Posts Tagged Ernest Briggs

Announcing the 2019 Artist Fellowship Recipients

Program aims to increase the pipeline for under-represented artists

Saint Paul, Minn., March 13, 2019 – Flordelino Lagundino, Park Square Theatre’s John W. Harris Artistic Director, has announced the eight recipients for the pilot year of a new Artist Fellowship program at Park Square: Ricardo Beaird, Ernest Briggs, Mary Capers, Maxwell Collyard, Ashawnti Sakina Ford, Sophie Peyton, Lindsey C. Samples, DJ Kool Akiem Scott.

“Fellowships gave me an inside track at some of the best theatres in the country, advancing my artistry and building my network,” says Lagundino. “We were delighted to receive 58 applications this year. It’s important to me that in our work at Park Square we find ways to open doors and build a pipeline for all early career theatre artists, especially for marginalized communities such as indigenous, people of color, and LGBTQA artists, in order to create a greater sense of belonging for everyone in our community.”

The first year of the new theatre fellowship program is made possible by major grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Saint Paul’s Cultural STAR program. Fellows will deepen and develop new skills over the upcoming year in residence by participating in projects which will connect them to Park Square and the Saint Paul/larger Twin Cities’ community.

For the 2019 fellowships, there were five assistant directing tracks and three assistant designer tracks assigned (design may be in any theatrical design medium: set, costume, lights, props, sound, or projections). Each fellow will assist on two shows from early stages through final production, and will have a voice in production meetings, planning, rehearsals, and direct collaboration with lead production staff and the Artistic Director.

Collectively, the fellows will form a self-directed cohort of emerging leaders and may participate in the various department functions at Park Square in areas such as casting, season planning, carpentry, electrics, wardrobe or run crew, and in budgeting, human resources or marketing. Additionally, there will be opportunities to meet with artistic leaders at Park Square’s partner theatres as well as other area theatrical institutions. To involve the fellow cohort with the wider community, staff support, and dedicated resources will be provided to help each fellow create an engagement experience as a part of Park Square’s mission to center artmaking within the ongoing dialogue we have with our community.

At the end of the fellowship year, the cohort will participate in an Evening Cabaret Performance in which Twin Cities Artistic Leaders will be invited. This culminating event will be co-hosted with the MN Theatre Alliance. Feedback will be considered for the planning of future iterations and development of the program.

Park Square’s community partners in this program include Springboard for the Arts, the MN Theatre Alliance, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Theatre Mu, the History Theatre, PRIME Productions, and the East Side Freedom Library.

Headshots of recipients HERE  BIOS follow below.

Ricardo Beaird [Director Track] is a theatre maker and teaching artist from Nashville who recently performed at Park Square in Dot and Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. Currently, Ricardo is an actor/presenter at the Science Museum of Minnesota. This year, he was selected to be a Red Eye Theater Works-In-Progress artist with his collaborator, Megan Burns.

Ernest Briggs [Director] is a professional actor and Twin Cities native who has worked in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and Florida. Ernest received his Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Florida. He has worked locally as an actor with Mixed Blood Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Girl Friday Productions, Minnesota History Theatre, Artistry Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Teatro Del Pueblo, Pillsbury House Theatre, Turtle Theatre Collective, South Coast Repertory (CA), Tilted Windmills Theatricals (FL) and various feature films. He has also directed productions for the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Nimbus Theatre and various short films.

Mary Capers [Design] is a wig designer from South Jamaica Queens, New York. She has a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Fredonia and a pending Master of Fine Arts in Theatrical Design and Production from Brooklyn College. She has worked at various theatres around the country and is happy to finally call the Twin Cities home.

Maxwell Collyard [Design] is an interdisciplinary theatre/film artist based in the Twin Cities working mainly with digital content and live performance. Maxwell designed projections for Turtle Theater Collective, Theatre Novi Most, Frank Theatre, and the Playwrights’ Center. He also works as a cinematographer/editor for various fundraisers, Mixed Blood Theatre/Project 154, and with Fox and Coyote, Annie and the Bang Bang, Daniel Bonespur, and Porno Wolves to create music videos. He enjoys making movies in his spare time and is currently preparing a feature-length film for festivals. Maxwell also works as an actor and assistant director for theatres in the Twin Cities.

Ashawnti Sakina Ford [Director] is an actress, teaching artist, improviser, playwright, poet and director born and raised in the Twin Cities. Her work is typically centered in social change and arts accessibility. She recently co-founded The Black Ensemble Players theatre company to give rising black artists the opportunity to work on classical and new theatre. She is also a member of Blackout Improv which was recently recognized as a Minnesota Change-maker by MPR. Ashawnti has been seen on stages including the History Theatre and the Guthrie Dowling studio and has worked with companies including Full Circle Theatre, Sandbox Theatre and Combustible.

