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APSU Theatre & Dance Develops New Play With Farm Theatre of New York City and Up and Coming Playwright Jake Brasch

This past August, a group of APSU Theatre & Dance students and faculty members Darren Michael and Talon Beeson traveled to NYC to participate in the Farm Theatre College Collab. While there, they spent three days in collaboration with a cast of NY actors and directors, and playwright Jake Brasch workshopping his new play Our Tempest. This play will receive a staged reading here at APSU Oct. 22-23rd. See below for a press release detailing this exciting project!

https://mailchi.mp/ad43a966cf39/grad-school-audition-workshop-and-new-bullpen-sessions-13441099?e=af6b8f4f9f

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APSU Theatre & Dance Faculty Have a Banner Summer of Professional/Scholarly Work

The Faculty and Staff of the Dept. of Theatre and Dance pride themselves on being involved in the industry and on the cutting edge of trends in the entertainment world. While the school year brings no shortage of opportunity for them, the summer of 2021 proved particularly productive as they worked locally, nationally, and internationally at the highest level. This summer the faculty has participated in summer theatre seasons, international lectures, published textbooks, performed on stage, recorded audio books, and worked on new animated series. Here is a snapshot of what they have been up to! (NOTE: This will fill out as full reports of summer activity come in.)

Talon finished last semester by directing the World Premiere of Suspense! Live, a socially distant staging of the three time Peabody and two time SOVAS (Society of Voice Arts and Sciences) nominated radio drama Suspense!  After the production, the writer, John Alsedek, asked the entire cast to star in two episodes of the last season of the show that will be airing later this year. Talon was hired to direct both episodes. 

On the heels of this project, Talon booked and started recording a new military fantasy sci-fi book series: JTF 13. So far, there are two installments of this series available with a third to be released in the next few months. You can learn more and purchase the first book in the series HERE

After the closing of the William Morris Endeavor Voice-Over department in Los Angeles, Talon was left without LA representation. However, this summer he was signed by Commercial Talent Agency in LA. He is now repped by: CTA in LA, GoVoices in Denver, and Houghton Talent in Atlanta. 

Last January, Talon booked the lead role in a new adult animated series. The pilot of that series has finished animatics and the creators have taken several meetings with large studios. In addition, this summer, he booked the role of Jitter in another animated series called Bit Wars. With a kickstarter launching soon, this series has already created buzz in LA and the creators have taken several meetings with the leading distributors of childrens animated content. You can learn more about Bit Wars on their insta HERE

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Finally, Talon has been cast as Father Flynn in Doubt, John the Baptist/Judas in Godspell, and he will be directing Star Spangled Girl all at the Roxy Regional Theatre. You can learn more about the Roxy Region Season HERE. 

Professor Margaret Rennerfeldt has been selected as one of ten artists to participate in the Stress/Trauma Mitigation for Frontline Healthcare Workers Project presented by Articine in collaboration with Concord Hospital.

According to Articine “The goal of the project is to create practical, high quality and efficient guided experiences via smartphone that help healthcare workers complete their stress response cycle and relieve the stress caused by an unfathomable health crisis. These experiences can be done by healthcare staff as well as the hospitalized patients they care for who are often isolated, sick and frightened.”

Professor Rennerfeldt contributed a somatic movement experience video to be included in the project.

Articine is a 501c3 nonprofit that connects artists and medical professionals to create and implement collaborative wellness experiences for people across New England.  

Articine’s innovative programming delivers tailored curriculum to staff, healthcare students and medical residents. The health and medicine paradigm often excludes the lived human experience in diagnosis and treatment. Art brings this missing and vital piece to capture the whole person, creating agency and power in the patient. Articine applies crucial conversations to medicine including personhood, physicality, self-expression and mindfulness.

Committed to the practice of supporting healthy lifestyles for all populations through arts-based workshops, performances and initiatives between medical professionals and artists that support the growing field of lifestyle and narrative medicine. Using arts-based learning objectives and evidence-based medicine, Articine will impact the wellbeing of people through customized experiences and innovative care solutions. 


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Margaret Embody

A huge welcome to our newest faculty member Deonté Warren. To learn more about Deontés background, click HERE.

