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Fowler in a solo staged reading of A Christmas Carol at the University of California, Irvine
|Born||February 23, 1939|
Keith Franklin Fowler (born February 23, 1939) is an American actor, director, producer, and educator. He is a professor emeritus of drama and former head of directing in the Drama Department of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts of the University of California, Irvine (UCI),and he is the former artistic director of two LORT/Equity theaters.
In England, he directed the Midlands premiere of Brecht's Mother Courage. The production at the Stratford Hippodrome in spring 1961 led the town's veteran drama criticto compliment the local troupe for daring a type of theater that Sir Peter Hall hesitated to bring to Stratford's just-founded Royal Shakespeare Company.
Fowler earned a doctorate (D.F.A.) at the Yale School of Drama, studying under Nikos Psacharopoulos, director of the Williamstown Theater Festival, who chose Fowler to serve as his assistant, first as resident director of a theater in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where Fowler staged productions of J. B., by Archibald MacLeish, and Romeo and Juliet
In 1969, he was appointed head of the Theater Arts Division of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and artistic director of the Virginia Museum Theater (VMT, now the Leslie Cheek Theater), and he undertook to guide VMT in becoming Richmond's first resident Actors Equity companyand a home for classics and new plays. His productions, beginning with Marat/Sade (the first racially integrated company on the Virginia Museum's stage ), brought controversy into the heart of Richmond's museum district but also drew increased attendance, more than doubling audiences between 1969 and the late 1970s.
Dubbing the professional company "VMT Rep", he drew national attention when in 1973 his second staging of Macbeth, a rather more realistic Stonehenge/historical version starring E.G. Marshall, led Clive Barnes of The New York Times to hail it as the "Fowler 'Macbeth.'" Barnes described the production as "splendidly vigorous, forcefully immediate... probably the goriest Shakespearean production I have seen since Peter Brook's 'Titus Andronicus'." Of Fowler, he wrote, "Virginia is lucky to have him."Alfred Drake also joined the company in 1973 to direct the premiere of Richard Stockton's The Royal Rape of Ruari Macasmunde with Fowler in the title role. International attention arrived in 1975 when Soviet Cultural Consul Viktor Sakovich provided coverage on Moscow Television for Fowler's English-language premiere of Maxim Gorky's Our Father (originally Poslednje). Fowler subsequently produced the New York premiere of the Gorky drama at the Manhattan Theater Club.
In 1977, refusing the museum administration's pressure to censor his premiere of Romulus Linney's play Childe Byron , ... he stood up for what he knew was right."Fowler resigned to serve his Yale alma mater as chief of directing for a year. His departure provoked a public outcry over an alleged pattern of censorship by the museum, with some arts patrons supporting the administration and many standing by Fowler, asserting, for instance, that "no one else can jump in and claim credit for what Dr. Fowler has done
He returned to Richmond in 1978 with his associate director M. Elizabeth Osborn to lease the Empire Theater (since renamed the November Theater), on the border between historically black Jackson Ward and the city's business district, where they founded the American Revels Company.Revels attracted progressive support for appealing to both black and white communities in Richmond. Without intending to enter into Richmond's post-segregation politics, Fowler nevertheless found Revels becoming a rallying point in the late 1970s for re-balancing the two symbiotic communities through art. Funding through the box office and City Council support was affected directly by public favor in a city with a growing black majority.
Following a summer of advance promotion, American Revels' first seasonstarted with strong audiences, including full houses for A Christmas Carol and The Club in the thousand-seat theater. Such peaks in attendance could not be sustained, however, when later play titles, including Othello and I Have a Dream, leaned toward those least likely to afford tickets—the African-American community. Fowler countered by offering free performances to neighboring residents. The plan drew hundreds of African-American theater-goers and began to build a new sector of audience. In the summer of 1979, Richmond's City Council awarded the company a challenge grant, and a patron stepped forward to raise matching funds by sponsoring a performance by entertainer Ray Charles to benefit Revels. The success of the fund drive propelled the company into a second season in which Revels dealt with racial issues head-on by presenting a satire entitled The Black and White Minstrel Show, a parody of the racially split City Council. The season continued with works aimed at all of Richmond;
Still the costs of production were higher than the purses and wallets of many in the core audience could support. American Revels closed after two seasons.
