Atlese Robinson ’15 awarded Hawkinson Foundation Scholarship

Atlese Robinson headshotThe Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace & Justice has awarded Augsburg student Atlese Robinson ’15 the 2014 Hawkinson Foundation Scholarship. This scholarship was created by the Foundation to encourage students who have already demonstrated a commitment to peace and justice to strive for those values in their educational pursuits and in their personal and professional lives.

Robinson is majoring in theater at Augsburg. Her artistic background includes the Penumbra Theatre’s Summer Institute and the St. Paul Central High School’s Central Touring Theatre. When she was attending Central, Robinson wrote a poem highlighting racial inequalities within the school system. She then went on to perform the poem, with others, for groups of teachers and administration in the St. Paul Public Schools.

Robinson has served as editor of The Echo newspaper, a student publication at Augsburg College. She also has performed her original spoken word as part of the College’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation celebration. Read more on the Hawkinson Foundation Website.

‘Peer Gynt’ a Star Tribune ‘Stage Spot’

Minneapolis Star TribuneThe Star Tribune included Augsburg College’s production of “Peer Gynt,” which runs April 10 through 13 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, in its “Stage Spot” news column. The play marks the first time that the College has partnered with the University of Minnesota to deliver an innovative production that breaks rules and boundaries. Read more on the Star Tribune’s website.

MinnPost arts round-up includes Augsburg’s ‘Peer Gynt’

MinnPostA first-ever collaboration between the theater departments of Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota on a production of Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt” received news coverage in MinnPost. The ground-breaking production will take theatergoers on a fantastic voyage that includes oversized birds and trolls, original music and simultaneous scenes, all while attendees and performers travel a quarter-mile portion of the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Read the full column on the MinnPost website.

Dean Seal featured in Star Tribune

Augsburg theater arts instructor Dean Seal recently was featured in a Star Tribune article on FORGIVENESS 360, a symposium of theater, spoken word and films. Seal is the executive director of Spirit in the House, a nonprofit organization that uses performing arts to explore spiritual issues.Read how Seal is advancing the “forgiveness movement” on the Star Tribune website.

Sweet Maladies represents theater program's new focus

sweet_maladiesThe opening this week of Sweet Maladies by Zakiyyah Alexander represents four years of work by the Augsburg College Theater Department to diversify its program and to attract more diverse and often underrepresented voices to the theater.

The department has made changes to its curriculum, welcomed local directors and new faculty, and undertaken projects as “a way to welcome more students with different kinds of cultural backgrounds to participate,” said Department Chair Darcey Engen.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the Department’s commitment to excellence. Continue reading

Backstage names Augsburg 1 of 5 Top College Theater

Augsburg College theater production

Augsburg College theater production

Backstage magazine’s 2012 Fall College Guide listed Augsburg College among the top five U.S. institutions for theater majors who wish to continue their studies professionally.

“In our Theater Department, students connect with professional artists in the city while they delve into their theater courses,” said Darcey Engen, Augsburg College associate professor and chair of Theater Arts.

“We find that the combination of the department’s rigorous curriculum, exposure to outstanding professionals in the field, and mentorship with theater faculty prepare our students to graduate as complex, deeply committed artists who can apply their insights and skills to any occupation.”

Continue reading

Berlovitz brings her talent to Augsburg, brings out talent in actors

titanicorchestraThe cast of The Titanic Orchestra didn’t know Barbra Berlovitz, an icon in the Twin Cities theater scene, before they auditioned for the play she is guest directing at Augsburg this spring. None of the students had attended a production at the Tony award-winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune, where Berlovitz was the co-artistic director for 25 years. But the entire cast agrees that working with her has been a valuable experience in their development as actors.

Justin Caron, a junior theater major, said Berlovitz is a master at bringing out an actor’s unique talents. “She’s good at getting people to make new discoveries without telling them exactly what to do and working with the talent we have and trying to make that come out,” Caron said. Continue reading

Theater department takes on the challenges of Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays

365theaterBy Wendi Wheeler ’06

Imagine writing one play every day for a year. Also imagine the challenges presented to 14 actors each playing several roles in 54 plays presented in one evening. That is the task of the cast of Suzan-Lori Parks’ 365 Days/365 Plays, directed by Augsburg theater professor Martha Johnson.

In the fall of 2002, Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks decided to take on the challenge of writing one play a day for a full year. 365 Days/365 Plays is the successful result, featuring 365 short plays exploring such divergent topics as sex, war, fairy tales, Indian mythology, American historical figures, love, politics, race, contemporary celebrities—and numerous other issues from American life. Continue reading

Asian American students share their stories through theater

inside_outBy Wendi Wheeler ’06

Walk past the student lounge in Christensen Center on any given afternoon, and it becomes clear that Asian American students make up a sizeable portion of the Augsburg student body. The lounge is a popular hangout for students—a place for them to study, relax, and connect with each other.

To hear some stories of Asian American students at Augsburg, attend the Augsburg Theater Department production of Inside Out. In collaboration with Mu Performing Arts and Pan Asian Student Services, Augsburg will present Inside Out Nov. 18-20.

Inside Out was created and is directed by Rick Shiomi, artistic director of Mu Performing Arts of St. Paul, Minn. The project began when Shiomi interviewed several Asian American students at Augsburg. Based on the interviews, Shiomi developed a series of short scenes that reflect their experiences. The performance also includes additional scenes created by students. Continue reading

Theatre season opens with Chekhov's innovative drama

three_sistersLast weekend the Augsburg Theatre Department opened its 09-10 season with Anton Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, a drama that expresses Chekhov’s longing for Moscow (he was in Yalta at the time) and for his wife, Olga, who he left behind.

Here Kat Lutze [right], a sophomore majoring in arts administration with a specialization in theatre, discusses her experience playing Olga, the oldest of the three sisters. Lutze is joined by junior Shannon O’Brien [left] who plays Maria and sophomore Abbey Ehling [center] who plays Irina. Continue reading