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Hollins University
Graduate Center
PO Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
(540) 362-6575
(540) 362-6288 (Fax)

Summer 2014 Events

(open to the public)

Playwright's Lab at Hollins in collaboration with the Mill Mountain Theatre will offer a guest speakers series. All the talks are free and open to the public, hosted on the Waldron Stage of Mill Mountain Theatre, 20 Church Avenue, S.E., downtown Roanoke. (http://www.millmountain.org).

Bob Moss
June 30, 7:30 p.m.

Robert Moss ran the Edward Albee Playwrights' Unit from 1970-71. He founded and ran Playwrights Horizons from 1971 to l981. He was the Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York from 1983 to 1996. In the Fall of 1996, he became the Artistic Director of Syracuse Stage, and ran that theater until January 2008. In the summer of 2008, Moss took the reins of the Hangar again, as they searched for another new Artistic Director. He ran the Playwrights Horizons Theatre School (an affiliate school of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts for more than ten years. He has guest directed at theatres across the country. Favorite playwrights include, but not limited to, Michele Lowe, Wendy Wasserstein, Max Posner, David Hare, Tom Stoppard, and the Mssrs: Shakespeare and Shaw. Prior to all this directing and running of theaters, he was an active stage manager, a career that culminated with the APA Repertory Company in residence at the Lyceum Theater on Broadway.

Jim Stark
July 7, 7:30 p.m.

Jim's first involvement with film came when he helped Jim Jarmusch finance, produce and sell the low budget independent hit Stranger Than Paradise (winner of the Camera D'Or in Cannes and the U.S. National Society of Film Critics' award as Best Picture of the year). He went on to work on three more feature films for Jim Jarmusch [Down by Law (co-producer), Mystery Train (producer), Night on Earth (executive producer)], as well as producing two short Coffee and Cigarettes films. Jim’s other producing credits include such critically acclaimed and prize winning films as Alex Rockwell's In the Soup (winner of the Grand Prize, Sundance Film Festival), Gregg Araki's The Living End, Christopher Munch's Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day (winner of the Best Cinematography Prize, Sundance Film Festival), Adrienne Shelly’s I'll Take You There (Best Director, U.S. Comedy Arts Festival), Sergei Bodrov’s The Quickie (Best Actor, Moscow Film Festival) and Kevin Asher Green's Homework (Best Picture, Slamdance Film Festival) and Vladan Nikolic’s thriller "love" which had its premiere in the Venice Film Festival. In 2008, he co-produced Country Wedding, the first film directed by internationally renowned editor Valdis Oskarsdottir which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, in 2009 he co-produced Here & There, a first feature by Serbian director Darko Lungalov that (among many other prizes) won the award for Best Narrative NY Feature Film at the Tribeca Film Festval and in 2010 he was one of the producers of Vladan Nikolic’s multi-platform "experiment" Zenith, which premiered in New York’s IFC Cinemas in October, 2010. In addition to his producing activities, Jim co-wrote and produced Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's Cold Fever (which won the top prizes at the Edinburgh and Troia Film Festivals) and Factocum, which he adapted as co-screenwriter with director Bent Hamer from the Charles Bukowski novel (international premiere: Directors Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival). In 2010, Jim executive produced Gerard Hurley’s film The Pier (financed by the Irish Film Board and now in post-production) and is developing the script The Package for a new film to be directed by Vladan Nikolic in 2011.

Dominic Taylor
July 14, 7:30 p.m.

Dominic is a director, playwright and the head of Penumbra's OKRA New Play Development Program. Most recently, Mr. Taylor directed Black Nativity: A Season for Change at Penumbra. Other select directing credits include the new opera Fresh Faust at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, The Negroes Burial Ground at the Kitchen, N.Y.C., Uppa Creek at Dixon Place, and Ride The Rhythm in the Hip-Hop Theatre Festival. He is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota where he has directed The Wiz, Night Train To Bolina and Execution of Justice. Mr. Taylor has worked with Crossroads Theater, Rites and Reasons Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, The Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, and Ensemble Studio Theatre, among others. He is an alumni member of New Dramatists and holds a Bachelor's and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Brown University.

Jessica Litwak
July 21, 7:30 p.m.

Jessica Litwak, MFA, RDT, is the Artistic Director of The H.E.A.T. Collective (www.heatcollective.org) an organization dedicated to Healing, Education, Activism and Theatre, and the New Generation Theatre Ensemble, a theatre for youth (www.ngte.org) Litwak’s work has been published by Applause Books, Smith and Krause, and The New York Times. Plays include: Emma Goldman: Love Anarchy and Other Affairs directed by Anne Bogart. A Pirate’s Lullaby, The Oregon Book Award, produced in Portland, at Rattlestick Theater and at The Goodman Theatre. The Promised Land, commissioned by The National Federation of Jewish Culture, was produced in Budapest. Secret Agents and Victory Dance were produced in Los Angeles at The Renberg Theatre, and the DR2 in New York. Terrible Virtue was developed by The Lark and The Culture Project, Wider Than The Sky at The Lark, UCONN and Epic Theatre. The Snake and The Falcon, and Nobody Is Sleeping (the second two installments of the Emma Goldman Trilogy) have developed by the Lark, and Serious Play! Her plays for youth GRIM, Postcards from Canterbury, The Great Journey Home, Verona High, War: An American Dream, and The Moons Of Jupiter written and directed by Litwak, have been produced in New York and Massachusetts. Litwak has taught at San Francisco State University, the Theatre Academy at Los Angeles City College, Stella Adler Academy, Marymount Manhattan College, Columbia, NYU and Lesley University. She conducts workshops around the world in Peacebuilding and Performance for Acting Together On the World Stage. Litwak is on the steering committee of Theatre Without Borders (TWB) and co-leads Artist Distress Services for freeDimensional. She is currently a Visiting Professor in the MFA Program at Naropa University..