Sophie Peyton [Director] is a freelance director, dramaturg, and community engagement coordinator. Originally from Boston, she moved to Minneapolis to further her career in new play development and artistic administration. She holds a B.A. from Temple University and has worked on the administrative and producing staff at McCarter Theatre Center, Wilma Theater, and PlayPenn: New Play Development Conference. Regional credits include Minnesota Opera, Trademark Theater, History Theatre, Park Square Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, and Wilma Theater. She’s had the pleasure of assisting directors Emily Mann, Adam Immerwahr, Jamil Jude, Peter Rothstein, and Doug Scholz-Carlson.

Lindsey C. Samples [Director] is a multidisciplinary theater artist. She believes art is a critical ingredient in fostering a healthy society and creating necessary social change. As a director, performer, teaching artist, and arts administrator, she has used theater as a bridge to be in conversation across communities, geography, cultures, languages, abilities, and identities. Lindsey holds a B.A. in Theater from Loyola University Chicago and an M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota.

DJ Kool Akiem Scott [Design] is an educator, teaching artist, renowned DJ, composer, sound designer, and producer. Widely recognized as a pioneer of the Twin Cities Hip-Hop community, he’s produced for the legendary Micranots, was DJ for MF Doom’s domestic and European tours, and has performed with artists such as Public Enemy, De La Soul, The Roots, Grandmaster Flash, and Jazzy Jeff. Kool Akiem has produced seven albums, many of which are critically acclaimed that released on Rhymesayers Entertainment, Subverse Records, and Mental Madness Wreckords. He has held DJ residencies in New York and Atlanta, and hosted radio shows including The Panther Power Hour on WRFG (Atlanta) and WEQY (Saint Paul). His expertise and philosophies on Sampling and Hip Hop pedagogy have been featured in several books including Five Percenter Rap by Felicia Miyakawa and Making Beats by Joseph Schlosh. He composed original scores for the award-winning stage play Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals (Theater Mu), was DJ for Illyria (Theater Latte Da), a sound designer for The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up (Theater Mu) and was recently commissioned to compose the theme song for Kung Fu Zombies vs Shaman Warrior (Smithsonian). He taught Hip Hop Music History at McNally Smith College of Music and conducts DJ and recording residencies and workshops for all ages as a teaching artist through COMPAS, East Metro Integration District and Intermedia Arts.

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PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. Ticket Office: 651.291.7005. parksquaretheatre.org

Girl Friday Productions Stages 1943 Pulitzer Prize Winning Masterpiece THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH

Park Square Theatre, peforming arts community hub with two stages in Saint Paul, Minnesota             

 

Girl Friday Productions Stages 1943 Pulitzer Prize Winning Masterpiece
THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH by Thornton Wilder

Media Contact: Connie Shaver
612.308.5785 shaver@parksquaretheatre.org
Tickets: 651.291.7005 or
parksquaretheatre.org

St. Paul, MN, Jan. 8, 2019 – A surprisingly modern and optimistic tribute to the invincibility of the human spirit, Thornton Wilder’s THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, produced by Girl Friday Productions and directed by Joel Sass, opens February 9, 2019 on the proscenium stage at Park Square Theatre. Girl Friday Productions brings its signature large ensemble cast to this comedy of epic proportions.

“All I ask is the chance to build new worlds…” – Mr. Antrobus in THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH.

Winner of the 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH juxtaposes everyday life with the historical and mythological past to create a wonderfully odd world. The play follows the adventures of an eternal American family residing in prehistoric and contemporary New Jersey who prevail over a series of apocryphal catastrophes. The ice age, the great flood, world war, family strife, political conventions… the Antrobus family, their maid Sabina, and a host of other characters survive through eons of calamity with their hope intact. Continually facing the end of days, humanity perseveres. This 75-year old comedy about resilience and hope feels fresh and profoundly relevant for today.

Girl Friday Productions is offering a rare opportunity for Twin Cities’ audiences: the last local professional production of THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH was their own. “When Girl Friday first explored this work in 2009, our country was in the depth of economic crisis,” says Girl Friday Productions Artistic Director Kirby Bennett. “Ten years later, we find ourselves at a time of moral peril, facing different yet familiar world calamities: conflicts at home and abroad, a refugee crisis, climate change, a loss of faith in our leaders, a loss of hope. THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH explores all this and more, in ways that are at once unexpected, hilarious and moving. And where else will you see a dinosaur and mammoth onstage?”

Acclaimed Twin Cities’ theatre artist Joel Sass is both directing and creating the scenic design for THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH. A longtime collaborator and advisor to Girl Friday Productions, Sass previously designed sets for Girl Friday Productions’ OUR TOWN and STREET SCENE. His work has been seen regionally and nationally at the Guthrie Theater, Jungle Theater, Park Square Theatre, History Theatre, Open Eye, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arizona Theatre Company, among many others. A prolific director, designer and adaptor, and winner of multiple local and national awards, Sass is among the most lauded theatre artists in the region.

