Creative Class of 2015: Katie Campbell

Katie CampbellKatie Campbell is a director, performer, and teaching artist. She is originally from North Carolina but for six years has found an artistic home in Little Rock as a company member with the Arkansas Art Center Childrenʼs Theater (AACCT), director and performer with the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, and improvisor with ImprovLittleRock and The Joint Venture.  She is also the co-founder and co-director of the youth improv comedy company, Armadillo Rodeo.

Campbell is a 2015 Jim Henson Family Grant recipient for her devised and directed shadow puppet play for young people, The Ugly Duckling.  That production recently played to sold out houses at the AACCT Studio Series enrapturing children and adults alike.

She has an MFA in directing Theatre for Young Audiences from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is also an alumna of the North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied acting with Tanya Belov, voice with Mary Irwin, circus arts with Dikki Ellis, and movement/mask work with Robert Francesconni and Mollie Murry.

Some of her favorite roles include Adriana in The Comedy of Errors with the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre (2010); Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac and Barbara in Night of the Living Dead AACCT Studio Series (2008);  Mouse in If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, If You Take a Mouse to School, and Merry Christmas Mouse! (AACCT Mainstage 2007-12).

Studio Show series of Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre launches with THE UGLY DUCKLING

aac ct ss UglyDuckling_posterThis year, the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre features three Studio Shows in addition to its mainstage shows.  Up first, The Ugly Duckling, Aug. 28-Sept. 6, 2015.

Devised and directed by Katie Campbell, The Ugly Duckling is a reimagining of the classic fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen. It follows a young girl as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and personal transformation. This shadow play unfolds with three actor-puppeteers, two overhead projectors, nearly 100 paper puppets.

“The striking and graphic simplicity of the paper cutting along with the inherently cinematic quality of overhead projector puppetry lays the aesthetic foundation for the production,” Campbell said. “There is no dialogue as the narrative unfolds entirely in the visual language of puppetry and the emotional topography of music.”

Campbell, a North Carolina native, made her home in Little Rock eight years ago when she became a company member with the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre. The Ugly Duckling stemmed from a thesis project as she pursed an MFA in directing theatre for young audiences at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

“It happened out of necessity—I needed a story that could be told with very few actors and a minimalist set in order to share a tour van with another student,” Campbell said. “But I believe in the story so much. I love telling stories of personal transformation, so it was a natural fit for me to reimagine Andersen’s classic but to adapt it from my personal life lens.”

After touring in North Carolina, Campbell contacted the AACCT to gauge their interest in her show. “There’s never been a single idea that Brad [Bradley Anderson, AACCT artistic director] has said ‘no’ to,” Campbell said. “He and the Arts Center are just so supportive and encouraging of anyone with artistic ambition.”

Before the show could begin at the AAC Children’s Theatre, Campbell needed to find new music since the University of North Carolina at Greensboro owned the rights to the original scores. Enter the Jim Henson Foundation.

The Ugly Duckling was the recipient of a 2015 Jim Henson Foundation Family Grant which celebrates innovation and excellence in puppetry. The grant allowed Campbell to approach Jessica Drake Mosher to compose and arrange new, original music.

The two met through a mutual friend on Facebook, and after only a few months of comparing notes, the ensemble was complete. Mosher’s music will be performed live by a 15-piece ensemble from the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra, directed by Geoffrey Robson.

“I have long been interested in collaborating with the Arkansas Arts Center and this is a wonderful opportunity for a first collaboration,” said Robson, associate conductor for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

“I was even more excited that Katie was commissioning new music to be written for this production,” Robson said. “It is always a thrill to be involved in a world premiere, and to give students the opportunity to work with a living composer. Performing a piece of music for the first time is a unique learning experience, and it is a thrill that all of this is happening as the Arts Center kicks off its Studio Series.”

“This is a true collaboration of arts organizations,” Campbell said. “I just consider myself a caretaker of this project because it would not have been possible without any of them.”

After the 36-minute show, the audience is invited to participate in a hands-on demonstration of the shadow puppetry process.

The Ugly Duckling is presented by The Philip R. Jonsson Foundation and sponsored by the Jim Henson Foundation. The 2015/2016 season of the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre is sponsored by: Presenting Sponsor, Arkansas BlueCross Blue Shield; Fall Season Sponsor, Centennial Bank; Spring Season Sponsors, The Fine Arts Club of Arkansas and Dr. Loren Bartole, ‘Family Foot Care’; Additional Support Provided by The Morris Foundation and Media Sponsor, Little Rock Family Magazine.

