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Drama students travel to Beijing to collaborate on cross-cultural production of ‘King Lear’
Drama students travel to Beijing to collaborate on cross-cultural production of ‘King Lear’ September 17, 2008Erica Blustesblust@syr.edu
Six seniors in the Department of Drama in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) will have the opportunity to showcase their acting skills in China when they travel to Beijing on Saturday, Sept. 20, to spend a month rehearsing and performing a production of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” at Peking University’s (PKU) Institute of World Theatre and Film.
The students-accompanied by Craig MacDonald, associate professor of drama-will work with Joseph Graves, artistic director at the institute, who will direct the production. The students will perform “King Lear” with PKU students as well as professional actors from China, England and the United States during the first National Chinese Shakespeare Festival in Beijing, which will be held in October.
Graves recently spent a week in Syracuse rehearsing with the SU students, who were auditioned and cast by MacDonald and fellow drama faculty members Malcolm Ingram and Elizabeth Ingram. The students cast include drama majors Allison Calhoun, Chris Dall’au, Graham Douglass, Stella Heath and David Snyder, along with Kaitlin Dale, a musical theater major.
“I am extremely excited to have the students from SU joining the PKU acting students as a part of the first National Chinese Shakespeare Festival,” says Graves. “The dual mix of American and Chinese theater students and a contingent of professional actors for our production of ‘King Lear’ is a first-of-its-kind adventure, and after spending a week in Syracuse working with the students and Craig MacDonald, I could not be happier with their commitment and dedication to the project. I feel confident this production will prove the very best kind of artistic, cultural and educational exchange and interchange.”
The opportunity to work with Graves and PKU stemmed from Graves’ friendship with Timothy Bond, producing artistic director of the Department of Drama and Syracuse Stage. Bond served as a visiting artist at PKU while in his previous position as associate artistic director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. To learn more about the institute, visit http://beijingrep.com.
VPA is the creative center of Syracuse University. The college comprises five areas: the School of Art and Design; the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies; the Department of Drama; the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music; and the Department of Transmedia. Together, students, faculty and staff play a vital role in the academic and cultural life of the University and Syracuse communities. Learn more about the college at http://vpa.syr.edu.