Archive for the ‘News’

Award for Lysistrata

Conner wins Merit Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for her adaptation of Lysistrata

Associate professor Lynne Conner has received a Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Merit Award for “Excellent Adaptation of Old Greek Comedy.” Her original adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata premiered in November 2012 as part of Theater and Dance’s main stage season in Strider Theater.  Professor Conner wrote and directed the adaptation, which also featured the creative research of scenographer Jim Thurston, composer/sound producer Peter de Klerk, costume designer Christine Nilles and technical director John D. Ervin in collaboration with 40 Colby student actors, associate designers, assistant directors, stage managers, stage craft technicians and stage hands. Professor Conner is the author of more than 30 plays and stage adaptations, including In the Garden of Live Flowers (published by Dramatic Publishing Company), which won the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award in 2002.  Her latest work is Light of the Mind, a performance piece written in collaboration with composer Jonathan Hallstrom.  Light of the Mind will be staged in Strider Theater on February 27 as part of Colby’s 200th birthday celebration.

Colby Alum on Cover of American Theatre Magazine


Reid Farrington ’99 has a new show running in New York entitiled Reid Farrington’s A Christmas Carol.  As described in the promo, A Christmas Carol is an imaginative and ghostly new show based on one of the most ubiquitous stories of all time by one of the most famous authors in the English language. Created and directed by acclaimed theater and new media artist Reid Farrington (of The Passion Project and Gin & “It”), this exciting work takes the form of a Victorian-era phantasmagoria, conjuring up ghosts of the past, present, and future by integrating media and live theater with the well-known holiday classic.

Beyond that, we’re doubly excited for him as this piece is featured on the cover of this month’s American Theatre magazine!


Xmas with Figures of Speech

The Colby College Department of Theater and Dance presents The Long Christmas Ride Home by Pulitzer-prize winner Paula Vogel on November 10-12, 2011 at 7:30pm.

In Paula Vogel’s play, past, present and future collide on a snowy Christmas Eve for a troubled family of five. Featuring Bunraku-style puppets and live actors, the play puts an average American family on display to show how we love, hurt, and dream.

To create the puppets, the Department of Theater and Dance teamed up with Carol and John Farrell, founders of Figures of Speech Theatre, an internationally regarded puppet theater based in Freeport Maine. Vogel’s play focuses on the lives of the family’s three children, played by live actors and by student operated Bunraku-style puppets. Colby professor of Theater and Dance Todd Coulter, who is directing the play, brought in the Farrells to build the puppets and to train Colby students in the intricate art of operating them. For Colby students, this is an unusual opportunity to learn a revered form of Japanese puppetry and to expand definitions of acting and storytelling. For area audiences, the pairing of live actors with Bunraku-style puppets in The Long Christmas Ride Home is both haunting and beautiful.

The Farrells founded their theater company in the early 1980s and have performed across the country and the globe. They recently presented their work and aesthetic philosophy at a TEDxDirigo talk in Portland (Click Here to watch John and Carol). The couple view puppets as vessels; their role as puppeteers is to put egos aside in order to allow the personality of the characters they are portraying to move through them and into the puppets. It is truly a magical experience to watch them work.

Admission is free and tickets are available at the door. The play concerns adult themes and is not recommended for young children.

Accolades for ‘Passion’

Time Out New York has listed Reid Farrington’s (’99) The Passion Project as a critics pick in both the dance and theater sections.  The piece also features Shelly Kay (Wollert) (’98).

Here are the links:


T&D Presidential Scholars

The Department of Theater & Dance is proud to announce that beginning Fall 2011, we have a student Presidential Scholar working with faculty on a research project:

Theater and Dance: “Innovation and Aesthetic Change in Scenography for Contemporary Dance.”

Sponsor: James Thurston, Adjunct Associate Professor of Theater and Dance (

Colby Academic Research Assistant (CARA) for 2011-2012:  Emily Post ’15

The digital age continues to revolutionize technology used in rendering more abstract scenographic visions. This intense technological change in turn radically reshapes choreographic possibility and, ultimately, the aesthetic used in creating dance. This aesthetic change is at the core of my research. How is the collaborative relationship changing between designers, choreographers, and performers? How is process, including scenographic process, altering the way these artists conceive of new work? What scenographic potential is now in the hands of the performer?

