A virtual welcome back to our TDPS community!
Monday, August 31, 2020

If you're new to TDPS, welcome! If you're returning, welcome back!

We hope you had a restful and healthy summer. Faculty and staff have been working hard over the past few months to prepare for a safe, productive, and enriching semester. We're looking forward to getting started again!

We are thrilled to be starting the academic year with our new TDPS director, Maura Keefe, associate professor of dance and previously the associate director of the school. She takes the reins from Leigh Wilson Smiley, whom we wholeheartedly thank for her leadership over the past seven years. Keefe's vision for the school includes continuing to build an inclusive educational environment for the research and practice of the performing arts, interdisciplinary collaboration, and further incorporation of media and technology in the performing arts. See the full announcement below under Feature Stories.

We also want to give a special welcome to Sam Crawford and Marielis Garcia, who are joining our faculty this year. Crawford takes on the sound and media technologies in performance position at TDPS and Garcia is our dance artist-in-residence. Find out more about them in the story below under Feature Stories and be sure to say hi when you see them in the Zoom room.

We have compiled a list of FAQs on our website to address any common concerns you might have about your courses, production work, or other activities this semester. If you have further questions or concerns, you can contact any of our staff. We recognize that there is still much uncertainty, so don't hesitate to reach out to faculty or staff for support.

You can expect to see this newsletter in your inbox every other Monday. This is your reference for upcoming events, feature stories about TDPS faculty and students, news items, and opportunities for jobs, auditions, or internships. Please email tdpsmarketing@umd.edu if you have anything you'd like featured in the newsletter. The deadline for items is every other Thursday at 5PM to ensure inclusion in the following Monday's newsletter.

Stay tuned for more announcements about this semester's virtual events—coming soon! Good luck with the start of the semester.
 In this newsletter:

  • Upcoming events
  • Feature stories
  • News
  • Opportunities
Upcoming events
Fearless New Play Festival

November 19-22

TDPS is pleased to announce the line-up and call for auditions for the November 2020 main stage Fearless New Play Festival (FNPF). FNPF is a three-week incubator to support the collaborative development of new plays by TDPS students and alumni. The festival will be produced online between November 2 and 22 and includes a panel discussion about new play development with top-notch theatre practitioners around the country, a master class with our keynote playwright, three weeks of rehearsals, and a speech by our keynote playwright. The festival culminates with three nights of readings of the ten selected short plays.
Selected plays for the 2020 Fearless New Play Festival:

  • By Grace (Part Two) by Agyeiwaa Asante ’18
  • A Tea Party by Mariel Berlin-Fischler ’14
  • All of my Bullies and Where They Are Now by Elizabeth Crino ’18
  • Ghost Story by Evangelina Hakes ’19
  • The Ice Room by Liz Maestri ’03
  • RAPunzel by Jasmine Mitchell ‘20
  • Tiny Ruins by April Monu ’18
  • Please Like Me by Jordan Resnick ’22
  • Loving in the Age of Social Distancing by Amber Smithers ‘20
  • The Tao Island by Lyra Yang ’17

Announcing Keynote Playwright Lauren Yee

The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies is thrilled to announce that internationally-renowned playwright Lauren Yee will be our 2020 keynote playwright. Lauren Yee is a playwright, screenwriter, and TV writer born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in New York City.

Her play Cambodian Rock Band, with music by Dengue Fever and others, just had a lauded off-Broadway run at Signature Theatre. Her plays The Great Leap and Cambodian Rock Band led the list of top 10 most produced plays in the country for the 2019-20 season. She is the winner of the 2019 Doris Duke Artist Award for outstanding contributions to theater, the 2019 Steinberg Playwright Award, the Horton Foote Prize, the Kesselring Prize, the ATCA/Steinberg Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, and the Francesca Primus Prize. She has been a finalist for the Edward M. Kennedy Prize and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her plays were the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List. Lauren is a Residency 5 playwright at Signature Theatre in New York, New Dramatists member (class of 2025), Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member, former Princeton University Hodder fellow, and Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. She earned her BA at Yale and her MFA at UC San Diego, and American Theatre Magazine named her as the second most-produced playwright in the country for the 2019/20 season. For more info, please visit www.laurenyee.com.

