Posts Tagged 'Dallas Theater Center'



Friday Photos: Thank you, Go van Gogh Volunteers!

As the school year draws to a close, it is important for us to recognize the commitment and devotion of our wonderful Go van Gogh volunteers.  Every spring, we organize a special field trip or party to celebrate our volunteers.  Last Friday, we were fortunate to have a behind-the-scenes tour of the Wyly Theatre, led by Dallas Theater Center Director of Education and Community Enrichment Rachel Hull.  Rachel fascinated us with interesting facts about the Theatre and its innovative engineering and productions. Afterward, we walked over for a delicious lunch at The Commissary in One Arts Plaza.  We are lucky to have such delightful neighbors in the Arts District!

Standing in the wings onstage

In the costume room

THANK YOU, Go van Gogh volunteers, for another successful school year!

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Wright in Your Own Backyard

This weekend the Museum will open Line and Form: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Wasmuth Portfolio, an exhibition drawn from a monograph of prints based on drawings produced by the architect and his studio that is widely recognized as one of the most important architectural publications of the 20th century. Having already gained prominence for a number of innovative residential projects in Chicago, Wright collaborated with a German printer in 1910 to create and distribute the portfolio to promote his work to a larger audience in the U.S. and abroad. The portfolio helped establish Frank Lloyd Wright’s reputation, and he went on to a long and prolific career as the century’s most iconic American architect.

As Frank Lloyd Wright’s reputation grew in the decades following the publication of the Wasmuth portfolio, the city of Dallas burgeoned as well; it is no wonder that Dallas’s civic and artistic leaders would look to the foremost American modernist architect to put his stamp on this growing, forward-thinking city.

In 1934 Stanley Marcus – the legendary Dallas stylemaker and retailer – and his wife began plans to build a house for their family in East Dallas, near White Rock Lake. As Mr. Marcus wrote in his autobiography, Minding the Store, the search began with architects based on the East Coast, as “modern architecture had not been discovered in Dallas up to that point.” After interviewing several prominent architects, the Marcuses met with Frank Lloyd Wright to seek his advice on potential candidates; Wright responded, “Why take the imitation while you can still get the original? I’ll do your house.” Unfortunately, the project was never completed with Wright’s designs; the notoriously temperamental architect was fired from the project, and the house was eventually completed by a Dallas-based architect, Roscoe DeWitt.

On Saturday I’m looking forward to attending the Legacies Dallas History Conference and especially to hearing Charles Marshall’s lecture When Frank Met Stanley: Frank Lloyd Wright and Stanley Marcus. Also, the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects publishes a great quarterly publication entitled Columns; the Fall 2010 issue includes two articles about the Stanley Marcus house, which you can read online.

The original model for the Marcus House, as designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Marcus House in its final form, designed by Roscoe DeWitt

Despite a rather inauspicious start, Frank Lloyd Wright did receive several important commissions from Dallas clients throughout his career. Perhaps the most notable project to come to fruition was the Kalita Humphreys Theater, which served as the primary home for the Dallas Theater Center for fifty years – from 1959 until 2009, when the company moved to the Arts District and the new Wyly Theater. Although based on earlier, unrealized theatrical designs, the theater was considered to be very innovative, and it expressed the architect’s long and strongly held principles about integrating a building into context, or the “belief that architecture has an inherent relationship with both its site and its time.” The Kalita Humphreys Theater would become one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s last projects, as he passed away just months before its construction was complete. I enjoyed these interviews with members of the Dallas Theater Center company about working in a Frank Lloyd Wright building.

The plan of the Kalita Humphreys Theater. Image from the Hekman Digital Archive.

The Kalita Humphreys Theater

Take a closer look at Wright’s final project the next time you walk or ride on the Katy Trail along Turtle Creek, and explore his early masterpieces through selections of the Wasmuth portfolio, which will be on view at the DMA from January 30 until July 17, 2011.

Lisa Kays is Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Community Connection: Our Friends and Neighbors

Dear loyal blog readers,

We have a new summer blog post schedule.  Look for new posts on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Have a fabulous summer!

The opening of the AT&T Performing Arts Center last fall brought our friends at the Dallas Theater Center (DTC) to the ever-growing Dallas Arts District.  Having comfortably settled into their new home at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, the DTC has developed programs and collaborations as innovative as the building itself.  Lisa Holland, Director of Education and Community Programs at the DTC, gives us a peek behind the scenes.

Tell us about your new home at the Wyly Theatre.
The Wyly Theatre is remarkable – there’s not another theater like it in the entire world.  The flexibility that it affords is unparalleled and I think that we, as the primary tenants, are going to learn about this building as time goes on.  I think the possibilities are going to be limitless in this building.  I also think our patrons are going to be the lucky beneficiaries of seeing what this building can do.  It’s like a giant transformer.  What that provides to the patron in terms of the audience to artist relationship is going to be powerful and immediate. There’s nothing like it.  

Also, the synergy between other organizations in the Arts District and the potential collaborations that exist now is so thrilling.  I think about how we can collaborate with our friends and family at the Arts District in ways that will be really engaging and exciting.  To walk down the street and see who you’ll run into, or walk down the street and have a meeting at the DMA – it’s exciting. 

Do you ever consider integrating or thinking about works of art related to your programs?
Absolutely.  In the past, we’ve incorporated a visual arts component in our SummerStage program.  I believe that whatever kind of artist you are, you need to “feed your hopper”.  In other words, you pour into yourself different experiences, whether it’s a trip to the zoo or going for a walk and looking at leaves.  You never know what will inform your work as an artist.  

Also, we deal with a lot of visual arts formal elements like color, line, and composition in the theater.  And, we have had collaborative events with the DMA in the past, such as sending artists to the DMA and working with Arts & Letters Live.

Tell us about the Shannon and Ted Skokos Learning Lab, your new partnership with Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
It was brand new this year, and it was a resounding mutual success. Last spring, we auditioned the rising juniors and from that group chose eighteen seniors.  The Learning Lab has three components.  Kevin Moriarty (DTC Artistic Director), Charlton Gavitt (Booker T. Washington High School Theater Cluster Faculty), and I team-taught the class component, which occurred every other day, all year long.  The second component is a twenty-hour internship that students complete outside of class hours.  The final component is a performance project, in which we paired the students with our professional acting company, and they performed ten scenes in the Wyly Theatre with the professional actors.  The students also came to every single show we produced this year, free of charge.  This is a super exciting program, and I don’t think anywhere else has that sort of integrated relationship between a school and a professional theater with that kind of access.  The program is a great example of the kind of collaboration that can happen in the Arts District – it was so simple to walk across the street, teach, and walk back to my office.

How did you come to your position as Director of Education & Community Programs?
I grew up in the theater.  My parents took me to theater and I’ve been a theater student my whole life.  After I earned my graduate degree in directing, I was hired as one of two artistic directing interns at the Dallas Theater Center thirteen years ago.  I was hired to work in the artistic office after my internship year, and I basically never left.  I defected into the education department about halfway through my tenure, but that made sense because my undergraduate degree is in theater education.

What program/performance are you most looking forward to this summer?
We have a program called SUPERStage (SummerStage’s alter ego), where we have theater day camps for kids ages 4-14. I’m also looking forward to our summer production It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s SupermanI’m so excited about having a mainstage show running concurrently with our SUPERtage program.  Our SUPERStage students will have access to what we do in a primary way, and we’re going to enfold into the curriculum what is happening on stage so it becomes a learning lab of sorts.  It’s going to be awesome.  Superman – what can you say – there’s flying  –  it’s Superman!

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community


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