FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Missy McTamney
College Park, MD— The National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts (NACTA) will join the University of Maryland’s (UMD) School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) for a three-week collaboration beginning October 28th that focuses on sharing each culture’s unique approach to theatrical production and theatre technology. Two junior professors and one graduate student from NACTA will spend three weeks in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center on the UMD campus working side-by-side with TDPS faculty, students and production staff. The visit is part of a five-year NACTA-TDPS partnership that began in 2012 with the bi-lingual co-production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed in both College Park, MD and Beijing, China.
The collaboration allows Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies faculty, students and Center staff to share their culturally fundamental approach to stage and production management with their Beijing colleagues. This approach typically includes a professional stage manager and/or technical director to coordinate production detail and technical functions, freeing the director to focus on the performance and story-telling elements of the production. These technical roles are not part of the creative staff of a NACTA theatre production, nor part of the training at NACTA. NACTA visitors will shadow TDPS faculty and staff, engage with TDPS students and participate in rehearsals and classroom activities.
As part of this artistic exchange, the Chinese visitors will share with TDPS their approach to theatre training, which has evolved from centuries-old customs that place high value on longevity and preservation of the Eastern Chinese Opera art form. TDPS students will experience the traditional Chinese method of art-making, one that is deeply rooted in principles of discipline and precision from a culture that focuses on the ritual and rigor of their ancient art form. The UMD students will collaborate with the Chinese to consider ways to integrate western-style stage management into those traditions, potentially creating an entirely new form of classical-contemporary Chinese performance.
Both NACTA and TDPS participants will experience how the marriage of technology and the human spirit evoked in performance is shaped by one’s culture and traditions.
“Seeing the one’s art from the lens of a different culture allows our students a rare perspective into their shared humanity and creative potential,” said Leigh Wilson Smiley, director of TDPS. “That insight makes us all better able to appreciate the transformative energy intrinsic to the performing arts.”
The NACTA-TDPS partnership will reconvene in fall 2014 for a theatre technology symposium in Beijing, folding other leading theatre schools into their collaboration. Included in the Beijing Symposium with TDPS will be Yale School of Drama, London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Binghampton SUNY and Central Academy of Fine Arts in Shanghai China.
About the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts
Founded in 1950, the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts is the only institute of its kind in China that offers both B.A. and M.A. degrees. Dedicated to the training of professionals in the performance and history of traditional Chinese opera, the Academy carries forward these ancient and traditional forms of theatre around the world.
NACTA attaches great importance to international exchanges and has welcomed students from across the globe to further their studies in Chinese language, culture and Xiqu (Chinese traditional Opera) performing arts.
About the UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
The University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies advances and transforms the research and practice of theatre, dance and performance studies through its commitment to excellence and innovative education in the performing arts. They envision a School that serves as a national model for collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship in the performing arts.
TDPS is located within the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a premier presenting arts venue and collaborative laboratory for professional artists, teachers and students, serving the university and community. Because of their co-location with the Clarice Smith Center, TDPS is unique in their ability to interact on a daily basis with a staff of more than 20 highly skilled production professionals.
Located on the University of Maryland campus and a part of the College of Arts and Humanities, the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) is a dynamic community of artist-scholars who advance and transform the research and practice of their art forms. The School is committed to collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship. TDPS, the School of Music and Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library share a space within the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a premier presenting arts venue and collaborative laboratory for professional artists, teachers and students, serving the university and community.