Deonté taught two music theatre preparatory courses for young performers. One for the Nashville Rep at The YMCA's Camp Widjiwagan and the other for Playhouse on Park in Hartford, CT.

He participated in a panel for The Grammy's MusiCares Vocal Wellness Series where they discussed the importance of creating space for singers across the gender spectrum and the ins and outs of gender-affirming voice care.

He also co-presented with the incomparable Gwen Walker from Penn State's music theatre voice team on gender-affirming voice care in the voice studio. In this webinar, they spoke with other members of the Musical Theatre Educators' Alliance about the science and best practices involved when working with singers across the gender spectrum. Deonté was also invited to join the advisory board for Musical Theatre Educators' Alliance-Voice.

This summer Deonté completed his Master of Music in Music Theatre Vocal Pedagogy at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI.

Coming off such a busy and accomplished summer, Deonté is looking forward to starting his career in higher education at Austin Peay with so many enthusiastic, skilled, and knowledgeable educators! What an honor to be a part of this team!

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Darren's ten-minute play, In a Tree, was selected to be a part of the 2021 From the Bluegrass Online Festival, June 10 – 12th, with Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

In February, the APSU Department of Theatre and Dance, with the support of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, began a college collaboration with The Farm Theater in New York City.  At that time students began talking with Brooklyn-based  playwright Jake Brasch to inspire a new work by the playwright.   August 14th through 17th, Professors Talon Beeson and Darren Michael will be escorting seven Theatre and Dance students to New York City for the first public reading of the new script and will be participating in a workshop to develop the script further.  In October, APSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance will host Farm Theater’s Artistic Director Padriac Lillis and playwright Jake Brasch for a staged reading of a revised script of the new play.  The year-long process to give the students the opportunity to work on a new play from the very beginnings to its full production sometime in the next season in New York City. 

During his Spring sabbatical, Professor Darren Michael completed his play Ajax Descending, a retelling and adaptation of Sophocles’ Ajax.  The play will have a public reading sometime during the 2021 – 2022 academic year.

Professor Darren Michael has signed a contract with Roxy Regional Theatre to play Roy Cohn in their Spring 2022 production of ANGELS IN AMERICA, Part 1 and will direct the Roxy’s production of CONSTELLATIONS by Nick Payne in February 2022.

Noel spent the summer on personal painting projects, continuing to master the use of oil paints in canvas work. In the past year, Noel has received a show at a local gallery and continues to create and sell his paintings. 

Noel Courthouse Painting

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Alum Michael Mason (2015) Wins Design Competition

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Michael Mason, A 2015 graduate of the Theatre & Dance Department, recently won the scenic design competition for region 3 (Midwest) of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He is in his first year in the MFA design program at Illinois State University. Michael won with his design for ISU’s production of Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau. In April, Michael will present his design at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to compete for the national prize.

 

 

 

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Please Join Us For Our Streaming Virtual Productions

Although COVID-19 has prevented us from fall productions on our stage, please join us on the virtual stage for our fall productions free of charge. Featuring a Dance Concert, Capstones, and Virtual Play Readings. Also, don't forget to keep an eye out for the Dept. of Theatre & Dance audio book production of From the San Joaquin available exclusively through Audible soon!

Watch the virtual productions HERE.

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Film by Austin Peay student, alum nominated for international Christian festival

“Found at the Steps,” a film created by Austin Peay State University student Kaitlyn Williams and alum Lane Lewis, has been accepted and nominated for Best Short Film at the 2020 International Christian Music and Film Festival in Orlando, Florida, and was in the top 15 films nominated for Best Short Film.

 

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Musical Theatre Alum Treston Henderson (2020) and current Musical Theatre student Hannah Clark (2021) cast in a virtual performance of Sticks and Stones featuring Audra McDonald

Congrats to current Musical Theatre student Hannah Clark (2021) and Musical Theatre alum Treston Henderson on being cast in a benefit performance of the new musical Sticks and Stones featuring Audra McDonald and several other Broadway stars. Treston was part of the original reading of this new musical  by grammy winning composer John McDaniel and lyricist/librettist Scott Logsdon. Now, in this virtual highlight performance for charity, he will be joined by Hannah Clark. You can read more about this peformance HERE.  