Show times: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices: $10 General admission, $8 for Arkansas Arts Center members

BEND, examining Japanese American experience in World War II, to be presented tonight

Bend-DrawingCloseUp72-bannerTonight at 7pm at the Ron Robinson Theater, the Arkansas Archeological Survey presents a play about the Japanese American experience during World War II.
Kimi Maeda’s solo performance, Bend, tells the true story of two men interned in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II: Maeda’s father, an Asian Art historian currently suffering from dementia, and the subject of his research, Isamu Noguchi, a half-Japanese-half-American sculptor. Weaving together live feed projections of sand drawings with archival footage from the 1940s, Maeda’s performance poses important questions about how the Japanese American internment camps will be remembered.
The Arkansas Archeological Survey is partnering with the World War II Japanese American Internment Museum, the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s Japanese Club, and the University of Arkansas in Little Rock (UALR) to help teach the public about the state’s rich history. Art, particularly the performance and active creation of art, as Maeda does, is an important way to communicate the emotion of past events. Bend will be performed in Little Rock and McGehee. Dr. Johanna Miller-Lewis, a historian at UALR, and Richard Yada, who was born at Rohwer, will participate in a talk back session following the performance.
Bend in Little Rock – Thursday, August 27, 7 PM
Ron Robinson Theater
100 River Market Avenue
Purchase your tickets now. $10.00

New this year at Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre – Three Studio Shows

arkartsRecognized by The Drama League as one of the best regional theatre companies in America, the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre is the only professional company in Arkansas that produces children’s literary works for the stage.

New this year, AACCT will also feature three Studio Shows: The Ugly Duckling; Apollo: To the Moon and The Odyssey. The Ugly Duckling is a recipient of the 2015 Jim Henson Foundation Family Grant which celebrates innovation and excellence in puppetry. It will feature original music performed live by an ensemble from the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra, directed by Geoffrey Robson. The Ugly Duckling is presented by The Philip R. Jonsson Foundation and sponsored by The Jim Henson Foundation.

Studio Shows are intended to provide space to explore new ideas and themes, and appeal to a different audience than Main Stage shows. Smaller in size and budget, Studio Shows are intended to showcase actors and ideas over scenery and properties.

Theatre doors open 30 minutes prior to show for seating.

 The Ugly Duckling

 August 28 – September 6, 2015

 Show times: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

 Ticket prices: $10 General admission, $8 for Arkansas Arts Center members

 Best enjoyed by kindergarten and up.

This reimagining of the classic fairytale follows a young girl as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and personal transformation. This shadow play unfolds with three actor-puppeteers, two overhead projectors, more than 60 paper puppets and original music performed live by an ensemble from the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra, directed by Geoffrey Robson. The Ugly Duckling is a recipient of the 2015 Jim Henson Foundation Family Grant which celebrates innovation and excellence in puppetry. Presented by The Philip R. Jonsson Foundation and sponsored by The Jim Henson Foundation. Devised and Directed by Katie Campbell; Music by Jessica Drake Mosher.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/theater.

 

 Apollo: To the Moon

 October 9-11, 2015

 Show times: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

 Ticket prices: $10 General admission, $8 for Arkansas Arts Center members

 Best enjoyed by all ages.

So what does it take to get to the moon? In this history-packed celebration of our American Space Program, young astronaut-hopeful Scott Gibson learns that it takes more than just a rocket and a space helmet: It takes math, science, physical stamina, mental perseverance—and, oh yes, a dream. Originally produced by Smithsonian’s Discovery Theatre. Written by Mary Hall Surface; Directed by John Isner; With music by Lori Isner.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/theater.

 

 The Odyssey  

 February 19-28, 2016

 Show times: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

 Ticket prices: $10 General admission, $8 for Arkansas Arts Center members

 Best enjoyed by third grade and up.

Homer’s epic poem comes vibrantly alive in a fusion of music, dance, mime, masks, and choral effects. Enduring Poseidon’s wrath, King Odysseus faces witches, sirens and a cyclops as he wends his way—literally through Hell and high water—to his home and the long-suffering love of his queen Penelope. Adapted for the stage by Keith Smith, Music by Lori Isner.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/theater.

 

The 2015/2016 season of the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre is sponsored by: Presenting Sponsor, Arkansas BlueCross Blue Shield; Fall Season Sponsor, Centennial Bank; Spring Season Sponsors, The Fine Arts Club of Arkansas and Dr. Loren Bartole, ‘Family Foot Care’; Additional Support Provided by The Morris Foundation and Media Sponsor, Little Rock Family Magazine.