Posted on May 20, 2013
CATF is thrilled to welcome back to Shepherdstown this summer designer David M. Barber. You’ll remember David’s work from last year if you saw CAPTORS by Evan M. Wiener and IN A FOREST, DARK AND DEEP by Neil LaBute. Both shows were presented in repertory on the Frank Center Stage and were directed by Producing Director Ed Herendeen.
This season, David will be designing MODERN TERRORISM, OR THEY WHO WANT TO KILL US by Jon Kern and SCOTT AND HEM IN THE GARDEN OF ALLAH by Mark St. Germain–the two plays that will open the new Stanley C. and Shirley A. Marinoff Theater in the Center for Contemporary Arts II–as well as H2O by Jane Martin in CCA 112.
This is what Ed has to say about working with David Barber:
“As this is our second year of working together, David and I have an established vocabulary. He’s collaborative with me along with the entire design and production team, willing to ask challenging, probing questions of the play and its direction. He provides helpful and thoughtful research and, most importantly to me, he begins the process by being true to the given circumstances the playwright provides. He’s loyal to the text, the script; his research to the architecture, time/place, and period, etc, of the world of the play. As a director, I want our creative team to take risks and provide me with choices. David does both. With Scott and Hem, his research has been really invaluable since the play is set in a real time (1937) and place (the resort villa, Garden of Allah). He’s been very sensitive to the needs of the play. And with Modern Terrorism, it’s been exciting to see his ideas of using the new theater’s aesthetic to create both realism and spectacle. We explored how this play covers the inside and outside world, while maintaining a claustrophobic atmosphere. Our audience will be quite struck by how he’s transformed the Marinoff Theater into a 1930s villa and then into a Brooklyn apartment.”
David M. Barber is a designer of scenery and clothing for theatre, television, film and the special events world. He brings expertise to the collaborative table that spans geographically from Texas to Toronton…and experientially from studio art to performance and back again.
READ HIS FULL BIO.
Visit David’s website here.
Renderings follow from David’s set designs for CATF 2013 (Copywright: David M. Barber, 2013):
SCOTT AND HEM IN THE GARDEN OF ALLAH
Written and directed by Mark St. Germain
Stanley C. and Shirley A. Marinoff Theater
Posted on February 24, 2013
Last week, Shepherd University President Suzanne Shipley announced the official name of the theater housed within the new phase of the Center for Contemporary Arts. This 180-seat flexible space will be called the STANLEY C. AND SHIRLEY A. MARINOFF THEATER in honor of a recent legacy gift made by Dr. Stanley Marinoff to the Shepherd University Foundation. This endowment gift will be used for the long-term support of CATF’s programming and education initiatives.
In January, at the CATF annual board retreat, Dr. Shipley and Ed Herendeen announced this to the board at a private event in the lobby of the new theater (scroll down for more photos):
Dr. Stanley C. Marinoff
Dr. Marinoff made the following remarks:
This Endowment gift is a continuation of the Marinoff family’s commitment to the Contemporary American Theater Festival. There has been a Marinoff on the board for 21 years, and in fact, Shirley was an original board member and one of the first in the community to see CATF’s potential. She would be proud of this day and to see how far we have progressed over these years.
I remember early-on in the Festival’s history when I had to co-sign a bank loan to keep everything going; now we have financial stability–a testament to the great strides we have made. This is a gift that will last forever. It is made to help enshrine a permanent future for CATF and guarantee that the organization can forever benefit and know that it can count on my family’s support. It will ensure that future students, artists, and audiences will be impacted by this gift for years and years to come. It is a long-term pact that will serve the organization and community in perpetuity. With this gift, I am able to know that every future CATF season, and future University students, will be supported by the Marinoff family.
Shirley and I first discovered Shepherdstown the same year CATF was founded and as soon as we built our house here we became involved in the organization. I have witnessed this community and campus expand and grow over the last 23 years along with CATF. The cultural fabric—and quality of life improvements—that the Theater Festival and the University has provided Shepherdstown is proof of the power and importance of the arts.
The University has supported CATF and has provided us our own modern theater. CATF’s partnership with Shepherd remains paramount to my support as both education and the arts share a mutual mission of opening minds and inspiring critical thinking. Shepherd’s focus on a liberal arts curriculum, and CATF’s commitment to thought-provoking new work, continue to successfully fulfill this important need.
With this gift, our internship program will be expanded and a future generation of theater students will be given the opportunity to begin their careers at Shepherd University and CATF. Many former Marinoff Interns have gone on to work in theater around country, including our own James McNeel who was an intern in 1998.
There are so many needs in the world, and often the arts are the first to be cut. This gift will, hopefully, help shelter CATF for when times are tough; and expand and develop the organization when things are not. As Ed always says, the arts are not a luxury, but a necessity of a civilized society. This organization and this university are the pillars for the continued vibrancy of Shepherdstown.
