UW-Green Bay Theatre & Dance produce two original virtual shows in time for the holidays

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre & Dance program will offer two virtual performances in December. The first, a world premiere of an original drama entitled: Faithfall will premiere on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. Pre-show interviews and a post-show discussion on the play’s themes will provide additional insights. The second performance, Only for Now, a musical revue will premiere on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. Both shows will be broadcast on the Weidner Center’s YouTube site free of charge.

Faithfall is the story of Whitney Long, a young woman struggling with grief over the suicide of her estranged sister, a nun. Following the funeral, Whitney meets Father Michael, the young priest who knew Whitney’s sister. With Father Michael’s guidance, Whitney embarks on a journey to gain a greater understanding of her grief, beliefs, and relationship with her sister. A poignant story of faith and love in times of crisis, Faithfall was written by UW-Green Bay Theatre Associate Professor Thomas Campbell. The production is being directed by John Mariano and will feature Allie Lent as Whitney Long and Sean Stalvey as Father Michael. Lent is a senior from Albany, Wis. majoring in theatre. Stalvey is a senior from Manitowoc, Wis. majoring in theatre. Earlier this year, Faithfall had a staged reading at the Texas A&M University-Commerce but this will be the world-premiere production of the show.

The broadcast of Faithfall will include pre-show interviews and a post-show discussion. The pre-show talk feature playwright Thomas Campbell discussing his inspiration for the story and insights into his writing process. The post-show talk will be a panel discussion with psychology and mental health community leaders and professors. The panel will discuss coping with grief, suicide prevention and stress management and offer professional opinions and information on community resources.

Only For Now Musical Revue

The second production, Only for Now, is a musical revue featuring an ensemble of theatre, dance students. It will premiere online on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. The production is being directed by Laura Riddle with musical direction by Courtney Sherman and choreography by Denise Carlson-Gardner. The title of the show is also the closing song of the revue and is from the Broadway musical Avenue Q. According to director Laura Riddle, the title is also a nod to the current nature of education and theatre during a global pandemic. In addition to the song from Avenue Q, the revue will also feature songs from a wide variety of Broadway shows including: Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, Hairspray, and Les Misérables. The selections in the revue were chosen to highlight what it means to be a performing artist and inspire hope for the future. Cast members include Mason Amidon, Connor Anderson, Isabelle Austgen, Jasmine Christyne, Hayley Eastman, Alyssa Hannam, Faith Klick, Grace Kolb, Rhean Krueger, Cory J. O’Donnell, Autumn Rettke, Aisa Rogers, Liesl Sigourney, Annie Skorupa, Olivia Smith, Audrey Soberg, Aubrey Stein, and Ally Stokes.

Out of concern for the health and well-being of the audience, actors, and production crew, theatre and dance performances for the semester are being filmed and presented for viewing rather than livestreamed or presented as a traditional live performances. Please be advised that Faithfallfocuses on issues of suicide and has adult content and themes. Only for Now contains strong language and adult content. Both productions are recommended for mature audiences.

Faithfall will premiere online on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. with the recorded pre-show beginning at 6:30 and is part of the Common CAHSS: Beyond Sustainability virtual conference. The production will then be available for viewing through Tuesday, Dec. 8. Only for Now will premiere online on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. and will be available for viewing through Tuesday, Dec. 15. There is no charge to view the productions but donations in support of scholarships for Theatre & Dance students are welcomed and can be made by visiting: https://www.uwgb.edu/theatre/become-a-theatre-first-nighter/.

About the Weidner Center

UW-Green Bay’s Weidner Center for the Performing Arts is known for its elegant design and the acoustic excellence of its 2,000-seat main hall, Cofrin Family Hall. It also houses two smaller performance spaces, the Fort Howard recital hall and the Jean Weidner Theatre, along with a dance studio and Grand Foyer. The Center is a home for UW-Green Bay Music and Theatre and Dance productions, community events and productions, and performances by visiting artists and touring companies. The Weidner Center has a distinct benefit in being part of a leading institution of higher learning. Beyond the large-scale touring productions that grace the stage, the Weidner Center also focuses on scholastic development, programming and an impactful education series – Stage Doors. The Stage Doors Education Series serves more than17,500 students from 63 cities throughout Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula every year. For more information on the Weidner Center, visit www.WeidnerCenter.com, 920-465-2726, 800-895-0071, or follow the ‘Weidner Center for the Performing Arts’ on Facebook, Twitter (@WeidnerCenter) and Instagram (@weidnercenter).

