The Theatre Program hosts visiting artists who work directly with students on specific projects. Students as well as the larger community have the opportunity to observe and participate in the artist’s creative process. This approach to arts education, which includes artist talks, open studios, and public programming, fosters community-building and provides a catalyst for social change.
* made possible by the Pigott Family Endowment for the Arts
An Interview with Guest Director Erin Murray
Article and Images by Nic Parsons
Behind the scenes this quarter at Seattle University is guest artist Erin Murray, director of our program’s main stage production, “You On The Moors Now,” by Jaclyn Backhaus. Erin Murray is a femme-focused theatre artist from University place WA whose love of theatre began at the age of 13. While her first experience with the world of live performance was at an acting camp at age 7, she truly left her heart in Ashland, OR during her first encounter with the annual “Oregon Shakespeare Festival,” and by age 18 she already directed her first full-length production: Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story.”
Murray graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies where she soon thereafter began her career in earnest as a director, producer, and storyteller. A fan of big choices and bright colors, SU’s theatre program is incredibly lucky and grateful to have her on our staff for this Winter. In a recent interview with Murray, she was asked to tell us a bit more about why she chose this show in particular.
“What has really taken my breath away about this play,” Murray mentioned, “is the sheer amount of information and research that was required to take a strong direct stance on this material. This is a play that demands a point of view because the written text is so deliciously open.” Her open mindedness and experience with empowering women within theatre has given the cast and crew of this production many valuable tools to grapple with its resonant messages on gender roles, feminine subjugation, and the importance personal liberation from social standards.
Some of the most influential shows for Murray that have aided in her directing process are Sarah Kane’s “448 Psychosis,” as well as Backhaus’ other famous work, “Men on Boats” which is the play that lead her to discover and ultimately select this production to produce at SU this quarter. Murray adds, “It’s from the Killroy’s list. My friend actually set-designed the Chicago premier of this show in the Fall of 2017, and because it was by the same author, I knew I wanted to read it. When I did, all I could think about was, ‘how on earth does someone put this on a stage?’ It feels like a live music video… I think Backhaus has really provided us with a live cinematic experience for the theatre, and I can’t wait to see what it turns into!”
Murray’s has had experience directing the works of world-renowned playwrights such as William Inge, Arthur Miller, Henrik Ibsen, and of course, Shakespeare, ; she is currently using Y.O.T.M.N. to explore the enthralling and exquisite nature of first love in this colorful stimulating production. She is humbled and excited to be diving into a show based on the works of such tremendously talented authresses as Jane Austen, Lousia May Alcott, and the Brontë Sisters. After considering the biographies of these women who were writing at a time when female voices in literature were not being highlighted in the society of the era, Murray had this to say: “I would love for the authors of these books to know,” she said, “that the women of now are still learning form these stories today - delighting in them even.” And to this, she hopes to hold true to all who come and attend Seattle University’s upcoming show.
Want more form Murray? Come see another one of her spectacularly directed shows, Scott Kaiser’s “Shakespeare’s Other Women” opening in early february for The Island Shakespeare Festival. Want to see “You on The Moors Now?” Check out our website, Tickets are on sale now!
