Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scarlet and Gray Theatre Named in New York

The Ohio State University has announced that the Scarlet & Gray Theatre is the name of the theatre being constructed in New York City to house performances of the UK’s Royal Shakespeare Company during its unprecedented six-week residency in summer 2011. The name was unveiled May 12 -- at an event at the university residence, welcoming visitors from the RSC to town -- by President Gordon Gee; RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd and the Arts Initiative's Karen Bell (above). Ohio State is joining with Lincoln Center Festival and Park Avenue Armory to bring the renowned theatre company to New York for the Lincoln Center Festival. As part of the collaboration, the university was given naming rights for the theatre – a thrust-stage auditorium that brings actors and audiences closer together. The theatre is a full-scale replica of the award-winning Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The sponsorship opportunity for the university was created when the Wexner Family made a generous gift to the Royal Shakespeare Company America to support the RSC’s 2011 visit to the US. The family requested any credit or visibility resulting from their charitable contribution be assigned to the university.

Guests at the event enjoyed a short vignette performed by RSC actors, including Howard Ward (above) and Akiya Henry (middle photo).

Notable News

Six actors, two directors and leaders from the Royal Shakespeare Company were in town last week to celebrate the growing partnership between two world-renowned institutions -- OSU and RSC. While in the community, the actors presented a short "Shakespeare in a Suitcase" program at the downtown Columbus Metropolitan Club, at a luncheon attended by nearly 200 business, community and university leaders. The troupe presented a 20-minute vignette of Henry V, in a program that drew in the audience, which included Lady Susie Sainsbury, chairwoman of Royal Shakespeare Company America, and Abigail Wexner.

Following lunch Karen Bell, associate vice president for arts outreach, moderated a discussion that included Jacqui O'Hanlon, RSC director of education, and Michael Boyd, artistic director. They talked about the partnership and Stand Up for Shakespeare America, an educational leadership program that involves local schoolteachers in the Columbus area.

Later that day, the RSC actors presented a vignette of Much Ado About Nothing for about 200 OSU students, faculty, staff and local teachers at OSU's Drake Performance and Event Center. They presented the program on a stage that worked just fine -- though it was actually built for the premiere of Three Sisters that same day.

Bell, O'Hanlon and Boyd had a discussion with the audience and fielded questions from the campus community about the partnership and educational leadership program. All photos above by Kevin Fitzsimons, Photo Services.

Nineteen local schoolteachers (above) -- from Metro High School, Columbus City Schools and Reynoldsburg City Schools -- were also on campus last week to work with the RSC guests, particularly education practitioners Ginny Grainger and Rachel Gartside. The teachers have been involved with the program for one year, traveling last summer to Stratford-upon-Avon and working with OSU faculty throughout the academic year. Their efforts based on the program are making an impact with students in their classrooms. Last Thursday, the teachers had the chance to explore more Stand Up for Shakespeare activities. A few MFA acting students joined the session at the Arts Initiative office (below). Ten MFA actors from Ohio State will be involved in the RSC program starting this summer.

Upcoming Arts in the Alley Events

Couchfire Collective presents ABX, a two-venue show May 28-29 in Arts in the Alley at South Campus Gateway. The show, which focuses on Visual Rhythms, features artworks by 14 local independent artists in the Ohio Art League Gallery (1552 N High St) and the Arts Initiative gallery (1568 N High St). Opening reception is Fri, May 28, 6-9 pm, with music by special guest DJ Moxy. The exhibition was organized by Juan Cerrera and curated by Stephanie Rond.

Save the Date! Thursday, June 3, marks the opening reception for The Ladies of Ohio: Digital Divas, a photo exhibition of Ohio's female illusionists by John Sherman Lathram III in the Arts Initiative gallery, 1568 N High St in the South Campus Gateway complex. The show features large-scale photographs from the artist's upcoming book by the same name. Best of all, a DJ will provide music and some of the ladies from the book will perform at the 6-9 pm opening reception.

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