Sep 7, 2017
Arts Council, Heritage Theatre Festival

This Arts Council-funded grant supports the Heritage Theatre Festival – 2017 | Summer Season proposed by Colleen Kelly, UVA Drama Chair and Interim Artistic Director

Hosted by the UVA Department of Drama, the Heritage Theatre Festival mission is to offer an immersive professional theatre experience, where UVA faculty, staff, and students work alongside both professional artists and community members, as well as to present an annual summer festival of musicals, classic works, and new plays for our local Charlottesville, Albemarle, and UVA communities.

Heritage Theatre Festival 2017

Middletown—Population: stable. Elevation: same.  The main street is called Main Street. Average as average can be.  Or is it? Certainly not your traditional Our Town, but you may just recognize something of yourself in playwright Will Eno’s flippant, yet, poignant take on simple townsfolk battling life’s absurdities in their effort to become “normal” human beings.  Dates: June 23-July 1, Ruth Caplin Theatre.

Woody Guthrie’s American Song celebrates the resilience and tenacity of the human spirit.  Guthrie’s songs have become inspiring folk anthems that reflect all times and speak to all people. Songs and Writings by Woody Guthrie. Conceived and Adapted by Peter Glazer. Orchestrations and Vocal arrangements by Jeff Waxman. Dates: June 30-July 8, Culbreth Theatre.

Chapatti is an endearing story about two late-in-life neighbors who find an unusual bond while searching for new homes for “his” dog and “her” kittens.  Written by Irish playwright Christian O’Reilly, this touching comic-drama will feature Drama’s own married couple and UVA retired faculty Richard Warner and Judith Reagan. Dates: July 6-July 15, Helms Theatre.

Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery that is far from elementary.  The classic game is afoot, but the players may well outnumber the clues in Ludwig’s madcap adventure featuring five actors portraying forty characters.  Join Holmes and Watson as they brave the desolate moors before the Baskerville family curse dooms its newest heir. Dates: July 22-29, Ruth Caplin Theatre.

Company is a Tony Award-winning musical featuring Stephen Sondheim favorites such as The Ladies Who Lunch and Being Alive. Directed by former HTF Artistic Director Bob Chapel, this musical will resonate with married couples, those seeking marriage and those running from it. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by George Furth. Dates: July 28-August 4, Culbreth Theatre.

As described above, directly supporting UVA students’  education, growth, and professional theatre experiences  is central to the HTF mission.  The UVA undergraduate and graduate students who work during the summer months at Heritage are working alongside professional directors and designers, Equity actors, students from other leading arts Universities nationwide, and community members. This kind of intimate access and exposure to professional artists, as well as a diverse company of creatives, is a one-of-a-kind experience that better prepares our students to become successful artists and makers themselves.  This experience is not available during the traditional academic year.

HTF employs a Company of over 120 members annually during the summer months. Company members include designers, directors, actors, choreographers, drapers, stitchers, first hands, wardrobe, props master, props artisans, run crew, carpenters, technical directors, drafting persons, painters, scenic charges, sound engineers, board operators, electricians, box office, front of house, business administrators, company management, and interns in all areas. Company members are recruited from all over the country and represent a wide range of backgrounds, from current UVA undergraduate and graduate students to Equity actors and professional directors and designers. Of our 125+ member company, our goal in 2017 is for approximately 40% of our company to have a direct tie to UVA  with about 30% current undergraduate or graduate students and 10% UVA Drama faculty + staff.  Now in its 4th year, HTF remains the only professional theatre and longest-running company in the Charlottesville area and is a treasured part of the arts landscape at the University of Virginia and throughout the local and regional community.  HTF plays  to over 10,000 local patrons each summer and has established itself a vital and vibrant cultural institution for the University, the city of Charlottesville, and Albemarle County.  

Unlike the local community theatres and nationally touring shows visiting our area, Heritage’s unique model of a summer-long Festival,  where we invite professional artists to work alongside our faculty, students, and community members,  lends itself to a higher quality artistic product and enables us to deliver one-of -a-kind experiences to our audiences that otherwise are not available in our area. Furthermore, UVA Drama’s Culbreth and Caplin Theatres offer an innovative, state-of-the-art theatrical experience, and this type of modern and technically advanced experience simply does not exist in Charlottesville outside of the UVA Drama complex. In 2017, we hope to distribute approximately 11,000 tickets to our community of theatre patrons.

Check back for more information on this Arts Council-funded project’s unfolding timeline.

The Arts Council provides advocacy, advice, and support in the Arts at the University of Virginia. It strives to develop and strengthen the bonds of interest and participation among the Arts Departments, their associated programs,  and their alumni and friends; to advocate on their behalf; to advise and assist with communications; and to help raise funds in support of academic programs, facilities, and special events. Among its multitude of arts advocacy efforts, the Council awards annual Arts Council Grants. These grants have, and continue to play an instrumental role in a number of  residencies, workshops, project and research-based endeavors proposed across Arts Grounds annually. This series of articles will highlight each funded project and serve to inform the UVA community of their unique timelines, progress and outcome reports.

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