Erin Murray is excited to be directing at the distinguished Seattle University with its award winning faculty and exceptional students. In 2017 and 2018, she directed the Seattle Shakespeare Company statewide touring productions of ROMEO AND JULIET, and two world premiere bilingual (Spanish/Shakespeare) productions: THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and TWELFTH NIGHT. Her 2017 professional premiere of Scott Kaiser’s SHAKESPEARE’S OTHER WOMEN has been revived by Island Shakespeare Festival for a 2018 run in Seattle. Next, Erin will direct the Seattle premiere of Annie Baker’s JOHN at ArtsWest in March. When she is not directing or travelling, Erin is a proud teaching artist at Youth Theatre Northwest where she teaches a contemporary play analysis class, Kilroys and Coffee, focused on female, trans, and non-binary playwrights. Additional Seattle directing credits include: Helen Parfumi’s WONDERFUL LIFE (ArtsWest), Jen Silverman’s THE MOORS (Forward Flux, Salon X), and Tanya Saracho’s FADE (Tacoma Spark Grant Awardee). Chicago directing credits include Anne Washburn’s THE INTERNATIONALIST (Steppenwolf Garage), the Midwest premiere of Suzanne Heathcoat’s I SAW MY NEIGHBOR… (Redwist Theatre, Jeff Recommended), and the world premieres of Tracy Letts’ MARY PAGE MARLOWE and his adaptation of THREE SISTERS (Asst. Director, Steppenwolf). In 2012, Erin executive produced the world premiere of Ariel Zetina’s PINK MILK: A MAGICAL TRAGEDY LOOSELY BASED ON THE LIFE OF ALAN TURING at New York International Fringe Festival and Chicago Theatre Festival. Dublin credits include: the Irish premieres of John Cameron Mitchell’s HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (Best Production at the Spiegeltent, Winner, Dublin Fringe) and Rebecca Gilman’s THE GLORY OF LIVING (Dublin County tour). From 2005 – 2008, Erin was the staff director for Dublin’s Opera Theatre Company where she toured six fully-staged operas across Western Europe and Associate Directed Mozart's BASTIEN AND BASTIENNE (Irish National Tour). Education: MFA, Northwestern University; BA, Trinity College Dublin. ErinMurrayDirects.com
As Co-Founder of the internationally acclaimed theater simple, Andrew has appeared in over 30 productions (including Mother Courage in 1994!), toured 4 continents, directed all technical matters, and created both indoor and outdoor “shoestring epics”. He has Road Managed most of the company’s tours, all the while performing at over 50 international festivals on three continents and logging well over 250,000 miles since 1990. Andrew has acted regionally with the Berkeley Repertory and at the Spoleto Festival (Charleston, SC), internationally throughout Canada, at the Adelaide Fringe Festival (AU) and Singapore Arts Festival, and locally with the Seattle Shakespeare Company, Strawberry Theatre, Book-It, Seattle Public Theater and Taproot.
is a Grammy nominated songwriter/composer with many gold and platinum records. He has written hits for Elton John, the Freemasons, J-Lo, the Spinners, Maxine Nightengale, the O’jays, Lou Rawls, the Temptations, and many more. West Coast Rap Artists sample his tracks (Young Gunz, Lil’ Cease (Notorious B.I.G), Method Man, etc.). He has received numerous commissions, notably “Spirals” for celebrated Canadian dancer Margie Gillis, award-winning “Euphoric #1” for Puget Sound Flute Quartet. He has written musicals and opera, notably: Big Boss and Mirabelle (comm. by the International Children’s Festival) and The Big Ambition with Ki Gottberg. He Music Directed Mr Burns at ACT. He is an Adjunct at Cornish College.
recently moved to Seattle from the east coast where she was on the faculty of the Yale School of Drama. Seattle directing credits: Tall Skinny Cruel Boys -Washington Ensemble Theatre; We Wont Pay! We Wont Pay! - Intiman; Clown Shorts, an original show to benefit Room Circus Medical Clowning at Seattle Childrens Hospital; Comedy of Errors - Seattle Shakespeare Co; The Tempest - Cornish College of the Arts; Our Lady of 121st ST - Seattle University. She was the Founder/Artistic Director of Crosswalk Theatre in Boston. Original works: Firework, Baby and the Bear, Cords, House That Oliver Built. Other directing credits: Les Liaisons Dangereux, Feed the Monkey, Noises Off, A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Harvard University; Twelfth Night - Brown University; The Tempest, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Midsummer Nights Dream - Shakespeare & Co schools program; Desdemona’s Dream, Schaden, Freude, and You: A 3 Clown Seminar, TiVO la Resistance, and A Night at the Trojan Wall - Logic Limited, Ltd. The cabaret Your New Best Friends was developed under her direction at Cirque du Soleil.
Founded in 1999, Sojourn is an award-winning ensemble theatre company comprised of 17 artists who live in 7 cities and make performance together around the nation. National/international touring, a body of 25 works, and a reputation for consistent innovation as artists and engagement practitioners has led to: a 2005 Ford Foundation/Americans for the Arts Exemplar Award; being featured regularly at conferences and universities nationwide as a "best practice model" for arts-based civic dialogue; being featured in recent articles in American Theater Magazine and Yale’s Theater Journal; partnerships with non-arts sector organizations such as city and state legislative bodies, social service agencies and cross-disciplinary arts centers around the country. This production at Seattle University will be the 8th iteration of HOW TO END POVERTY. Since the original production in 2013, it has been featured in states from Oregon to Louisiana and contributed to the repurposing of over $70,000 dollars from the arts economy to the anti-poverty economy. Other current projects include DON’T GO, which was just presented this spring at USC and a re-iteration of Sojourn's 2010 performance journey ON THE TABLE, being commissioned and co-developed with Goodman Theater in Chicago. Learn more about Sojourn Theatre here: www.sojourntheatre.org.