In addition to researching the above topic, Emily will pursue creative research as an Assistant Light Designer for The Long Christmas Ride Home.

Colby at Dance Festival

Colby at ACDFA
March 9-12, 2011
Keene, NH

For the first time in many years, Colby students attended the American College Dance Festival Association Annual regional conference participating in a series of master classes, discussions, and performances representing New England’s best in college dance. Attendees this year included Assistant Professor Annie Kloppenberg, and T&D Dance focus minors Mika Mintz (‘14), Ellie McGuire (’13) and Delaney McDonough (’13). We were all especially excited to connect with Colby Alumna Heidi Henderson, who is artistic director of Elephant JANE Dance and on faculty at Connecticut College.

Here’s what the students had to say:

“ACDFA was one of the most academically influential experiences of my life. I have never been exposed to so many wonderful, passionate, and impressive people in any field. The few days were challenging, exhausting, thrilling, and most remarkably inspiring. I’m still exhausted but still processing all of this fresh knowledge. “

-Delaney McDonough (’13)

“ACDFA was a truly enlightening experience. Learning from other teachers and choreographers, as well as interacting with undergraduate students with the same passion for dance and artistic creation was inspirational, motivating, and eye-opening. I believe that this experience will benefit student work at Colby and cross collegiate collaboration in the future.”

- Ellie McGuire (’13)

Click HERE to read Ellie’s dance blog with independent study partner Logan Hunter (‘11).

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the American College Dance Festival. Never, in my fourteen years as both a dancer and a student, have I experienced something so enriching and rewarding. The feeling of being completely immersed in a world of dance left me wanting more. After viewing performances choreographed by students like myself and taking classes by a number of inspiring dancers and choreographers, I couldn’t stop creating my own movement. Whether it was in the elevator of the hotel or waiting in line for lunch, I couldn’t stop dancing.”

– Mika Mintz (’14)

Dance Master Classes 2010-2011

Beginning in September, dance faculty at Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin initiated a practice of inviting a small group of students from each institution to attend master classes with visiting artists, a practice that we look forward to continuing. This year, Colby students had the opportunity to take class with the following visiting artists:

Kyle Abraham (@ Colby)
Monica Bill Barnes (@ Bowdoin)
Kendra Portier (@ Colby)
Alli Ruszkowski (@ Colby)
Larry Keigwin (@ Bowdoin)

Coulter Wins Award

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) honored Todd Coulter, Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance, with the Excellence in Directing Award for the department’s production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.  Todd wishes to extend congratulations and thanks to everyone associated with the production.

“Float” Blog

Ellie McGuire (’13) and Logan Hunter (’11) learned the dance “Float” by Julian Barnett as part of the department’s New Works Festival.  During the process, they tracked their rehearsal process in a blog, which can be found at

Reid Farrington ’99 Returns

Reid Farrington’99 led a two-day master class at Colby on interactive digital technology and the performing arts as part of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Collaborative Faculty Enhancement Grant funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for Live Performance and Digital Media:  Expanding Creative and Pedagogical Opportunities. The classes were held Saturday, February 12 and Sunday, February 13.

“Reid Farrington is a new media artist, director and designer based in New York City. Currently, he is a resident artist at the Abrons Art Center/ Henry Street Settlement where he is running an educational program developing the video elements for his next project Dickens: The Unparalleled Necromancer, a variation on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. His directorial debut was THE PASSION PROJECT, which premiered at the PS/K2 festival in Copenhagen, Denmark in November 2007. Gin & “It” his second theater piece premiered at the Wexner Center for the Arts in March 2010. He has been an associate member of The Wooster Group since 2001, and was in residence from 2001 – 2008. He designed video and created hardware and software systems for the integration of video and sound for six of the company’s productions: To You, the Birdie!, Brace Up!, Poor Theater, House/Lights, WHO’S YOUR DADA?!, and Hamlet. He has toured internationally with his work and five of The Wooster Group’s productions. He has toured productions to Copenhagen, Moscow, Paris, Berlin, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Brussels, Athens, Vancouver, and Columbus, OH. He has held creative residencies at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, the 3LD Art & Technology Center and Abrons Art Center/ Henry Street Settlemen. His work has been funded by New York State Council on the Arts, The Greenwall Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, the Experimental Television Center, the Jerome Foundation and The Franklin Furnace Fund.”