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APSU Theatre & Dance Alum Michael Mason, BFA Design 2015, Receives Prestigious Eric R. Baber Fellowship at Illinois State University. 

APSU Theatre & Dance is proud to announce that alum Michael Mason (BFA Design 2015) has received the prestigious Eric R. Baber Fellowship. This grant is to nurture excellence in individual performers in Fine Arts, through emphasis on studio approach, rather than training for teaching. This does not preclude grant fellows from engaging in music or art education work, but the main thrust of the grant should be to help develop top-notch individual performers, and enhance ISU’s prestige as a place where the finest musicians and artists study and perform. Accepting this grant implies a good-faith effort by faculty members to seek out and help attract two outstanding young performers each year in music, art, or theatre. These should be persons who obviously have potential to become well-recognized professional career performers, accepted for admission to ISU Graduate School as a master’s degree student and be a performing or studio artist. Exceptional talent is the basis for the award. Congratulations to Michael!

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Rising APSU Theatre & Dance Senior Bree Presson, BFA Acting 2021, Receives Undergraduate Research Enrichment Funding To Study Intimacy Direction in Theatre, Dance, and Film settings

APSU Theatre & Dance is proud to announce that rising senior Bree Presson (BFA Acting 2021) has received an Undergraduate Research Enrichment Funding award in the amount of $3000 to study the impact and importance of Intimacy Direction in Theatre, Dance, and Film settingsThe award is funded through the APSU Office of Student Research and Innovation. We are very proud of Bree as she beings to study such an important and exciting area of the theatrical world. Congrats Bree!

To read more about Intimacy Direction click HERE.

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Recent APSU Theatre & Dance Grad Alexandria Heide, BFA Dance 2020, Receives Position at Respected Dance Studio

APSU Theatre & Dance is proud to announce that recent graduate Alexandria Heide (BFA Dance 2020) has received a position at the Dance Academy of Michigan. Alex will be serving as a dance educator and mentor to students as well as, choreographing, and doing administrative work. We are very proud of Alex as she heads out into the world during a very difficult time. Congrats Alex!

You can watch Alexandria's reel HERE.

You can read more about The Dance Academy of Michigan HERE.

 

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Recent APSU Theatre & Dance Grad Corey Finley, BA Acting 2020, Receives One Year Acting Internship at Top Atlanta Theatre

APSU Theatre & Dance is proud to announce that recent graduate Corey Finley (BA Acting 2020) has received a one year acting internship at the prestigious Actors Express theatre in Atlanta. Actors Express is one of the top theatres in Atlanta and is helmed by award winning director Freddie Ashley. Freddie was recently at APSU to direct the world premiere of 5 Savory Dishes by John Patrick Shanley as part of the Theatre & Dance Acuff Year. 

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APSU Theatre & Dance Alum Jerry Winsett Featured in Film Festival Short and Highly Anticipated Feature Film 

APSU Theatre & Dance is very proud of Alum Jerry Winsett on his recent short film that has been featured in the Riverrun Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, and SXSW Virtual Film Festival. He is also featured in the upcoming feature film Drought that is one of the top ten most anticipated films in the upcoming Vail Film Festival. You can read more about the film and the festival HERE. You can watch the short film film here:

Jerry has been featured in many films and TV shows over the years including Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri among many others.

You can learn and watch more about on his website at: www.jerrywinsett.com.

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APSU Theatre & Dance Welcome Two New Faculty Members in 2020

welcomeThe APSU Department of Theatre and Dance is pleased to welcome Dr. Ayo Walker as the new tenure-track, Assistant Professor of Dance! Dr. Walker comes to us from a recent teaching appointment at the University of California-Davis, which is also where she earned her Ph.D. in Performance Studies. She was selected for the tenure-track position after a rigorous, national search. Congratulations, Dr. Walker! 
The APSU Department of Theatre and Dance is pleased to welcome Dr. John Ray as the new tenure-track, Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre-Voice! Dr. Ray served as a Visiting Assistant Professor for the 2019-2020 academic year and was selected for the tenure-track position after a rigorous, national search. Congratulations, Dr. Ray!