(Community Partnerships Mentor) has been working with Sojourn Theatre's production of How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes to develop and implement a model for critical community partnerships within the context of HTEP. She has traveled to Louisiana, Montana, Washington (Walla Walla and Seattle), and Nashville to work with community partnership teams of HTEP productions, and serves in a mentorship role to production teams in Seattle and Cleveland. She is graduating in June with her Masters in Social Work from University of Chicago
(Writer, Conceiver, Sojourn Theatre Founding Artistic Director) is founding artistic director of the 18 year old national ensemble-based Sojourn Theatre. In 2015, he received an Otto Rene Castillo award for Political Theater and The Robert Gard Foundation Award for Excellence. He is a Professor at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design & Art and is author of the widely translated book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue. He leads the Center for Performance and Civic Practice where current initiatives include The Catalyst Initiative, Civic Body & Learning Labs. He was the 2013-2016 Doris Duke Artist-in-Residence at Lookingglass Theater Company in Chicago.
(Director) is a Chicago based theatre artist. She works nationally with the Center for Performance and Civic Practice as Partnerships and Communications Manager. She is an Artistic Associate with Sojourn Theatre most recently appearing as a Performer/Facilitator in the regional premiere of HOW TO END POVERTY at Cleveland Public Theatre presented in partnership with United Way of Greater Cleveland. Other recent projects include work with: Actors Gymnasium (Youth Circus co-director and writer); one step at a time like this in collaboration with Chicago Shakespeare Theater (performer); For Youth Inquiry (company member, performer, teaching artist); and Manual Cinema (puppeteer).
(Original HTEP Video Designer) is a Los Angeles-based designer whose work includes interdisciplinary performance, public space, exhibition, curation and dialogue projects internationally and throughout the US. She has been a Sojourn Theatre company member for many years, and continues in partnership with the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, which grew out of Sojourn’s work. Shannon is on design faculty at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and serves as the Associate Director of Design and Production.
(Sound Designer/Composer) has composed and designed sound for numerous Chicago area theatres such as Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Congo Square, Writers Theatre, Lifeline, Griffin, Chicago Childrens Theatre, The Hypocrites, The House, Court, ATC, Victory Gardens, The Rave, Steep Northlight and About Face. Out of town credits include the Getty in Los Angeles, South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa CA., Roundhouse theatre and Arena Stage in Washington D.C., Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Boston Playwrights, the Arden in Philadelphia, Playwrights Horizons in New York City, Actors Theatre in Louisville and Portland Playhouse in Portland, OR. Rick has won a Jeff Award for sound design for Lookingglass Moby Dick and Hephaestus and a BTAA award for Congo Squares’ Brothers In The Dust and, has received several nominations for both awards. Rick is an artistic associate of Lookingglass Theatre Company, and an artistic affiliate with American Blues Theatre. Rick also wrote the book, music and lyrics for Lookingglass’ Hillbilly Antigone.
(Director) is a director, writer, actor, teaching artist, and the Founding Artistic Director of Thirteen O’Clock Theatre. He has worked nationally as an Artistic Associate with Sojourn Theatre, was part of the original devising ensemble of How to End Poverty, and was a performer/facilitator in the professional premiere of How to End Poverty in collaboration with Portland Playhouse. Tey’s plays for young audiences (and performers!) have been seen onstage and in schools in Chicago, Evanston, and across South Texas. In Chicago/Evanston he teaches with Actors Gymnasium, Mudlark Theater Company, Northlight On Campus, and For Youth Inquiry.
a member of the artistic staff at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, where he serves as Director of Company Development. In twenty-three seasons at OSF, Scott has been the voice and text director on 94 productions. He has directed, adapted, coached, or acted in every play in Shakespeare’s canon.
Scott is the author of two books: Shakespeare’s Wordcraft, published by Limelight Editions, and Mastering Shakespeare: An Acting Class in Seven Scenes, published by Allworth Press. Both books are being used in theatre conservatories and university classrooms across the country.