Mark Charney
July 28, 7:30 p.m.

Mark Charney serves as Director of Theatre for the Department of Performing Arts at Clemson University. A past Chair for Region IV and a past member of the National Selection Team for KCACTF, Mark currently works as a playwright and professor. The first two works in his “male dysfunction trilogy” have been read in both New York and Washington, and the first — 37 Stones or the Man Who Was a Quarry — was produced by Charter Theatre in D.C. and in 2008 Off Off Broadway by Working Man Clothes Productions. Mark serves as National Coordinator of the Critics Institute and Dramaturgy Initiative through the Kennedy Center, and works each summer with Dan Sullivan and the Critics Institute in Waterford, Connecticut at the O’Neill. One of his most recent plays, Shooting Blanks, was performed and published by the New Works Festival in California. Mark won the Outstanding Theatre Educator Award from SCTA in 2005. His play, Cat Scratch Fever, was published this year in the journal Grist, and his play The Power Behind the Palette won the David Mark Cohen Award for Playwriting in 2010. He is a ten-time recipient of the Clemson University Board of Trustees' Award for Faculty Excellence. He also serves for his second year as Secretary of the Southeastern Theatre Conference.

Productions and Special Events

No Shame Theatre
No Shame Theatre is an experiential performance lab where writers, performers and audience are constantly changing roles. Anything can happen and usually does in this late night venue for original work. We take the first 15 pieces to walk in the door and there are only three rules: pieces must be original (no copyright violations), short (five minutes or less), and not break anything (including the law). Inside those rules you can do pretty much anything you're interested in trying in front of a live audience--plays, monologues, songs, dance, poetry, mime, juggling, comedy, tragedy, improvisation, dada, magic--we've even seen people do floral arrangements! Pieces are accepted starting at 10:00 p.m., doors open at 10:30 p.m., and the show starts at 11 p.m. running on average an hour and a half. All seats $5; Mill Mountain Theatre's Waldron Stage, 20 Church Avenue S.E., Roanoke.
Every Friday night at 11:00 p.m.

Independence Day at Happy Meadows by MFA playwright Laura King
This quirky comedy about a band of elderly women who plan to break out of their nursing home ala The Great Escape has been developed at Hollins in collaboration with the great Bob Moss and been showcased as part of the Discovery Reading Series and last year's Playwright's Festival. It was written specifically for community theatre audiences and we are proud to partner with our own local community theatre, Showtimers, for this world premier of the final draft of the play. Showtimers Community Theatre (http://www.showtimers.org/index.html) 2067 McVitty Rd., S.W., Roanoke VA 24018 June 18-29 at 8:00 p.m. Advance tickets available at as well as sales at the door for each performance.

Local Unified Auditions
Area actors, directors, our student playwrights, and representatives of several local theatres gather over the weekend for auditions. Actors who audition are entered into our database and can be contacted to be readers or performers in our summer events, as well as readings and productions throughout the year. Mill Mountain Theatre, Gamut Theatre, Showtimers, Attic Productions and other groups are invited to participate. Auditioners should prepare a monologue from a contemporary play and, if desired, a song.
Upstairs Studio Theatre, Hollins University
June 28-29, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Email osactors@gmail.com to sign up for a 10-minute slot over the weekend.

Overnight Sensations
Since 2006 we've partnered with Mill Mountain Theatre to present our version of the 24-Hour Plays. On Friday night six playwrights are randomly paired with six directors, then randomly draw from a hat a variety of writing prompts and a pre-selected cast of local actors. Before 8 a.m. the next morning they have to write a 10-minute play. They meet with their directors over a continental breakfast on Saturday morning and make any last minute changes before the actors arrive at 11 a.m. and the play begins rehearsal. When 8 p.m. rolls around, and the audience are in their seats, the show begins! Always a packed house, always free, and always lots of fun for everyone! Video promo from 2012 »
Trinkle Main Stage, Mill Mountain Theatre
July 12, 8:00 p.m.

Hollins Festival of New Works
Each summer at the end of July, we present a three-day event showcasing ten readings of student work from the Playwright's Lab. These readings are minimally staged for the general public and close to a dozen guest professional responders from all over the globe. This year's guest responders include publishers, arts administrators, playwrights, actors, directors and even a producer of Broadway musicals! These guest responders are coming from as far away as Los Angeles and as close as downtown Roanoke. Get acquainted with these plays and playwrights before they are famous, and engage in a conversation about theatre with our students, faculty, and some established theatre professionals.
All readings are free and open to the general public.
Mill Mountain Theatre's Waldron Stage, 20 Church Avenue S.E., Roanoke
July 25, 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
July 26, 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.
July 27, 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.

Confirmed and invited guest responders for 2014 include: John Bergman, Rick Cleveland, Gregg Henry, Jane B. Jones, Marya Sea Kaminski, Mark Levine, Shannon Robert, and Jeri Lynn Schulke.

Guests and events may be subject to change, due to unexpected difficulties in scheduling. Please check this Web page frequently for updated information. For questions, contact the director, Todd Ristau, at (540) 556-5396 or tristau@hollins.edu.