Coming up: She Kills Monsters, The Muses Original Works Project,
MFA Portfolio Review, and a celebration of Paul Jackson
Monday, May 4, 2020

We are almost at the end of the semester! We are wrapping up the 2019-20 academic year with a flurry of online events, including our Zoom performance of She Kills Monsters on May 7, The Muses Original Works Project on May 9, and the MFA Design Portfolio Review on May 12. On Saturday, May 16, we will also celebrate the retirement of Paul Jackson, who has served as technical director for the dance area for 40 years.

We are proud of the TDPS community for showing such resiliency and strength during these challenging times. If you are struggling, please reach out to TDPS faculty or staff—we are here to help you.
Screenshots from our last First Fridays of the 2019-20 school year. Students showed their work-in-progress in dance and design from their homes. Thanks to all for participating! #KeepCreatingUMD
  In this newsletter:

  • #KeepCreatingUMD
  • Upcoming events
  • Feature stories
  • News
  • Summer course opportunities
  • Opportunities

#KeepCreatingUMD is an initiative that creates spaces for the University of Maryland’s artists and humanists to share their works so that anyone can experience UMD’s various cultural offerings from home.

We invite the TDPS community to join the movement to keep creating:

  • Explore for resources, virtual arts and humanities experiences and community engagement updates.
  • Share your thoughts about activities you want to experience or host as you continue learning, teaching and working from home.

Have an idea you want to share? Email Kate Spanos at .
Upcoming events
She Kills Monsters - ONLINE!
 Thursday, May 7, 8PM

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, TDPS has found creative solutions to keep teaching, learning, and creating in an online environment. Originally scheduled for the Kogod Theatre, She Kills Monsters has moved to Zoom and the livestream of this online performance will be on Thursday, May 7 at 8PM. The audience will experience the play in real time as it is performed by actors in their homes.

After the sudden and tragic death of her younger sister Tilly, Agnes Evans discovers a mysterious fantasy gaming notebook that offers clues into her sister’s life. Risking her own real-life relationships, Agnes enters the action-packed world of Dungeons and Dragons brimming with dominatrix warrior women, ogres and fairies to understand Tilly’s world and mourn her death. This touching story draws on nerd culture and queer representation to explore themes of sisterhood, loss and acceptance.

Join us on May 7 at 8PM on our website or on our Facebook page.
The Muses
Saturday, May 9, 5PM

The Muses proudly present their Original Works Project, a memorable night of short plays written, directed, and performed by women who are either current UMD students or alumni. This event showcases new works that will excite and inspire you. Featured playwrights include Kailee Goldberg, Kelli Barfield, Nikki Lust, Margot Trouve, Lyra Yang, and Angela Pablo.

On Saturday, May 9 at 5PM, The Muses will be holding an online viewing of staged readings of these plays. The livestream will be accessible on our Facebook page and on our website . Tune in to see the creative work of our students as they keep creating in this physically distanced world!

More information here .
MFA Design Portfolio Review
 Tuesday, May 12, 12-3PM & 5-8PM

At the end of each academic year, our MFA Design candidates present their design portfolios for review by faculty and local design professionals. This year, the portfolio review will take place on Zoom. Design portfolios include studio projects as well as fully realized academic and professional scenic, costume, lighting or projection designs.

The Zoom room will be open to the public from 12-3PM and 5-8PM on Tuesday, May 12.

To attend, register here. Check out the students' portfolios ahead of the event here.
Photo credit: David Andrews
A celebration of Paul Jackson
 Saturday, May 16, 1PM

Mark your calendars for a celebration of Paul Jackson, who is retiring after 40 years with the dance area at the University of Maryland. He has offered the school his expertise in technical production and lighting design, training countless dance students in the technical aspects of presenting dance.

More information coming soon, so stay tuned to your email.
  Have an event you want to share? Please email
Feature stories
How do you do live theater in a pandemic? U-Md. experiments with Zoom-staged version of ‘She Kills Monsters’

Last week, the Washington Post featured TDPS’ upcoming production of She Kills Monsters , co-directed by Jared Mezzocchi and Lisa Nathans.

“This is what we have been doing calisthenics for—asking a deep research question about how performance in theater can be a part of the scientific method. Can we achieve the essence of theater under these constraints?” —Jared Mezzocchi, co-director

Congrats to everyone on this amazing work!

Read the full story here.
The show must go on: UMD theatre students pivot to virtual show on Zoom

The Diamondback also featured TDPS’ move to an online environment for She Kills Monsters .