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APSU Alums Briar Moroschak and Megan DeWald Nominated and current student Treston Henderson for Five Nashville First Night Awards 

Briar Moroschak (Musical Theatre - 2017) was recently nominated for three Nashville First Night awards for her work at Street Theatre. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her potrayal of Clara in A Light in the Piazza, Most Promising Actor, and Best Actress for her potrayal of Christine in Be More Chill. In addition, Megan DeWald (Acting/Directing - 2016) was nominated for Best Actress for her role in Maidens. Treston Henderson (Musical Theatre - 2020) was nominated for most promising actor.

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APSU Dept. Theatre & Dance, Featured on BroadwayWorld.com in Anticipation of the World Premiere of Five New John Patrick Shanley Plays

As the 2019-2020 APSU Theatre & Dance Acuff season ramps up, APSU Theatre & Dance gets ready to play host to Oscar/Tony/Pulitzer winning playwright John Patrick Shanley and Suzi/Tony winning Atlanta based director Freddie Ashley. Mr. Ashley will be giving a public Q&A on October 26th before the premiere of the new John Patrick Shanley plays entitled 5 Savory Dishes on November 21-24. Mr. Shanley will be on hand for a week in February for workshops and public events. For more information, check out this article on BroadwayWorld.com!

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https://www.broadwayworld.com/nashville/article/APSU-To-Premiere-John-Patrick-Shanley-One-Acts-Plus-Freddie-Ashley-20191004?fbclid=IwAR3Pv4PU6PbdIDOe7TIAp5G1oN-u_aB_sO0HJcAJaMX8FC3j0HIRxlQ5jEA

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APSU Dept. Theatre & Dance, Dept. of Communication, and Dept. of Languages and Literature to release Shakespeare radio drama podcast: If Shakespeare Had a Podcast. 

Last semester, a collaboration between the Dept. of Theatre & Dance, the Dept. of Communication and the Dept. of Languages and Literature resulted in an upcoming podcast to be released on iTunes U and other podcasting platforms. This class, devised and taught by Profs. Talon Beeson, David Ellison and Dr. Jane Wessel, brought together groups from the three departments to compile comparisons of Shakespears plays with their 18th century rewrites, perform them in the studio, and produce three podcasts. Look for it to be released soon!

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APSU Theatre & Dance Students Secure Record Number of Internships/Professional Summer Work

It was a great summer for T&D students! A record number of students were working professionally and/or doing internships in the industry this summer. Check out the story here:

https://www.apsu.edu/news/news-images/september_2018_austin_peay_theater_dance_internships.php

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APSU Announces 2018-2019 Season

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Acting/Directing Professor Talon Beeson Featured at APSU EdTech Day

Recently, in collaboration with Art + Design faculty member Scott Raymond, Talon Beeson (Acting/Directing) received a grant for 5 MoCap suits to be used for actor and animator training. This suit was displayed and demonstrated at the recent APSU EdTech Day. See the video below:

https://youtu.be/Xr44gIRfAeM

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Angelique Powers Taught a Scene Painting Master Class at APSU

Angelique Powers embodies what it means to be a working theatrical professional. Since studying with APSU's own Noel Rennerfeldt, she has been steadily working in the professional world. This past weekend, she paid a visit to APSU to give a Master Class on scene painting. Our students were thrilled to work with her.

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Congratulations to alum Lauren Proctor and current student Shane Kopischke on their roles in Some Enchanted Evening.

Congratulations to Shane Kopischke (BFA MT ‘20) and Lauren Proctor (BFA MT ‘17) on being cast in “Some Enchanted Evening” at Gaslight Dinner Theatre. We are also so proud of students when they receive professional work!

  

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Congrats to BFA Musical Theatre Students Treston Henderson & Hannah Clark on their acceptance to Camp Broadway Before Broadway performing at 54 Below in New York.

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 Congratulations to two of our Musical Theatre majors Hannah Clark (MT ‘21) and Treston Henderson (MT ‘20) for being accepted into the 15 picked to sing with “Camp Broadway” at 54 Below in New York City! You can check out more information at: https://54below.com/events/camp-broadway-presents-broadway/

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Acting/Directing Professor Darren Michael Has Two 10 Min Plays Chosen for the 2018 Theatre Roulette Festival at MadLab Theatre in Columbus Ohio.