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to more than 8,500 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, D-I athletics, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.


Prof. Yadav’s Designers on Design season one completed

Since April 25, 2020, Assistant Professor Dinesh Yadav (Theatre & Dance) started hosting a weekly webinar “Designers on Design” in which he invited one international theatre designer to share her/ his works, process, teaching with the larger theatre community. Hosted on Zoom and live-streamed on Facebook this webinar series has watched by over forty-thousands viewers from forty-five countries for more than forty-three thousand minutes. The first season of the webinar completed after twenty-five sessions with designers from the USA, Canada, UK, Chile, Mexico, India, Spain, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, China, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Israel, Brazil. This series of webinars is supported by the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre, Architects, and Technicians (OISTAT) and organized by Theatre & Dance at UW-Green Bay. Students, faculty, and community members can watch all episodes at this Facebook page.

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: UW-Green Bay theater professor’s play gains momentum in Texas

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The ball got rolling recently for a play by Thomas Campbell, Ph.D, of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre and Dance faculty. The first public staged readings for Campbell’s full-length drama, “Faithfall,” were held at Texas A&M University-Commerce. According to a news release: “Faithfall” will be given its world premiere at UWGB later this school year when UWGB students mount a recorded production. The three staged readings in Texas were streamed online with no live audience in attendance. The UWGB production also will be streamed. The staged readings in were part of the “New Play Development Series” at Texas A&M-Commerce. Staged readings are common as a way for playwrights and producing entities to get a feel for the dynamics of a new play. Often, adjustments to scripts are made from them.

Source: Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: UWGB theater professor’s play gains momentum in Texas

UW-Green Bay junior Autumn Rettke was ‘blown away’ with online learning transition

Although UW-Green Bay is intending to be open in fall and welcoming faculty, staff and students back on campus, some classes originally scheduled for in-person instruction will be moving online or having online aspects to them for the safety of the UW-Green Bay community. Current UW-Green Bay students who transitioned to online learning in Spring 2020 demonstrate that they are resilient problem-solvers and describe their experiences while providing some advice to future students…

Autumn Rettke is a junior majoring in English Education and minoring in Dance.

Autumn Rettke

“When the spring classes switched from in-person to online-only, I was very concerned about my Education and Dance courses, because the two focus on elements that are best learned through in-person observation. I was blown away with how well my professors maintained the personal element of these courses while remaining completely online. We participated in discussions, group work and peer edits, which helped uphold the feeling of community that comes along with in-person classes. All of my professors offered email check-ins, over-the-phone meetings and even Zoom office hours. I always felt that my professors were not only prepared but also genuinely invested in their students’ well-being.”


Join ‘Designers on Design,’ June 20 at 9:30 a.m.

Designers on Design is a series of webinars on design in theatre. Organized by UW-Green Bay Theatre & Dance, and supported by OISTAT, this series is host by Assistant Prof. Dinesh Yadav. Started on April 23, 2020, every Saturday, Yadav brings one designer from across the world to discuss her/his works, ideas, process or teaching of design in theatre.

Saturday June 20, 2020 Webinar Description:

Presenter: Deepan Sivaraman (India)

“This presentation will take you through my theatre language and the challenges I have faced in the process of establishing a language of visual theatre in a country where theatre is predominately textual and proscenium based.”

Deepan Sivaraman is a theatre director and scenographer based in Delhi. He is known for making large scale open air visual theatre in temporary built spaces. He showed his works worldwide and presently he is the Dean of School of Culture and Creative Expressions Ambedkar University Delhi.

‘Designers on Design’ begins May 23

Designers on Design is a weekly webinar on various design aspects of a theatrical performance by designers and design educators across the globe. From May 23 onwards, every Saturday at 8:30 a.m. CST, a designer will share his/her work, ideas, teaching and thoughts via online video conferencing with attendees on Zoom. Organized by UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Dinesh Yadav (Theatre and Dance), it is supported by UW-Green Bay and by OISTAT (Organisation Internationale des. Scénographes Techniciens et. Architectes de. Théâtre). This webinar is also available through live streaming and recordings at Theatre and Dance, UWGB Facebook page. See the Designers on Design.pdf.