Finally, I hope this gift will inspire others to consider the future of CATF by building up its endowments and continuing its home here on Shepherd’s ever-growing and beautiful campus. It is rewarding—even fun—to donate money to something you believe in deeply. –Dr. Stanley C. Marinoff, January 12, 2013.
Here are some additional photos from this festive day–one of the great keystone moments in the history of the Festival. Thank you Dr. Marinoff and the Marinoff Family!
(photos by Seth Freeman)
(pictured above) Dr. Marinoff is hugged by his daughter Allison Marinoff Carle, with Ed Herendeen and Trustees Ray Smock and Elena Echenique
(pictured above) Members of the Shepherd University Drum Corps provided the musical backdrop to the announcement.
(pictured above) Members of the CATF Board and Honorary Board applaud the announcement.
(pictured above) Billy Thompson and Mary Hott sang in honor of the Marinoffs–the unofficial first performance in the theater!
(pictured above) Dr. Stanley Marinoff and Allison Marinoff Carle.
(pictured above) On the (at that point unpainted) floor of the Marinoff Theater.
(pictured above) “Up on the catwalk” - taking a tour of the theater: the Marinoffs with Dr. Mark Stern, Marjorie Weingold, Ray Smock, and Gary Horowitz (CATF Trustee R.B. Seem snaps photos in the distance)
(pictured above) Ed Herendeen shares a private moment with the Marinoffs. There has been a member of the Marinoff family on the CATF board since the Festival’s founding. Stanley’s late wife Shirley (Allison’s mom) was an early advocate and supporter of Ed’s work and vision.
Posted on December 30, 2012
Construction continues on Phase Two of Shepherd University’s Center for Contemporary Arts. This joint project of the University, CATF, and the Shepherd University Foundation was a key component of the recently completed Shepherd comprehensive campaign known as CREATE. The $13.5 million facility should be completed by March. It will include a brand new 185-seat theater (special announcement coming soon!), a sculpture studio, costume and scenery shops, graphic design studios, a rehearsal and small performance room, a small art gallery, and theater support areas like dressing rooms, lobby, etc. Plus, the exterior patios are gorgeous and will lend themselves to special events. The terrific team at Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture have done a great job, as have the construction company Morgan Keller. It’s going to be a great venue for CATF patrons to take in a show and gets us one step closer to our dream of having our full repertory take place in one multi-building complex. Next step? Phase Three…..stay tuned.
Check out the photos here on Shepherd’s Flickr account to see the progress so far (through early November).
And here are a few of our (low res) iPhone shots from the last couple of months:
from the Phase One breezeway, looking east.. (September 2012)
The pre-copper siding goes up on the west wall. September, 2012.
From Phase One. September/October
On the right is the east wall of the new theater along with the stone patio. October 23, 2012.
(left) from the interior lobby looking out to stone wall gallery; (right) Catherine Irwin (retired CATF arts manager), Ed Herendeen, and Jenny Ewing Allen (Board President), October 23, 2012.
December 31. Glass lobby windows and exterior stairs.
Inside the new theater, from the catwalk. September 2012.
From the tech booth.
December 31, 2012.
December 31, 2012.
Posted on December 30, 2012
WE ARE THRILLED by the recent notice and attention that Johnna Adams’s GIDION’S KNOT has been receiving. We continue to hear feedback from patrons and folks from the industry about the play, along with the heart-wrenching and masterful performances by actors Joey Parsons and Robin Walsh. A week does not go by when we don’t get some new nugget.
To summarize, here’s some of the buzz.
**Two weeks ago, we received word from the American Theatre Critics Association that GIDION’S KNOT is under consideration for the prestigious ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award, which is given out annual to the best play produced during the year. Six finalists to be chosen in January–winner announced at the Humana Festival in April. (You may recall that in 2010, CATF had TWO plays under consideration–for only the second time in the prize’s 30+ year history–as LIDLESS by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and BREADCRUMBS by Jennifer Haley were considered. We still attest that they split the vote!)
**On December 12, Washingtonian magazine listed GIDION’S KNOT as its #3 best play of the year. It was book-ended by two shows from our friends at Arena Stage. Here’s a link to the story by Sophie Gilbert.
**Just last week, theater critic John Glass named GIDION’S KNOT as one of his “best theater experiences” of 2012 (and gave special notice to Robin and Joey for their performances under his “Dynamic Duos” category). The play was his only 5 out 5 rating he gave all year. Check out his full list here.
**And last but most certainly not least…GIDION’S KNOT has been published, in full, in the December issue of AMERICAN THEATRE magazine–the preeminent journal for, well, the American theater. This is a huge coup for Johnna and happened because representatives from Theatre Communications Group (TCG–which publishes the magazine) saw the show this summer in Shepherdstown. And if you are not a subscriber to the magazine, we highly recommend it (even before the published GIDION). Plus, the issue contained photos from the CATF production. An incredible honor for which we are incredibly proud. See more online here (copies available in newstands somewhat everywhere).
