Tag Archives: Sisters Theatre

Eric McDowell and Hannah Avery in "Proof"FAMILY DYNAMICS: Professor of Mathematics Dr. Eric McDowell performs with on-stage daughter Hannah Avery during the Berry College Theatre Company’s recent production, “Proof.”

Eric McDowell in "Proof"Anyone who has ever studied mathematics with Dr. Eric McDowell will tell you he brings a theatrical flair to his teaching. He has even gone so far as to collaborate with students on ingeniously creative (and award-winning!) videos that educate as they entertain.

In November, the longtime Berry faculty member stepped out of the classroom and onto the Sisters Theatre stage in a role seemingly created just for him. Acting alongside students Hannah Avery, Andy Sphar and Katie Cooley, McDowell infused elements of his own personality into “Robert,” a recently deceased mathematician beset by mental illness in his final years whose relationship with his daughter is the crux of the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof.

“I could just have easily been playing a history professor or a writing teacher, I don’t think it would have really mattered,” McDowell said. “The personality I put into Robert is very much my own. I see a lot of me in him anyway. How much of that is the mathematician I don’t know.”

McDowell’s fascination with acting dates to a childhood role in The Sound of Music. A 30-year hiatus followed high school, but recent years have found him performing in such local productions as Spamalot, Into the Woods and Almost, Maine. His Berry College Theatre Company debut came about as the result of a request by guest director Jon Royal, who sought an obvious age difference between “Robert” and the student performers.

The experience left McDowell profoundly impressed by all aspects of Berry theatre.

“My favorite part of the process was watching the other three actors perform and being so impressed with how talented they are,” he reflected. “It was my first look inside Berry theatre, and everybody is so professional in their work.”

Student media: Actors display “raw” emotions in Proof

Reporting by student writer Kendall Aronson

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"Rumors" Set

SPACE TO PERFORM: Students actors make themselves at home on the set designed by Carl Tallent (01C) for BCTC’s fall production of Neil Simon’s “Rumors.” Photo by student Lindsey Campbell.

Carl Tallent Working on the Set of "Rumors."

Carl Tallent working on the set of “Rumors.” Photo by student Jacob Bushey.

It’s been more than 17 years since Carl Tallent (01C) graduated from Berry, but when he returned to campus in September to assist with set design for the Berry College Theatre Company’s production of Neil Simon’s Rumors, it felt like no time had passed at all.

Tallent, who has put his Berry-honed skills to good use working on props for Broadway productions such as Rock of Ages and Cirque du Soleil, did note one impressive change – new facilities for the dramatic arts in the form of Sisters Theatre and an updated Blackstone Hall, both funded by the generous gifts of alumni and friends.

“It seems like the resources have really grown,” he said. “There’s a new costume shop and a new theatre. It is a really exciting time.”

In addition to his Broadway production work, Tallent has also showcased his talents designing shows for community theatres and high schools and creating window displays on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. When Associate Professor of Theatre Alice Bristow contacted him about the possibility of sharing his experience with current students, he was happy to oblige.

Students Building "Rumors" Set

Students gain valuable experience building the set for “Rumors.” Photo by student Lindsey Campbell.

“I really love working with students,” he said. “These people are just starting to do work outside of Berry, so it’s exciting to advise them and help them get jobs.”

When Tallent first arrived at Berry as a student, he wanted to be an actor. His work in the scene shop opened up new possibilities.

“I was always artistic and crafty, but I never thought of set design as a career,” he said.

His professor thought he had skill, both in set painting and set design, and encouraged him to explore those options.

“If I had been at a larger school I might not have explored doing set design, but it wound up being what I was passionate about,” Tallent said. “It was great that at Berry we were able to experience all different aspects of theatre, so I discovered that set design was what I wanted to do.”

Click here for more on Tallent’s visit.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

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Mountain Day BannerThere’s no denying that the very best Berry experiences are those that bring us together. That’s certainly true of Mountain Day! From the Mountain Day Olympics to the Grand March to the gifts of pennies students drop in the basket at the foot of Lavender Mountain, everything about this grand Berry tradition revolves around our powerful sense of togetherness.

Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the things we have planned for this year’s celebration, which is just a few weeks away. Visit berry.edu/mountainday for a complete schedule (be sure to note special dedications honoring legendary faculty members Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C) and the late Dr. Peter Lawler).

As you make your plans, we hope you’ll symbolically join our students in the Mountain Day tradition of giving – it is Martha’s birthday, after all – by supporting crowdfunding projects and other special initiatives. Watch for more information as the event date draws closer.

Reunion BrunchClass Reunions and Related Activities

High School/Academy Reunion Brunch (10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Hill Dining Hall): Classes of 1973, 1978 and 1983. Registration is $15 for individuals, $25 for couples and $5 for children 6 to 16; cost covers brunch, Mountain Day T-shirt and admission to Saturday night football game. Coffee will be served at 9:30, brunch at 10:30. Register.

