Visiting Artists Will Lead #HereToo Gun Violence Exploration Project and Performance

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Tectonic Theater Project members and co-creators of the national #HereToo Project, Barbara Pitts McAdams and Jimmy Maize will work with B.A. Theatre students during a two-week residency, Nov. 3 to 15, on the creation of their national project exploring the subject of gun violence.

#HereToo is a two-pronged project involving a web portal to aggregate stories, images, and media clips that will inform an original "Laramie-Project-like" interview-based play chronicling the first-person experiences of gun violence survivors and the work of young activists across the United States.

Pitts McAdams, a sought after director/lead deviser of new works, often dealing with social justice themes, made her debut visit to Penn State in spring 2019, when she worked with B.A. Theatre students to create moment work intended to inform the larger #HereToo Project. Students provided a 45-minute public performance-in-progress, titled #HereToo@PennState, to showcase the work.

This semester, Maize will join McAdams as #HereToo co-creator, along with project associate and the March for Our Lives New York State Action Director, Kylie Vincent. Together, they will work with students to create an evening-length devised performance about gun culture as it impacts communities across the nation.

Many students involved in this fall's residency work participated in the #HereToo@PennState project launch last spring, including Freddie Miller, bachelor of arts theater studies sophomore.

"Being able to be a part of the November #HereToo residency is truly an opportunity to put my training that I have received as a student in the School of Theatre to use," said Miller. "It allows me to use my skills as an artist to participate in something bigger than myself. Not to mention, being able to be in the same room as the writers of The Laramie Project and being able to learn from them is a dream come true in itself."

Both residencies have been organized by School of Theatre Associate Professor Jeanmarie Higgins and co-sponsored by the Penn State School of Theatre and the Arts & Design Research Incubator. According to Higgins, the bachelor of arts program in theater studies develops resourceful artist-scholars who experience all aspects of the theater event-from writing or devising a text, to designing spaces, to developing audiences, to performing. "Some of our program's most exciting work results from residencies with internationally renowned guest artists, such as these two individuals" she said.

Barbara Pitts McAdams is co-author of "MOMENT WORK: Tectonic Theater Project's Process of Devising Theater." McAdams was an actor/co-creator in the original company of Tectonic's "The Laramie Project" and appears in the HBO film version (shared Emmy Nomination, Best Adapted Screenplay).

Jimmy Maize is a writer/director/designer and member of Tectonic Theatre Project. Tectonic collaborations include "33 Variations" (Broadway, starring Jane Fonda), "The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later" (BAM), "I Am My Own Wife" (Broadway, Pulitzer Prize), "One Arm" (The New Group), as well as teaching Moment Work nationally and internationally through Tectonic's Education and Community Engagement Department. He is currently the U.S. associate director on Broadway's "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," and is slated to mount upcoming productions in San Francisco and Toronto.

The #HereToo performances are free and open to the public. They will take place at Pavilion Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 and Friday, Nov. 15. No tickets are required.

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