“So many people read the play for the first time and cannot believe it was written in 1942,” comments Sass. “THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH still feels utterly fresh, edgy, funny and topical—and if it were written this year it would still be worthy of its Pulitzer Prize. A particular joy of working on this production will be the double opportunity to collaborate with a handful of people I’ve known and grown with for nearly two decades—and another group of amazing talents I have admired around town but not yet worked with. Together we will tackle this ‘mammoth’ of a script and bring its humor, political critique and optimism to a new audience.”

Actors Alayne Hopkins as Sabina, John Middleton as Mr. Antrobus and Kirby Bennett as Mrs. Antrobus lead Girl Friday Productions’ stellar ensemble cast of 15, which features many Twin Cities’ favorites as well as upcoming talent. The full cast includes: Kirby Bennett, Ernest Briggs, Pedro Juan Fonseca, Wendy Freshman, Kathryn Fumie, Alayne Hopkins, Sam Landman, Alice McGlave, John Middleton, Victoria Pyan, James Ramlet, Taj Ruler, Neal Skoy, Mike Swan and Dana Lee Thompson. Joining Sass on the exceptional design team are: Lighting Designer Mike Kittel, Costume Designer Kathy Kohl, Projections Designer Kathy Maxwell, Sound Designer C Andrew Mayer and Properties Designer Rick Polenek.

THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund; and by the Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program. THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH is being produced by Girl Friday Productions as part of Park Square’s “Theatres in Residence” Series.

Photo of Alayne Hopkins as Sabina by Richard Fleischman HERE
Group photo by Richard Fleischman HERE. Pictured left to right Front row: Taj Ruler, Kathryn Fumie, Neal Skoy, Back row: Dana Lee Thompson, Kirby Bennett, John Middleton, Alayne Hopkins, Ernest Briggs.

About Girl Friday Productions
“It’s wonderful to see these rarely produced gems.” – Girl Friday Productions audience member

The little company that does big plays, Girl Friday Productions focuses on larger scale American plays of exceptional literary merit that are less frequently produced today. The company’s mission is to nurture artists, inspire audiences and illuminate the human condition. Girl Friday Productions chooses to focus on a singular major project every other year. This approach maximizes efforts to work with challenging texts, large and skilled ensemble casts, and distinguished directors and designers. Girl Friday Productions’ work is characterized by exceptional literature, humanity, relevance and stimulating theatricality.

Founded in 2004 by Artistic Director Kirby Bennett, Girl Friday Productions’ most recent productions were IDIOT’S DELIGHT (Lavender Magazine notable performances in 2017), THE MATCHMAKER (2015 year-end recognition from Twin Cities Theatre Bloggers), CAMINO REAL (Lavender Magazine notable performances in 2013) and STREET SCENE (2011 “Top Ten”/Year End Highlights in the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press and Lavender Magazine; Ivey Award for director). Other highlights include THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH (MinnPost “Favorite for 2009”) and OUR TOWN (Pioneer Press’ “Top Ten Shows of 2007”).

Girl Friday Productions presents THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH by Thornton Wilder
February 7 – March 3, 2019

Location: Park Square Theatre’s Proscenium Stage
Historic Hamm Building in Downtown Saint Paul
20 West Seventh Place
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Tickets: Preview: $20/$27/$37; Regular Run: $25/$40/$60; discounts for seniors, students,
age 30 & under, groups, fringe buttons, MPR members, active military personnel; Pay What You Wish February 25.

Tickets: parksquaretheatre.org or call 651.291.7005 (noon – 5:00 p.m. Tuesday – Friday)
Information and company website: girlfridayproductions.org

Performance Schedule (18 performances over 4 weeks)
Evening shows at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm. The specific performance dates are:
Thursday, February 7 at 7:30 pm Preview
Friday, February 8 at 7:30 pm Preview
Saturday, February 9 at 7:30 pm Opening night and reception
Sunday, February 10 at 2 pm

Wednesday, February 13 at 7:30 pm Post show discussion
Thursday, February 14 at 7:30 pm
Friday, February 15 at 7:30 pm Audio description and sensory tour
Saturday, February 16 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, February 17 at 2:00 pm

Thursday, February 21 at 7:30 pm
Friday, February 22 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, February 23 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, February 24 at 2:00 pm American Sign Language and post show discussion
Monday, February 25 at 7:30 pm Pay What You Wish

Thursday, February 28 at 7:30 pm
Friday, March 1 at 7:30 pm Open captioning
Saturday, March 2 at 7:30 pm Open captioning
Sunday, March 3 at 2:00 pm Open captioning, closing performance

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