Iowa State University Department of Music and Theatre faculty members Brad Dell, Charissa Menefee and Cason Murphy presented on three different panels at the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC) held in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 7 – 10, 2019.
MATC is dedicated to the growth and improvement of all forms of theatre throughout a twelve-state region that includes the states of Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Its purposes are to unite people and organizations within this region and elsewhere who have an interest in theatre and scholarship. This year’s national conference, entitled “Invention,” was designed to be an investigation and celebration of invention in the work of theatre-makers and scholars.
Brad Dell, director of ISU theatre, chaired a roundtable panel within the Pedagogy Symposium entitled “Re-Inventing Theatre Departments and their Communities.” As part of this panel, all three ISU Theatre faculty members presented findings about the department’s approach to re-inventing its mission and practice to promote citizen artistry, launching the CoLab Initiative designed to foster interdisciplinary partnerships and crafting its 2019 – 2020 “HERoic Season,” which will include only plays by female playwrights.
Assistant Professor of Theatre Cason Murphy was also invited to present his paper, “True Rules for Odd Inventions: Three Attempts to Rewrite Shakespeare for Contemporary Audiences,” as a part of the Practice/Production Symposium. His research compared and contrasted three American theatre companies and their projects which aim to make Shakespeare’s language more accessible to audiences today — the “Play On! Shakespeare” project at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, “Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries” at American Shakespeare Center and “Fixing Shakespeare” series by the Rude Mechs.
Charissa Menefee, associate professor of English, participated in a panel about “Fostering Risky, High-Concept, or Experimental Work in the Writing and Dramaturgy Classrooms.” She gave a presentation about innovative curricular design in process-oriented playwriting courses for undergraduate and graduate students.