Arts News

Intermediate Sculpture Students Use Noises Off Set to Study Architecture

by Arts Department Chair Eric Oldmixon

Midway through their “Fortress of Solitude” unit creating an architectural model of a place of personal solitude or refuge, DiAnn Montemayor invited the Intermediate Sculpture class over to study architectural drawing. The complex two-story set afforded the students a great opportunity to examine the inner structures of architecture. Working together in groups, they worked to measure and practice the techniques of schematic floor plan and elevation plan drawing. Details of their work will be featured on the cover of the program for Noises Off. Additionally, each student will create a presentation poster, including a detailed floor plan and a photoshopped image of their model in a specific location to exhibit along with the physical models. 

As part of Theater Director Maura Vaughn's participation in the KQED Teach Case Study program, Maura has been teaching podcasting to her Advanced Performance class. They are producing a series of one-on-one teacher interviews called, “Future Conversations,” which we will share when they are completed.

In this podcast the cast of the spring play Noises Off talk about the process of creating a character from a play, and in particular about finding the given circumstance in the script. The Acting Performance class includes: Tempest Baum, William Lamb, Gibson Morris, Christopher Nolan, Anne Overton, Camille Pon, and Isabel Scal.

An online platform, KQED Teach, gives educators “the media skills necessary to bring media production to their learning environments."

Researchers are following Maura as she implements TEACH-related activities this semester and next. 

Body Talk Dance Concert 2018!

Body Talk ’18 is an evening of reworks choreographed by dance director Georgia Ortega from Branson concerts 2009 to 2015. Act Two features original contemporary choreography by guest artists Byb Kongo Bibene, Renée Donovan, Kyle Mitchell, and Isabella Qureshi. Body Talk student choreographers include Allison Benguiat, Charlotte Case, Kate Dilley, Ty Karpa-Wilson, Isabel Scal, and Allie Shimmon. 


Please reserve your seats here.

Broadway Actress Lauren Blackman '98 Teaches Acting Classes

Lauren Blackman '98, who is currently appearing in Anastasia on Broadway, was kind enough to share her vacation time and teach two master classes to Advanced Acting and Acting Performance. (Shown above with her mentor, Theater Director Maura Vaughn.

Thank you, Lauren!

Sophia Leswing '17 sent an update, including this about a project she's working on and would like feedback on:

"Also, a few of my Cal friends and I have started a podcast sharing the stories of local Berkeley homeless to try and help break the stigma surrounding homelessness and humanize the individuals most of us pass by everyday without even acknowledging. It's called People's Park Podcast and we just released our second episode!! Please share this link with anyone you think would be interested.

We also have a Facebook page:"

Maura Vaughn Joins KQED Teach

In September, Theater Director Maura Vaughn was interviewed as the first step in her participation in the KQED Teach Case Study program. According to the KQED Education website, KQED Teach, “our new online learning platform, will support educators’ growing media literacy needs by helping them develop the media skills necessary to bring media production to their learning environments."

Researchers will be following Maura as she implements TEACH-related activities this semester and next. They will connect with her on a regular basis for updates, conduct a classroom observation, and then interview her again at the conclusion.

Maura Vaughn & Georgia Ortega Enrich Practices through Immersive Summer Workshops

Dance Director Georgia Ortega attended a Somatic Dance Conference and Bill Evans Teachers Intensive in Geneva, New York. She also participated in a workshop for certified teachers in the Evans Method of modern dance technique, where she taught a class and gave a presentation on the Branson how she integrates yoga into the Athletic Dance for Men class. 

Theater Director Maura Vaughn attended Broadway Teachers Workshop, a three-day intensive workshop that includes tickets to four shows with post-show cast discussions and eight master classes with Broadway performers, writers, directors and designers.

"I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I picked up the choreography from Hamilton and humbled by hard it was for me to dance on the counts and not the words. I was able to connect with almost a dozen alumni, a few who have just started their journey in the theatrical business and some who are in shows both on and off Broadway," said Maura.

TED-Ed Comes to Branson

Members of the newly established TED-Ed club, created/advised by Maura Vaughn, held an inaugural TED-Ed Night on campus in March. 

To Be Human

Alex Eccles '00 and Maura Vaughn, Director of Theatre, recorded a set of songs from their original musical, To Be Human. Alumni Brendan Ahern '02, Jessica Jacobs '04, Matthew Solomon 11, were among the singers.