The company had made its mark. Revels mounted fourteen productions between 1978 and 1980. By presenting actors of color and dramas with black themes—alongside classics and "standard" works—the company drew a sizable African-American audience to live theater, many for the first time. Richmonders found that new plays and politically engaged works were not alien to their taste. Also, by resurrecting the long-dormant Empire/November Theater, the troupe pioneered the way for downtown professional theater, most significantly for Theatre IV/Virginia Rep, the subsequent occupant of the November. For such a legacy, many Richmonders remember the company fondly, counting the Revels years as a time of theatrical excitement, and Fowler—in the words of Richmond Lifestyle magazine—as a "Rebel with a Cause."
After closing Revels, Fowler returned to acting at the Pittsburgh Public Theater and joined Yale classmate Robert Cohen, then chair of drama, on the faculty of the University of California, Irvine.
In 1984, he joined Jerzy Grotowski's "Objective Drama" project in the barn and fields south of the UCI campus, working with Grotowski day and night to explore the essential organons and yantras of performance.
From 1996 to 2004, Fowler was the original director of ArtsBridge America, later expanded nationwide, a program created by then dean Jill Beck at UCI in 1996 for granting scholarships to university dance, drama, music, and studio art majors to reintroduce arts education into the depleted curricula of K-12 pupils in local schools.
Born in San Francisco [ citation needed ]to Jack Franklin and Jacqueline Hocking Montgomery Fowler, Keith is a graduate of George Washington High and SF State. After residing for his first 21 years in San Francisco, he went to The Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham, UK, and Yale University's School of Drama for graduate work.
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Richmond is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. It is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Greater Richmond Region. Richmond was incorporated in 1742 and has been an independent city since 1871. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 204,214; in 2019, the population was estimated to be 230,436, making Richmond the fourth-most populous city in Virginia. The Richmond Metropolitan Area has a population of 1,260,029, the third-most populous metro in the state.
Jerzy Marian Grotowski was a Polish theatre director and theorist whose innovative approaches to acting, training and theatrical production have significantly influenced theatre today. He was born in Rzeszów, in South-eastern Poland in 1933 and studied acting and directing at the Ludwik Solski Academy of Dramatic Arts in Kraków and Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in Moscow. He debuted as a director in 1957 in Kraków with Eugène Ionesco's play Chairs and shortly afterwards founded a small Laboratory Theatre in 1959 in the town of Opole in Poland. During the 1960s, the company began to tour internationally and his work attracted increasing interest. As his work gained wider acclaim and recognition, Grotowski was invited to work in the United States and he left Poland in 1982. Although the company he founded in Poland closed a few years later in 1984, he continued to teach and direct productions in Europe and America. However, Grotowski became increasingly uncomfortable with the adoption and adaptation of his ideas and practices, particularly in the US. So, at what seemed to be the height of his public profile, he left America and moved to Italy where he established the Grotowski Workcenter in 1985 in Pontedera, near Pisa. At this centre he continued his theatre experimentation and practice and it was here that he continued to direct training and private theatrical events almost in secret for the last twenty years of his life. Suffering from leukemia and a heart condition, he died in 1999 at his home in Pontedera.
A theatre director or stage director is a professional in the theatre field who oversees and orchestrates the mounting of a theatre production such as a play, opera, dance,drama, musical theatre performance etc. by unifying various endeavors and aspects of production. The director's function is to ensure the quality and completeness of theatre production and to lead the members of the creative team into realizing their artistic vision for it. The director thereby collaborates with a team of creative individuals and other staff to coordinate research and work on all the aspects of the production which includes the Technical and the Performance aspects. The technical aspects include: stagecraft, costume design, theatrical properties (props), lighting design, set design and sound design for the production. The performance aspects include: acting, dance, orchestra, chants, and stage combat.
Woyzeck is a stage play written by Georg Büchner. He left the work incomplete at his death, but it has been posthumously "finished" by a variety of authors, editors and translators. Woyzeck deals with the dehumanising effects of doctors and the military on a young man's life. It is often seen as 'working class' tragedy, though it can also be viewed as having another dimension, portraying the 'perennial tragedy of human jealousy'. The play was admired both by the German naturalist Gerhart Hauptmann and, subsequently, by expressionist playwrights. Woyzeck has become one of the most performed and influential plays in the German theatre repertory.
The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, usually shortened to Marat/Sade, is a 1963 play by Peter Weiss. The work was first published in German.