Call for TDPS actors

There is still an opportunity to audition for a Fall 2020 TDPS main stage theatre production! We are pleased to announce auditions for the 2020 Fearless New Play Festival. We are seeking a diverse company of performers who are open to collaboration and learning about the new play development process. There is no prior experience necessary, and your time commitment will be lower than other main stage theatre productions (periodic rehearsals for 1-2 short plays between November 2-22, no memorization necessary). Here is how to audition:

  • If you are a returning TDPS student, and you auditioned this past spring semester, you do not need to audition again. All you need to do is email Jenn Schwartz jlschwar@umd.edu by 5pm on Monday, September 7 and tell her you would like to be considered for the company. 

  • If you are new to TDPS, we would love to meet you and consider you for the company! Both Theatre and Dance majors are welcome. You may submit a video of a 90-second monologue (and if you don’t have a monologue memorized, no problem—you can read aloud from the script). Please email Jenn Schwartz jlschwar@umd.edu for instructions on how to upload your video. All monologue videos need to be submitted by 5pm on Monday, September 7
First Fridays

September 4, October 2, November 6, and December 4 at 5:30PM

Mark your calendars for this semester’s virtual First Fridays!

First Fridays is a wonderful, intimate setting for ANYONE in TDPS to share their original dances, spoken word pieces, songs, 5-10 minute plays, costume/set/media/lighting design ideas, history/theory projects, etc. We welcome work in any stage of development.

The first First Friday of the year will be hosted by Casie Curry '23 on September 4 at 5:30PM.

Email Patrik Widrig at widrig@umd.edu if you would like to participate.

Have an event you want to share?
Please email tdpsmarketing@umd.edu
Feature stories
Maura Keefe Appointed Director of UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

The College of Arts and Humanities has appointed contemporary dance historian and Associate Professor Maura Keefe director of the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS), effective July 1, 2020. Keefe served as the associate director of the school since 2016 and as interim director during the Spring 2019 semester. She succeeds Leigh Wilson Smiley, who had led the school since 2013.

Read the full story here.
Welcome to TDPS, Sam Crawford and Marielis Garcia

The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies is pleased to welcome two new members to the school: Sam Crawford in the sound and media technologies in performance position and Marielis Garcia as the dance artist-in-residence. These artists bridge the performing arts in numerous ways and will continue the work that TDPS values in interdisciplinary collaboration within our school and with other fields.

Read the full story here.
  • Ph.D. candidate Leticia Ridley published a stage review of Round House Theatre’s 2018 production of Gem of the Ocean in the August Wilson Journal. Read the review here.

  • Congratulations to Ph.D. student Lindsey Barr on being elected president of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) Graduate Student Caucus! The term will begin in November.

  • Ph.D. candidate Fraser Stevens published an article in Global Performance Studies. Read the article here.

Have news you want to share?
Please email tdpsmarketing@umd.edu
  • NEW The Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive (WAPAVA) is seeking a part-time executive director to assume duties on October 1, 2020. WAPAVA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, incorporated in Washington, DC, and is one of only three major continuous Actors’ Equity-approved video performance archives in America. WAPAVA is a resource for theater professionals and scholars; students and educational programs; specialized researchers in local/national theater history; and the public. The Executive Director leads day-to-day operations of WAPAVA and reports directly to the Board of Directors. View the full job posting here.

  • NEW Mosaic Theater Company of DC is announcing their Fall 2020 internship program to provide qualified students with hands-on VIRTUAL learning opportunities within a professional theater environment. All internships are unpaid and open to all currently enrolled college students. Areas of focus include: development, education, marketing and communications, and casting and stage management. Interns will be expected to work 5-10 hours per week and can earn class credit at their academic institution. Additional details on their website. Apply by September 11 at 11:59PM via their online application.

  • NEW The Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE) is looking for an EDI Research Fellow to investigate the intersections of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Arts Management Programs. $2,000 stipend for the fellowship that runs Oct 2020-late Spring 2021. Additional details on their website.
Have an opportunity you want to share?
Please email tdpsmarketing@umd.edu

 Do you have something you want to share with the TDPS community?
Email tdpsmarketing@umd.edu and share with us on social media!

The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
advances and transforms the research and practice of the performing arts
through a commitment to excellence and innovative education.


Kate Spanos, Coordinator of Marketing & Communications
Carlo Antonio Villanueva, Graduate Assistant