatre Department Showcase time! The Showcase is a culminating project for students following our Performance Concentration track. In traditional showcase structure, local talent agents and casting directors are invited to attend in order to scout our actors as they perform scenes and pieces developed in the audition workshop course. This culminating experience exposes Theatre majors and minors to opportunities for employment in the acting field.

Design Portfolio Forum

Tuesday, May 7 at 6 PM | Center City Building

Spring is UNCC Theatre Department Portfolio Forum time! The Portfolio Forum is a culminating project for students following our Design/Tech Concentration track. Design students will present poster presentations of their design work at UNCC and engage in conversation with visitors. This culminating experience exposes Theatre majors to opportunities for employment in the performance design fields.

Theatre Shorts: Scenes, Monologues and Dramatic Storytelling (an Atkins Out Loud Special Event)

Tuesday, April 2 at 5 PM | J. Murray Atkins Library, Halton Reading Room 

The Department of Theatre will present students and faculty members in performances of short works and excerpts from a range of theatrical genres and eras. 

Department of Theatre Portfolio Review

Friday, December 7, 2018 | 2 - 5 PM | Robinson 205

Any student who is interested in designing, assistant designing, or holding a major production role for a department production must attend in order to be considered.  All students currently enrolled in a section of THEA 4610, or wishing to receive credit next spring, must present a portfolio. In addition, any student who is interested in trying to develop a design or technical portfolio is highly encouraged to attend in order to observe, ask questions, and gain valuable insight into what makes a successful theatre portfolio. Faculty and Students are welcome to observe.

FIELD TRIPS 


Student Trip to the Humana Festival of New American Plays

March 22-25, 2019 | Louisville, KY

Theatre majors will travel to Louisville, Kentucky for the annual Humana Festival of New American Plays College Weekend event. Students will attend 4-5 performances and participate in workshops and lectures.

Sign-up is limited and students must apply for a slot. Notification about how to sign up will be sent out in January.

Student Trip to the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC)

February 28 - March 2, 2019 | Knoxville, TN

Theatre majors will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee for the annual Southeastern Theatre Conference in order to participate in a wide array of workshops, lectures, performances and informational sessions on graduate programs in theatre.

Sign-up is limited and students must apply for a slot. Notification about how to sign up will be sent out in January.

Student Trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region IV

February 4-9, 2019 | Spartanburg, SC

Four Theatre majors will compete in the Irene Ryan Scholarship Auditions at the KCACTF event this year! Students will travel to Spartanburg, South Carolina for the Irene Ryan competition and stay to participate in a wide array of workshops, lectures, and performances.

​THEATRE PASSPORT FREE TICKETS SERIES


The PASSPORT Free Ticket Series offers UNC Charlotte Theatre majors the opportunity to attend a variety of professional theatre productions in Charlotte. Each semester we purchase tickets to wide variety of performances including plays, musicals, opera, children’s theater, and interdisciplinary/devised work. At the end of the semester participating students share their opinions about the shows with faculty and student colleagues.

ALUMNI AWARD CEREMONY


College of Arts + Architecture Distinguished Alumni Awards

Friday, March 15 at 11 AM | Anne R. Belk Theater

The 2019 Department of Theatre Distinguished Alumni awardee is Don Castro, Theatre class of 2000!

Mr. Castro holds an MFA in acting from the University of Florida. His credits include diverse roles spanning theatre, film, and television. He has performed on stage in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, Florida, California, and Missouri. Don has also performed internationally in Athens and Spetses, Greece. Films featuring his work have screened in festivals in cities worldwide, such as Seoul (Korea), Mumbai and Bangalore (India), Christchurch (New Zealand), Bangkok (Thailand), Cannes (France), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York City. Don also has extensive experience in industrials, commercials, voice-overs, and commercial print. He is a member of Actors Equity Association (AEA), the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).  

CELEBRATIONS


May Grads Celebration and End-of-Year Party

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 6 PM | Black Box Theater

December Grads Celebration and Winter Holiday Party

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 6:30 PM | Black Box Theater

It’s time to party! Theatre students and faculty gather to celebrate the end of the semester and to honor our graduating seniors with special commendations (delivered by the faculty), dinner, dancing, and performances.

SPECIAL PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES


UNC Charlotte Commedia Players

Under the artistic leadership of Assistant Professor of Physical Theatre, Carlos Cruz, Theater majors have the opportunity to audition for this special traveling performance company appearing each fall at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. Over the course of eight weekend, our student commedia troupe performs for thousands of visitors to the festival. For more information on auditioning for the UNC Charlotte Commedia Players, please contact Professor Cruz at CarlosCruz@uncc.edu.