“There are elements of fantasy and magic and battle, this otherworldliness, that we can really dive into and explore virtually, that also a live theater doesn’t allow for in the same way." —Lisa Nathans, co-director

Read the full story here .
TDPS Summer Courses
New Vital Theatre Summer Course (online) 
Session dates: Online (3 week course) - 1B (June 22 - July 10)
Instructor: Jennifer Barclay

Register now for New Vital Theatre, an online 3-week, 3-credit analytical and creative course with assistant professor Jennifer Barclay
Course description: New Vital Theatre is for aspiring theatre makers who want to be on the vanguard of explosive, fresh, ground-breaking and inclusive theatre. The class will read brand new plays from the U.S., England, Ireland and Canada; plays which challenge assumptions about storytelling, bring under-represented voices to the forefront, and reimagine how to interact with our audience in the ritual of live performance. In the class, you will analyze these plays as practitioners (playwrights, directors, actors, designers, dramaturgs), and will be challenged to create your own ideas for dreaming forward the art of theatre. Course work will include discussion boards, creative writing exercises and analytical essays, and you can do the work on your own schedule. Our class vocabulary will be centered around the ideas laid forward by the new, industry-shaking book Theatre of the Unimpressed by Jordan Tannahil.

Questions? Email Jennifer Barclay at
THET328R: Voice for Voice-Overs (online)
Session dates: Online (3 week course) - IA (June 1-19) and IIC (July 13-31)
Instructor: Lisa Nathans
Course Description: Learn how to use your voice to make money at home and on the road! This course introduces you to various genres of voice-over acting, including radio/television commercials, audio-book narration, and animation for video games/film/TV. Curriculum focuses on voice-over technique, but touches on the business of the voice-over business, specifically helping you set up your own 'at-home' voice-over recording studio on a budget. Access to a computer and smartphone (or other basic audio recording device) needed.
Credits: Course fulfills supporting credit requirements for theater. 3 credits.
THET328C: Foundations of Screen Acting (online)
Session dates: Online (3 week course) - IB (June 22-July 10) and IID (August 3-21)
Instructor: Lisa Nathans
Course Description: This introductory course offers a step by step process for the performer to dive into the basics of screen acting. Adjusting the actors work from stage to film is emphasized. Technique also includes awareness of eye-line, pacing, and camera angle. Through self-taped/filmed monologue and scene work, students will learn critical tools for performance success in this new virtual medium. Access to a computer and smartphone (or other basic video recording device) needed.
Credits: Course fulfills supporting credit requirements for theater. 3 credits.
THET390 & THET391: Theatre History I & II
Session dates: Online (6 week course) - II (July 13 - August 21)
Instructors: Kelley Holley (Theatre History I) and Q-Mars Haeri (Theatre History II)

Theatre History I: The history of Western theatre from its origins in classical antiquity through the mid-seventeenth century with emphasis on plays and playwrights, architecture and decor, acting and costuming, and significant personalities. Includes explorations of interrelationships between Western theatre and the theatre of other cultures.

Theatre History II: The history of Western theatre from the mid seventeenth century to the early twentieth century, with emphasis on plays and playwrights, architecture and decor, acting and costuming, and significant personalities. Includes explorations of interrelationships between Western theatre and the theatre of other cultures.

Credits: Course fulfills supporting credit requirements for theater. 3 credits.
  • Online dance classes! Follow @UMD_TDPS on Instagram to stay informed about all of the free virtual classes our MFA candidates and faculty are offering during this time. Highlights thus far include ballet, disco, tap, yoga, flatfooting, and many other dance forms taught by dance faculty and MFA dance candidates.

  • Interested in online Pilates classes? MFA Dance candidate Renee Gerardo is teaching classes for Excel Pilates DC for Levels 1 and 2. Level 1 is for anyone with little to no experience and Level 2 is more advanced but accessible to anyone. More information at

  • Single Carrot Theatre is currently accepting applications for their 2020/2021 fellowship program. The fellowship program is designed to provide hands on experience to emerging theater artists, as well as an opportunity to have a working understanding of Baltimore’s premier ensemble theatre. The fellowship is a season-long program that includes administrative and artistic responsibilities. Single Carrot is dedicated to the growth of artists, and the fellowship has been created to introduce emerging theatre artists and administrators to the exciting and demanding world of ensemble theater. Check out their flyer for more info.

  • Dance Place is offering a FREE Virtual Presentation Series. This series consists of performance events and conversations with artists in Dance Place’s 2019-2020 Presentation Series whose work has been postponed in response to COVID-19, many of these artists include TDPS faculty and alumni. All Zoom and Facebook Live links will be posted on Dance Place's website.

  • The Martin E. Segal Center is offering Segal Talks, a daily live streaming conversation with U.S. and Global Theatre Artists on Starting Monday, March 30, 2020. Every Monday through Friday, 12PM EDT.
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The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
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through a commitment to excellence and innovative education.


Kate Spanos, Coordinator of Marketing & Communications
Becky Hill, Graduate Assistant