Romulus Zachariah Linney IV was an American playwright and novelist.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, or VMFA, is a public art museum in Richmond, Virginia, in the United States, which opened in 1936. The museum is owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Private donations, endowments, and funds are used for the support of specific programs and all acquisition of artwork, as well as additional general support.
Charles Sidney Gilpin was one of the most highly regarded stage actors of the 1920s. He played in critical debuts in New York City: the 1919 premier of John Drinkwater's Abraham Lincoln and the lead role of Brutus Jones in the 1920 premiere of Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones, also touring with the play. In 1920, he was the first black American to receive The Drama League's annual award as one of the 10 people who had done the most that year for American theatre.
The Marin Theatre Company (MTC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and professional LORT D regional theater located in Mill Valley, California. Jasson Minadakis is the company's Artistic Director and Keri Kellerman its Managing Director.
The Claire Trevor School of the Arts is an academic unit at the University of California, Irvine, focused on the performing and visual arts. The four departments housed in the school are for art, dance, drama, and music. CTSA has undergraduate programs, masters programs, and a doctoral program in drama conducted jointly with UC San Diego.
Larry Carpenter is an American theatre and television director and producer. In the theatre, he has worked as an Artistic Director, Associate Artistic Director, a Managing Director and General Manager in both the New York and Regional arenas. He also works as a theatre director and is known primarily for large projects, working on musicals and classical plays equally. In television, he works as a director for New York daytime dramas. He has served as Executive Vice President of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the national labor union for professional stage directors and choreographers. He is also a member of the Director's Guild of America PAC.
David Hugh Jones was an English stage, television and film director.
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The Actor's Workshop was a theatre company founded in San Francisco in 1952. It was the first professional theatre on the west coast to premiere many of the modern American classics such as Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, and the world dramas of Beckett, Brecht, Genet and Pinter. For the 1953-1954 season, the Workshop offered six plays: Lysistrata, by Aristophanes; Venus Observed, by Christopher Fry; Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller; a revival of Playboy; The Cherry Orchard, by Anton Chekhov; and Tonight at 8:30, by Noël Coward. On April 15, 1955, the Actor’s Workshop signed the first Off-Broadway Equity contract to be awarded outside New York City.
Jules Irving was an American actor, director, educator, and producer, who in the 1950s co-founded the San Francisco Actor's Workshop. When the Actor's Workshop closed in 1966, Irving moved to New York City and became the first Producing Director of the Repertory Company of the Vivian Beaumont Theater of Lincoln Center.
Childe Byron is a 1977 play by Romulus Linney about the strained relationship between the poet, Lord Byron, and his daughter, Ada Lovelace. Of Linney's more than sixty plays, Childe Byron is one he identified as holding a "deeply personal" connection. In his own words, he approached it through "the pain of a divorced father who can't reach his own daughter." In his narrative poem, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Byron wrote of the female infant he left behind when he went into exile: "I see thee not. I hear thee not. But none can be so rapt in thee.” When Linney re-read these words in preparation for the play, he recalled "My daughter Laura, the actress... her mother and I were separated and divorced when she was a baby, so these lines just laid me out."
M[argaret] Elizabeth (Betty) Osborn,, was a playwright, author, theater director, critic, editor, and educator. From the 1980s to early ‘90s, she was a prominent member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA). She worked for the Theater Communications Group (TCG). Osborn grew up in Gainesville, Florida, and graduated from college Phi Beta Kappa.
Marie Goodman Hunter is an American actor, singer, and educator. She was adopted when young and grew up in Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia. She taught Music and Speech for 30 years at John Marshall High School. A mezzo soprano, she also performed as a soloist in Richmond churches.
Virginia Repertory Theatre is a professional theatre company based in Richmond, Virginia. It was created in 2012 when Barksdale Theatre and Theatre IV, which had shared one staff for over a decade, merged to become one company. With an annual budget of over $5 million, the theatre employs over 240 artists annually and presents seasons at the November Theatre and Theatre Gym at Virginia Rep Center, as well as productions at the Hanover Tavern and The Children's Theatre in The Shops at Willow Lawn. It is currently run under the leadership of Managing Director Phil Whiteway.
Travis Preston is an American director and theater artist known for his staging of classical and contemporary operas and plays. He is the Artistic Director of the CalArts Center for New Performance and Dean of the CalArts School of Theater. His notable works include Prometheus Bound, The Master Builder, Brewsie and Willie, Macbeth and King Lear.