Performing Arts

Celebrating summer with Kentucky Arts Partners

With school ending for the summer, families around the state are looking for unique ways to fill the blissful summer months.  Here at the Kentucky Arts Council, we’ve highlighted a few of the programs and camps being offered by Kentucky Arts Partnership organizations this summer.

Travel Writing- The JetSet Lifestyle – Explore the world without leaving Lexington! At the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, you’ll learn to capture your journey and share it with other adventure-seekers. Through creative writing exercises, photography, and field trips, you will learn to convert your experiences into engaging and informative stories. By the end of the week, campers will create a colorful and insightful travel presentation, featuring photographs and fiction or narratives, highlighting a noteworthy destination.

Teen Art Camp – Attention teens! It’s time to take your artistic skills to the next level this summer with the Community Arts Center in Danville! At Teen Art Camp, participants will work closely with professional local artists to delve deeper into a different artistic medium and technique each day.

Audition Skills Held at the Walden Theatre, this camp is for anyone who has thought about auditioning for a play or musical or for anyone who has an upcoming audition and wants to be prepared! Students will learn or improve the process of selecting, studying and performing a monologue, learn how to approach “cold readings” from a script, and even navigate their way through a 16-bar musical piece and a dance break. Time will be given to help create an audition package of two song cuttings (one up-tempo, one ballad) and a monologue. All levels welcome.

Puppet Antics Camp – Do you like puppets? Were you in kindergarten through third grade this year? If you answered yes to both questions, then you will love “Puppet Antics” hosted by the Richmond Area Arts Council. Here, students will make several simple puppets and learn to make them dance, sing and perform a variety of silly antics. You’ll share the fun with family and friends with your very own short puppet show at the end of the Friday session. Bring a snack for a daily break and a short puppet show. This camp is presented by Mary and Richard Brown of Puppets and Such in Berea.

Makin’ Music Junior Camp – Grandparents and grandchildren can enjoy summertime activities together at the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington! At this camp, participants will enjoy skits, games and crafts as they learn more about music. Campers will even make some simple musical instruments of their own!

For the full list of camps and programs being offered this summer. Visit http://artscouncil.ky.gov/Opportunities/SummerCamps.htm

Categories: Arts Education, Arts Organizations, Folk and Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Other, Performing Arts, Visual Arts | Tags: ,

From brass to bourbon: Celebrating the arts at Kentucky festivals

In honor of National Travel and Tourism Week, and because we’re excited about these warmer temperatures, we’ve compiled a list of 10 Kentucky festivals to not miss this summer. This festival guide will be your ticket to celebrating Kentucky arts and culture all summer long.

Lowertown Arts and Music Festival

May 16-17, Paducah

Recognized in 2012 and 2013 as one of the Top Ten Spring Festivals in Kentucky by Kentucky Tourism, the Lowertown Arts and Music Festival celebrates the cultural richness found in western Kentucky and the surrounding areas. The festival is free and features regional music, art, theater and food.

 Francisco’s Farm

May 17-18, Midway

 Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival is a juried art show that takes place at Midway College May 17-18. The festival features about 80 high quality artist booths, family and children’s activities, food, music and entertainment. This year, admission and parking are free. Although the location has varied in years past, this year’s festival will return to the Midway College campus.

 

Great American Brass Band Festival

June 5-8, Danville

The Great American Brass Band Festival, an internationally renowned music event, turns 25 in June. To celebrate the important milestone, the festival is inviting back brass groups from previous years. Joining former performers for the retrospective look back will be new ensembles and a range of band personalities and scholars. Dr. George Foreman, the founder of the Great American Brass Band Festival, will share stories and thoughts on the last 25 years and is expected to preview a future book on the GABBF. 

         

Maysville Uncorked! Wine and Art Festival

June 14, Maysville

Maysville Uncorked! draws thousands of visitors to Maysville each year on the second Saturday in June. Held in the historic downtown area, Maysville Uncorked! features Kentucky wineries from across the state as well as local and regional artisans. The event is hosted by the Maysville Players, one of the Commonwealth’s oldest theater companies

 

ROMP

June 26-28, Owensboro

Going on its 11th year, the ROMP festival is a “Bluegrass Roots and Branches” music festival in Owensboro, Ky., at Yellow Creek Park.  Romp stands for the “River of Music Party,” because of the festival’s previous location by the river, and is a joint effort of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, the Daviess County Fiscal Court and the city of Owensboro. The festival draws in upwards of 20,000 people every year.

