News from the Hilltop
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Birmingham-Southern College theatre program gets grant to take collaborative production to famous festival in Scotland
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern College Department of Theatre and Dance will take the world premiere of an updated telling of August Strindberg's classic 1888 play “Miss Julie” to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. The play adaptation, set in the American South and written by BSC Professor of Theatre Alan Litsey, will open for nine performances at the C Soco venue in Edinburgh, Scotland, from Aug. 3-11.
Rehearsing are student actors Kate Jenkins, who is portraying Julie, and Mac Smith who is playing the role of John.
The 75-minute version of the play, a new model for collaborative research and creativity, is supported by an Undergraduate Collaborative Research and Engagement Grant from the Associated Colleges of the South and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. Six BSC students are engaged with three faculty members and one staff member as peers to collaborate on multiple aspects of the pre-production and production process.
The production company is spending the summer building sets, designing costumes and in rehearsals. The production, complete with sets, cast, costumes, and promotional materials, will board a plane July 30 bound for Scotland. Prior to opening performances, the crew will hit the streets of Edinburgh distributing flyers and posters to promote the show.
The unique model project includes as its distinct features teaching performances and discussions led by BSC students, a student/faculty study guide, a paper written by students and faculty on replicating the model, and a presentation at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in March. “The Miss Julie Project” marks the first of what BSC hopes will be many such projects focusing on themes that reflect the importance of human dignity in today's culture and promises future partnerships with other Associated Colleges of the South theatre programs.
Litsey's Deep South American adaptation was inspired by a passion to rediscover the issues of this classic play for contemporary audiences. As it heightens the characters' struggle to new levels of danger, “Miss Julie” renews its challenging examination of such issues as gender and social division, as well as the larger questions of realizing human dignity around the world.
BSC students participating are Alex Brouwer, a senior from Fort Payne; Nikki Craft, a senior from Decatur; Kate Jenkins, a recent BSC graduate from Vestavia who will portray Julie; Amanda Kramer, a junior from Alabaster; Mac Smith, a sophomore from Auburn who will play the role of John; and Laura Spurgeon, a sophomore from Phenix City. Other BSC faculty and staff working on the production include BSC Theatre and Dance Department Chair Michael Flowers as director, Professor of Theatre Matthew Mielke as scenic designer and technical director, and Patti Manning as costume designer.