We know that many of our colleagues across the country are aware of the play and giving it serious consideration for future productions. As we learn more, we’ll be sure to share the news!
Posted on December 5, 2012
One of the most common questions we receive during this time of year is: “So, what do you do during the off-season? Is it just down time?”
The answer, in a word, is ‘no.’
The answer, in multiple words, is ‘No, no, no. No. Hardly.’
As a general rule, CATF operates on an annual calendar that is segmented into various activities and areas of focus. For the general public, July is our most visible and seemingly bustling time—which it is. As is the month of June when the full company has arrived in Shepherdstown, the shows are being built, rehearsals are happening, etc.
But what about the other 10 months of the year? Well, the first thing to keep in mind is that though CATF during the summer is a company of theater professionals that numbers nearly 90 people, for the rest of the year there are only three of us on staff to—along with our extraordinary volunteer board of trustees—make it all happen.
Once the Festival has closed, strike has been completed, and our guest artists have departed (all in the first week of August), we do, admittedly, take a breath, lick our wounds, and recover from the whirlwind of the season. It normally takes about four or five weeks to reconcile the previous year, assess the organization’s financial picture, review attendance figures, submit funder and union reports, and post mortem the successes and challenges of the just-completed CATF season.
In September, we meet with our board and report back. At the same time, Ed has begun his reading of scripts for consideration for the next year (he’s read upwards of 120 so far this fall, for example). Meanwhile, Peggy and I work with our board Finance Committee to begin the budgeting process for the next year.
We dream. We think of ways to grow the Festival. We clean the office.
Oh, and we start raising money.
By November 1st, we have closed the books on the previous year (except for the annual audit, which will actually begin next week—and let me tell you, nothing screams the holiday spirit quite like three straight days of digging through deposit slips, invoices, check stubs, grant letters, journal entries, and bank statements…) and started a new one.
Around now, Ed narrows down his selection of plays—normally to his top 10. At that point, we work on season scenarios with a mind to casting, venue, production value, etc. This is a complicated matrix of sometimes competing demands. With a commitment to “repping” our actors, and also the wide variance between each of our three theaters, it can be an arduous process—and yet, incredibly exhilarating. You see, once the plays for the next season are chosen, they will become our best friends: we will think and talk (obsess?) about them – promote and develop them – for the next seven months.
Oh, and we raise more money.
The fall is also a time of organizational “housekeeping.” We review policies (by-laws!) with the board, strategize new programs, develop marketing strategies, get our committees situated, establish our board leadership positions for the year, and get caught up on the industry. What others in the field are up to becomes blurred from the spring into summer as we are up to our elbows in pre-season prep, rehearsals, and performances. One way to re-engage is to attend conferences and showcases with our theater colleagues.
This fall, we have been to two excellent events that deserve mentioning:
In early November, Jenny (our board chair), Ed, Peggy, and I were in New York City for the TCG (Theatre Communications Group) Fall Forum. The topic was diversity and featured fantastic panels and breakout sessions and a kick-ass keynote speech by playwright Katori Hall. You can see video from the weekend on the TCG website (click here). Our good friends Teresa Eyring and Kevin E. Moore, along with the TCG staff, put on a heckuva show.
That same weekend we had a CATF reunion with over 35 former CATF actors, designers, and staff covering almost 10 different seasons. We also saw Samuel Hunter’s THE WHALE at Playwright’s Horizons (featuring CATF actor Cassie Beck), DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar at Lincoln Center, and a reading at the terrific new play development center The Lark (click here).
This past weekend, Ed and I attended the National New Play Network Annual Showcase, hosted at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC. We saw six stage readings of new plays and rubbed elbows with numerous playwrights, literary managers, and artistic directors from around the country. It’s an excellent organization that works to encourage theaters to collaborate and produce “rolling world premieres” of new plays to ensure that writers get multiple productions of their new works. Check out NNPN (click here) to learn more. Many thanks to Jason Loewith and Jojo Ruf for inviting CATF to participate.
There is much to report in future posts—the new building, American Theatre Critics Association, an update on the commissioned plays, the season. But first, there is more money to raise (donation, anyone? www.catf.org/donate).
Until next time: think theater.
P.S.//And in case you’ve missed it, AMERICAN THEATRE magazine has just published its December issue. It features the full script to Johnna Adams’s play GIDION’S KNOT, which received its world premiere this summer in Shepherdstown (the magazine features photos from the CATF production!). Click here to check it out.
P.S. (part 2). Speaking of raising money…we are thrilled to announce two recent grants: The National Endowment for the Arts has just awarded CATF a project grant (thank you our fellow Americans!) and a new grant was just received from the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation. We couldn’t do what we do without this amazing support.