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Congratulations to Darren Michael (Professor Acting/Directing) for having his 10 minute plays Feathers and Willie Nelson Ain't Dead chosen for inclusion in the 2018 Theatre Roulette festival at MadLab Theatre in Columbus OhioThe festival is May 10-26 and hopefully several APSU facutly will be in attendance. For more info on Darren Michael visit his website at http://www.darrenvanmichael.com/ and for more info on MadLab Theatre visit http://www.madlab.net/

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Soteria: Dreams as Currency (directed by and featuring APSU faculty Talon Beeson) receives Audience Choice award from Stanford University

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Congratulations to Talon Beeson (Asst. Prof. of Acting/Directing) on receiving the Audience Choice award from Stanford university for the video game project Soteria: Dreams as Currency. Talon played a leading role in the game as well as served as the VO director. The game was recently featured in VR Focus magazine as well. The article and a trailer for the game can be found here: https://www.vrfocus.com/2017/11/anxiety-tackling-soteria-vr-receives-audience-choice-award-from-stanford-university/

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APSU Theatre Students Bret Carson, Christian Sinclair, & Logan Reed Cast in Various Professional Work

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Congratulations to Bret Carson (Sophomore Acting/Directing,) Christian Sinclair (Junior Acting/Directing,) and Logan Reed (Freshman Acting/Directing) for being cast in productions with Woven Theatre, Nashville Opera, and the TV show Nashville!bret wovenchristian operalogan nashville

 

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APSU Musical Theatre Student Brenna Greene Cast in Southern Storytellers Production

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Congratulations to freshman Musical Theatre student Brenna Greene on being cast in the role of Kensie in the Southern Storytellers Radio Play prodcution of The Slammer. This project is a SAG/AFTRA project and is Brenna's first SAG/AFTRA role. For more information check out this link: Southern Storytellers

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Five APSU Theatre & Dance Students are Passed on to the Largest Theatre Conference in the USA, SETC, to Audition for Professional Work

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Congratulations to all of our students headed to The Southeastern Theatre Conference this year to audition for professional work:

Emily Maria Seifert, Zac Collum, Brenna Carleton Greene, Treston Henderson, and Lexi Putter!

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Assistant Professor of Acting/Directing Talon Beeson Receives Nomination for SOVAS Award

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On Tuesday, September 26th the nominees for the 2017 Society of Voice Arts and Sciences awards, the top honor a voice over actor can recieve, were announced. Acting/Directing faculty Talon Beeson was nominated for his work on the Audio Book Wonder, produced by Learning Ally. Talon completed the project as part of his volunteer work reading audio books for learning disabled children. The awards will be presented in November at Lincoln Center in New York City. 

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APSU Dept. of Theatre and Dance Dedicates the new Margaret Fort Trahern Laboratory Theatre in time for the inaugural production of Company

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On Tuesday September 12th, APSU, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Department of Theatre and Dance were thrilled to host the Trahern family for the dedication of the brand new Margaret Fort Trahern Laboratory Theatre. This innovative laboratory performance space will give APSU Theatre and Dance students needed hands on experience with the types of smaller storefront and black box theatre spaces they will be performing in when they enter the professional world. The departmet of Theatre and Dance is thrilled to be mounting a production of Company in this new space as it's inaugural production. Tickets can be purchased here.

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APSU Dept. of Theatre and Dance is Thrilled to Welcome Guest Artist Jay Raphael for a Series of Master Classes and Guest Lectures