College Reunion Brunch (10:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, WinShape Hub): Classes of 19731978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008. Registration details are same as above. Register.

Berry football team takes field at Valhalla. 2013C Reunion (Noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Schroeder’s Deli on Broad St.): Dutch treat; couple and individual price packages available for Mountain Day T-shirts and football tickets. Register.

Milestone Class Reunion Tailgate (3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Dickey Field adjacent to Valhalla stadium) and Football Game (6 p.m. kickoff vs. Sewanee): Mountain Day football is back! While all alumni are invited to the game, members of our milestone reunion classes (1978, 1993 and 2008) also have the option of attending a free pregame tailgate. Game tickets can be obtained by registering for reunion events above or purchased separately for $6 apiece at berrygameday.com. A huge crowd is expected, so get your tickets early! RSVP.

Other Notable Events

Mountain Day Golf Scramble (Noon, Friday, Oct. 5, Stonebridge Golf Club): Registration is $95 per person. Contact Brian Farrer (02C) at 706-238-5904 for details. Register.

Carl Tallent

Carl Tallent (01C)

Berry College Theatre Company Presents Neil Simons’ Rumors (showtimes all three days at Sisters Theatre): Features scenic designs by Carl Tallent (01C). Tickets are $12 for general admission, $8 for seniors and $6 for students. Call 706-236-2263 or visit berry.edu/bctc-tickets.

Examples of Al Christopher's Berry-inspired woodturnings.

Examples of Al Christopher’s Berry-inspired woodturnings.

From Tree to Treasure (10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum): Don’t miss this exhibit showcasing the woodturning artistry of Al Christopher (61c). Admission is free.

Alumni Choir Concert (2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, Ford Auditorium): Alumni under the direction of guest conductors Ross Magoulas (FFS) and Harry Musselwhite (FFS) will lift their voices in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Berry Singers, founded by Magoulas in 1958. A reunion lunch will be held at noon ($30 registration; $15 for each additional participant). Contact Dr. Paul Neal for more information. Register for lunch.

Special thanks to Plainville Brick Company for providing support for this year’s Mountain Day celebration. These longtime friends of Berry provided bricks for several campus buildings, so it’s only fitting that they now step forward as Mountain Day’s first community sponsor.

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Audrey Morgan at Sisters Theatre Dedication

Audrey Morgan stands in front of a portrait of herself and sister Bobbie Bailey in the lobby of Berry’s new theatre.

“The dedication of this theatre is nothing short of a miracle. Less than two years ago, it was only a dream.” – Audrey Morgan

Dry eyes were scarce Oct. 6 as students, faculty, alumni and friends joined Audrey Morgan and her family for the dedication of Sisters Theatre. The name of Berry’s newest fine arts facility celebrates the legacy of love and lifelong commitment to the arts shared by Morgan and her sister, the late Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey.

“For me personally, the new theatre has deep meaning,” Morgan expressed. “I was very blessed to have as my sister Bobbie Bailey. Our lives as sisters and best friends were entwined for 85 years; our names as business partners entwined for 55 years. And now with this beautiful new theatre on the Berry campus that I love so much, our names are going to be entwined for years to come. Tonight is truly a mountaintop experience for me. I could not be happier or more honored.”

Morgan, a Berry Board of Visitors member and recipient of the college’s honorary doctorate, played a critical role in the now-completed $6.7 million campaign to fund the theatre’s construction and associated improvements to Blackstone Hall. Her $1 million challenge gift initiated fundraising in 2015; a year later, a second $1 million gift was announced, this one from the foundation of her late sister.

Students and faculty were thrilled to take possession of their new 9,226 square-foot performance home, which features a black-box stage with adjustable seating for up to 276. Coupled with the improvements to Blackstone Hall, the new facility doubles the amount of functional space available to Berry’s theatre program.

The Berry College Theatre Company christened the new facility with its fall production of Crimes of the Heart. Next up is Make Merry (Or How to Survive Your Family on Holidays), scheduled for Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1-2. Click here to order tickets.

Sisters Theatre Photo Gallery

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Another Mountain Day has come and gone, creating memories to last a lifetime for the many alumni, students, parents, faculty/staff and friends who once again gathered on the slopes of Lavender Mountain to celebrate Martha Berry’s birthday. Traditional favorites such as the Grand March of Students, Mountain Day Olympics and Marthapalooza carnival were complemented by special events such as the Sisters Theatre dedication and the induction ceremony for the Berry High School/Academy Sports Hall of Fame, a new addition to the Dickey Hall of Sports History in the Cage Center. The latter drew guests from as far away as California to honor the proud athletic tradition of Berry’s former high schools.

Photo Galleries: High School/Academy Sports Hall of Fame, College Class Reunion Brunch

 

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