Performing and Connecting in our Virtual World

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
November 13, 2020

While all of our programs have had to find new ways to connect during the pandemic, the performing arts have had to go further to pivot than many other disciplines. Performing Arts and Arts Leadership faculty, students, and staff demonstrated their abilities to pivot in Fall Quarter. They presented Seattle University Choirs first virtual performance under the direction of Dr. Leann Conley-Holcom, Director of Choral and Vocal Activities, and an online production of Anton Chekov’s Three Sisters, adapted and directed by Ki Gottberg, Professor, Theatre.

“Candlelight Carol” and “Remembering Decembers”

Red and gold candles on black backgroundFor more information and to join the virtual audience, like or follow Seattle U Choirs on Facebook and Instagram (@seattleuchoirs.)

For the holiday season, Seattle University Choirs will present two virtual performances under the direction of Director Leann Conley-Holcom, Assistant Director Lee Peterson and Guest Producer Stephen O’Bent.

The performance of John Rutter's lovely, evocative "Candlelight Carol" is generously sponsored by the Office of the Provost. The performance will be premiered in the Provost’s Fall 2020 Holiday Card, which will be distributed on December 3, and released to the public on December 7. This piece, sung by candlelight, has become a beloved closing song at December concerts in recent years. 

Scheduled to be released on December 14 is a collaboration between the Seattle University Choirs and the DigiPen Vocal Ensemble from DigiPen Institute of Technology (led by Assistant Professor and Conductor of Choirs Stephen O'Bent). This virtual performance features "Remembering Decembers," a heartwarming and poignant piece by the popular enigmatic composer known as Pink Zebra.

The Zoom Where it Happens

Directing class on Zoom screen with stage curtains on edges

Wednesday, November 18, 7:30 p.m. Zoom Link

Thursday, November 19 7:30 p.m.  Zoom Link

Thirteen adventurous theatre students learned to direct and produce plays on Zoom this fall. They will present two evenings of 10-minute plays with student actors (and alumni.) Each night features a different set of plays. 

Arts Leadership Book Club, December 9 and 10

Register for the free Zoom events here.

The Arts Leadership Program's 2021-2021 Book Club and the Office of Alumni Engagement at Seattle University are partnering for a two-part session of Reading Redhawks, featuring “Imagining Seattle: Social Values in Urban Government” with author Dr. Serin Houston and Dr. Jasmine Jamillah Mahmoud, Assistant Professor, Performing Arts & Arts Leadership.

Image of poster for the Fall Book ClubDecember 9, Dr. Houston will give a talk about her book followed by Q&A led by Dr. Mahmoud.

December 10, Dr. Mahmoud will facilitate a mapping exercise with attendees inspired by the text. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blank piece of paper and crayons and markers in the following colors: black, brown, purple, blue, green, yellow, and red. Materials can be flexible, but this will help to drop into the exercise fully.

Support Black-owned bookstores and purchase your book from Estelita's Library.

Jasmine Mahmoud is an urban ethnographer and performance historian who engages contemporary artistic practices, race, policy, and geography. Her fields and interests include: theater and performance studies, political economy, arts and cultural policy, black aesthetics, theories of the avant-garde, feminist/queer of color critique, and anti-racist, decolonial neighborhood processes beyond gentrification/displacement.

Serin Houston is an Assistant Professor of Geography and International Relations at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Serin D. Houston’s research draws on qualitative methods and a geographic perspective to examine questions of equity and justice from the individual to the global scale. Her book, Imagining Seattle: Social Values in Urban Governance (2019), uses Seattle as a lens to analyze the translation of sustainability, creativity, and social justice from theory into praxis. Studying not only what policies and programs say, but also how they work in practice, Houston finds that racism and classism, matched with market-driven mandates, constrain the realization of these social values within the urban governance of Seattle, Washington.

Uncharted Waters, March 4-13, 2021

Tickets on sale beginning February 4, 2021, the link will be available on the

Three paper sailboats near the ocean shoreSeattle University Theatre faculty, students, and staff are embarking on a new adventure for Winter Quarter with Uncharted Waters, a collaboration with the University of Washington School of Drama and Cornish College of the Arts’ Theatre program. With a cross-town theatrical collaboration the likes of which Seattle has never seen, the partners invite the community to join us as we meet the challenges of isolation with radical togetherness. The tri-production will run March 4 through 13, 2021.

Seattle U Performing Arts and Arts Leadership Chair Rosa Joshi (Bring Down the House, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, upstart crow collective) directs William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Cornish College of the Arts’ Sheila Daniels (Indecent, Seattle Rep; The Wolves, ACT Theatre) and UW Drama acting alum Porscha Shaw (Nina Simone: Four Women, Seattle Rep; Saint Joan, ArtsWest) co-direct a devised piece in response to themes in Shakespeare’s play. Both productions will feature student casts from all three schools, and the artistic and production work of students, faculty, and staff from all three schools, and both will be rehearsed and performed entirely online.