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During the week of September 5th, 2017, APSU Dept. of Theatre and Dance hosted Guest Artist Jay Raphael on campus. He taught several classes, giving private coachings to students, teaching a masterclass. Jay retired as a Full Professor and the Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2016. He has worked as an educator, an actor, a director, and a producer in the academic, theatrical and corporate sectors. He previously served as chair of Theatre and Dance at Missouri State University and on the faculty at Brooklyn College, Michigan State University, Southern Illinois University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Utah (where he directed the BFA Actor Training Program). He has also coached extensively in the professional community in New York City. Mr. Raphael has directed at theatres all across the country, staging productions of Collected Stories, On The Verge, Summer and Smoke, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Voir Dire, Moon for the Misbegotten, Scotland Road, The Mystery of Irma Vep, The Tempest, Dancing at Lughnasa, A Comedy of Errors, Sleuth, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Our Town, Speed-the-Plow, Burn This, Stand-Up Tragedy, Three Sisters, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, The Nina Variations, and Old Times, among others.  Over the years he has performed on the stages of such LORT theatres as the Denver Center, the Goodman Theatre, the Cincinnati Playhouse-in-the-Park, the Missouri Repertory Theatre, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, etc. He was last seen in New York in a one man show entitled The Gospel of Judas, and he keeps showing up on television in reruns of Law and Order. Dr. Raphael has also directed and produced live industrial shows, training and promotional videos; and he developed a unique sales training program for major pharmaceutical corporations based on the methods used to teach actors. He is a member of AEA, SAG/AFTRA, and SDC.

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Acting/Directing Faculty Attend First Every SAG/AFTRA Student Film Festival at Watkins College of Art, Design and Film in Nashville

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Acting/Directing Faculty Darren Michael and Talon Beeson were in attendence for the first annual SAG/AFTRA Student Film Festival, in Nashville. This festival is the first of it's kind in the country and we hope one day to host it at APSU. Here are Darren and Talon, SAG/AFTRA President Mike Montgomery and Executive Director Richard Van Syckle, and the student filmmakers recieving their certificates. 

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Faculty Member Noel Rennerfeldt Designs Beauty and the Beast for Little Theatre on the Squares 60th Season

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This summer Set Design faculty Member Noel Rennerfeldt did fantastic work designing the set for Beauty and the Beast at the Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan, Illinois. 

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Alum Jamila Hunter Cast In Round Barn Theatre Production of Little Mermaid

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Congrats to Alum Jamila Hunter who was recently cast in the Barn Theatre production of The Little Mermaid.

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Alum Lauren Proctor Cast In Production of Carrie: The Musical

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Congrats to Alum Lauren Proctor who was recently cast in the role Norma in the Murfreeesboro Center for the Arts production of Carrie: The Musical.

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Alum Kaitlyn Williams Cast In Roxy Regional Theatre Production of Wizard of Oz 

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Congrats to Alum Kaitlyn Williams who was recently cast in the female ensemble of the Roxy Regional Theatre production of Wizard of Oz.

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Austin Peay Invades San Diego ComicCon 2017!

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Acting/Directing Faculty Darren Michael and Talon Beeson recently attended the annual San Diego ComicCon as working professionals. Here they are controlling the enterprise, and enjoying a Shopkins ice cream sandwich with Los Angeles Producer/USC PhD candidate Geoffrey Long...

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Dr. Christopher Bailey Tours With International Vocal Group Tenore

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Musical Theatre Faculty Dr. Christopher Bailey has been touring internationally with the well known vocal group Tenore. Here he is with his wife, Adjunct Professor Sarah Michelle Bailey, in Belfast, Ireland.

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Talon Beeson Teaches at the Prestigous LA SAG/AFTRA Conservatory Summer Intensive

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In July, Acting/Directing faculty member Talon Beeson, delivered a workshop based on his best selling book Starting Your Career in Voice-Overs at the SAG/AFTRA Conservatory on AFI campus in Los Angeles.

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LA Producer/USC PhD Candidate Geoffrey Long Taps APSU Faculty Members and Students to Direct and Perform in TBA Animated Project

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During the Spring 2017 semester, Geoffrey Long (co-creator of the XBox One) tapped Acting/Directing faculty Talon Beeson to cast and direct the voice cast of the pilot episode of a to be announced animated project in partial fulfillment of his PhD at USC. The project is also in pre-production for a major studio pitch in LA.

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Acting/Directing Faculty Darren Michael Sees Publication of Play

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Acting/Directing faculty Darren Michael, has had his play Scarecrows Will Never See the Sunset recieve national publication and accolades as it is released through Silver Spring Stage Rights. Click the title to buy your copy!

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 Acting/Directing Faculty Talon Beeson Recieves Third Peabody Nomination

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 The syndicated radio drama Suspense!featuring Acting/Directing facutly member Talon Beeson, has recently been nominated for it's third Peabody Award.