Scott has created several original works and adaptations for the theatre. These include OSF’s critically acclaimed productions of Shakespeare’s three Henry the Sixth plays, which he also co-directed; Now This, an exploration of the human consequences of American consumer culture which premiered at the Quintero Theatre at the University of Houston; and Splittin’ the Raft, a retelling of the Huck Finn story through the eyes of African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, which was seen at the Marin Theatre Company in California, and the People’s Light and Theatre Company in Pennsylvania.
Scott has coached, taught, and directed at numerous theaters and actor training programs around the country, including the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Intiman Theater in Seattle, California Institute of the Arts, Indiana University, Duke University, the University of Washington, the University of Utah, Southern Oregon University, the D’ell Arte School of Physical Theater, and Rose Bruford College in England.
Scott holds an ADVS from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, an MFA from the University of Washington Professional Actor Training Program in Seattle, and a BA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
is a Grammy-nominated songwriter and composer and producer who has earned a number of gold and platinum records, with over 100 songs recorded my major artists including Elton John, the Freemasons, Jennifer Lopez, Teddy Pendergrass, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lou Rawls, the Spinners, the Temptations, Jeffery Osborne, Bell & James, and many more. West coast rap artists sample his tracks (Young Gunz, Lil’ Cease, Notorious B.I.G, Terror Squad, Method Man, etc.) His work has been performed in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Altanta, Beijing (’08 Olympics). He has received numerous commissions and written modern dance and theatre music, notably: Spirals for Canadian phenom Margie Gillis, Big Boss and Mirabelle (commissioned by the International Children’s Festival). He has also written and music-directed three musicals, oratorios and other choral works.
Erik Andor designs and builds specialty costume pieces from his studio in Pioneer Square. Erik has done projects for theatre, opera, cabaret, ballet, dance, circus, film, and television in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Seattle, New York, and Paris, among others.
is a founding member of New York's Atlantic Theater Company, where she recently directed the Lucille Lortel Award nominated The Collection and A Kind of Alaska by Harold Pinter which was named a top-10 theater production of 2010 by the New York Times, New York magazine, and the New York Daily News. Other productions for Atlantic include plays by David Mamet, Annie Baker, Keith Reddin, Shel Silverstein, Harold Pinter, and Kate Moira Ryan. She directed the award-winning 25 Questions For A Jewish Mother by Kate Moira Ryan with Judy Gold. She has also directed at the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater; Naked Angels, IRT Theatre; Ars Nova and Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York; the Menagerie Theatre in Cambridge, U.K. and the Practical Theatre Company in Sydney, Australia. Her documentaries and short films have played at festivals in the United States and internationally. She is a senior teacher at the Atlantic Acting School, and teaches her own Monologue Workshops, Fearless Cold Reading & Audition Technique classes and her yearly Directing Class in New York. She also guest teaches in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Karen is the director/producer of The Monologue Audition Video (DVD), and author of The Monologue Audition: A Practical Guide for Actors (Foreword by David Mamet), How to Choose a Monologue for Any Audition, and The Monologue Audition Teacher's Manual.
Nanette Acosta has designed costumes for over 20 years for theatre, film and television across the country. Her designs have been seen at the 5th Avenue, Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company. Nanette is the costume designer for Buried Child and Fefu and her Friends.
Phillip Lienau is the Associate Resident Scenic Designer at Seattle Opera where he also designed the 2012 production of Orphee et Euridyce. Phillip is the scenic designer for Buried Child.
Casey James is an award winning composer and songwriter, with over 100 songs recorded by major artists. He has written hit songs for Elton John, Bell&James, and the O'Jays, scored films, documentaries, industrials and commercials, written music for Dance and the Theatre, composed for jazz orchestra and ensemble.
James will be in residency winter and spring 2012 collaborating on the spring production of Mirabelle: A Breeze. James was the composer for the original music in Seattle University Theatre Division's 2010 production of Island of Slaves.
Cyrus Khambatta is the artistic director of the innovative Seattle based dance company, Khambatta Dance Company (formerly Phffft!). The company brings together athletic movement and split-second timing with a theatrical flare. Khambatta's choreographed and improvised works have been presented throughout the United States, Europe, Russia and Latin American and received California's Damen New Choreography Award in 2004.
Khambatta's residency included a summer 2010 Stretch workshop, and movement choreography for the spring production of Strindberg's The Ghost Sonata.