Jeff Entwistle

The grand design of Professor Jeff Entwistle of UW-Green Bay, part 3

Editorial comment: Take your bow, Prof. Jeff Entwistle, and inhale the applause. Yours has been a four-star career.

Jeff EntwistleThe amazingly talented set designer will exit both stage and University on May 17, 2020, retiring after a 36-year career at UW-Green Bay (and three as an assistant prof. at Illinois State.). He leaves a long-lasting legacy at the University and hundreds upon hundreds of close friendships. He is loved. Most importantly, his ties to former students, colleagues and friends will continue to exist long after he cleans his office in Theatre Hall on the Green Bay Campus and waves goodbye to the stages just across hall and next door at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, of which he magically transformed through the years.

In spring 2018, Entwistle provided an inspiring Commencement speech that described why he stayed and made UW-Green Bay his home, when he could have taken his skills anywhere in the world…

“You are graduating from UW-Green Bay successfully. You have fulfilled your primary goal to leave this university on this day! I failed at that same goal almost 30 years ago and I have failed to leave year-after-year since. And it is all your fault…

Right about the time I should have been leaving UW-Green Bay with my tenure in hand, a group of my very first students, who had arrived the same year I did, walked across the stage at graduation and something happened to me. I was hooked, I was, in fact, inspired! I was inspired by their success. It was not only about the professional skills they had developed; I was inspired by the people they had become in those four or five years…” See his full speech.

UW-Green Bay will miss his faculty-led trips to New York… and productions will miss the behind-the-scences talent of his wife, Donna, who worked in UW-Green Bay’s costume shop for 13 years! His love for theatre was contagious, not only to theatre majors, but for those who had even a few moments in his presence… 

Bravo Prof. Entwistle.

The following: Entwistle talked with Critic at Large Warren Gerds in an extensive three-part series…

Jeff EntwistleGREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) What did the coronavirus COVID-19 do to your calendar? Everybody has an answer. That of Jeff Entwistle has layers. Speaking by telephone from his home, he started his two-hour interview with me with this: “When the cancellations began to happen, I was the final stages of our New York theater trip that I lead on spring break.”Jeff Entwistle is a theater professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and he has regularly led students and community members on show-packed, fact-packed excursions to The Great White Way.“I had already spent $40,000 out of the $49,000 budget from the people paying for their trip. The Wednesday before we were to leave—less than a week—all spring break trips got canceled, all classes.”

Jeff Entwistle talked about the role of theater at a university, answering this thought sequence: Universities have theater programs. Why do they have theater programs? What is it about theater? You head out in any direction from Green Bay—or anyplace—there’s a theater there. What is about theater?

“You can reach people’s souls,” Entwistle said. “You can reach into their hearts, into their minds. When you share stories and tell meaningful stories—like I remember some of the audience leaving ‘Play Nice.’ The audience was like, ‘What did we just see?’ But it makes you think. And one the things that—my god, I hope they were thinking after that show—was we were doing a play that was talking a lot about child abuse and what kind of things go on. It doesn’t come out in those words in the play, but we’ve got kids afraid of their mother because she’s going to punish them again kind of thing…”

Source: Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: The grand design of Professor Jeff Entwistle of UW-Green Bay, part 3

(See the rest of the interview, here.)

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: The grand design of Professor Jeff Entwistle of UW-Green Bay, part 1-2

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Jeff Entwistle (Theatre and Dance) is reminiscing a lot these days. In two weeks, he retires from the faculty of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre and Dance, so thoughts of students and colleagues and shows and designs are rushing. This is the second part of a column that takes advantage of time available due to the coronavirus COVID-19. The first column is here. Today, we jump into the deep end of the pool with these career highlights offered by Jeff Entwistle during his 36 years as scenic designer in Green Bay area productions. Included are his personal notes. Source: Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: The grand design of Professor Jeff Entwistle of UW-Green Bay, part 2