 

Festival of Learnshops

July 11-27, Berea

Select a workshop from more than 100 choices to pursue your interest in sustainable living, culinary arts, collage, painting, Appalachian crafts, fiber arts, jewelry, glass, storytelling, literary arts, theater, music, dance, Native American folk arts, bonsai, woodworking, or professional development for educators. Workshops vary between two hours and five days and all are family friendly.

 Forecastle Festival

July 18-20, Louisville

 The Forecastle Festival in Louisville is fast becoming one of the state’s most popular festivals. Started in 2002, the three-day arts, music and activism event is held in Waterfront Park downtown. This year’s lineup includes big names like Beck, Jack White and Outkast as well as many other up and coming bands. The festival will also feature a Bourbon lounge and a Kentucky Landing area, a spot that will feature Kentucky-based creations, local craft breweries and food trucks from all across the Commonwealth.

Roots and Heritage Festival

Sept. 5-7, Lexington

The Roots and Heritage Festival is a celebration of African- American culture and achievements. The annual event has earned recognition as one of the Top Twenty Events in the Southeast named by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival offers educational/cultural programs as well as a diverse group of food, clothing, music, literature and art vendors.

Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Sept. 16-21, Bardstown

 Started in 1992, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival offers a chance to celebrate Kentucky’s favorite spirit! The festival showcases the bourbon-making process and the incredible history behind the bourbon industry in Kentucky. Visitors can also enjoy distilleries’ tents and local artisans on the lawn of Spalding Hall. Participating bourbon makers include Barton Brands of Kentucky, Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Bullit Distilling Company, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc., Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark Distillery, Michter’s, Wild Turkey Distillery and Woodford Reserve

St. James Court

Oct. 3-5, Louisville

St. James Court is a juried fine arts and crafts show that hosts around 750 artists from around the country. The show is celebrating its 57th year and was founded in 1957 as a way to help develop and support St. James Court, one of Old Louisville’s most renowned neighborhoods.

For more information about upcoming events, festivals and Kentucky summer adventures, visit the Kentucky Department of Travel at http://www.kentuckytourism.com/

Alex Newby, Communications Assistant

Categories: Arts Organizations, Folk and Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Other, Performing Arts, Visual Arts | Tags: ,

Kentucky Stage at Kentucky Crafted: The Market

Two-day music festival at Lexington Convention Center: one-day pass, $10; two-day pass, $15

There is absolutely nothing like sitting, standing, jumping or dancing in a venue with music being performed live on stage. Your blood is pumping, your toes are tapping, you can’t sit still and maybe you’re even singing along. Sound like fun? Well, then you need to be at the Kentucky Stage during Kentucky Crafted: The Market, March 8-9, at the Lexington Convention Center.

Featuring some of the best Kentucky musicians around, the Kentucky Stage is a destination all to itself, but for that low ticket price you also get the entire Market to explore—SCORE! Heavens, you are running on all cylinders today and I am in awe of your prowess.

In the mood for a little southern folk/rock a la the Allman Brothers, but original and with a Kentucky twang? Then you’re looking for The Mark Whitley Band.

Or maybe you want some precision percussion with an authentic African influence. Check out River City Drum Corps.

Why not settle into some rousing country tunes? Well that’ll be Dale Pyatt with his Chickengrease Band.

How about a combo deal including a hefty portion of bopping popular music and a side of contemporary African-American gospel? John Edmonds is your man.

Let’s relax with a little cool jazz by the Jay Flippin/Gordon Towell Jazz Duo.

Yearning for some of the best Americana around? Look for TDH4.

Or wrap up your weekend with one of the state’s best string bands, Kentucky Wild Horse.

These are just a handful of the 17 individual musicians and bands that you’ll see on the Kentucky Stage. And since you’ll want to keep listening to the music once the weekend’s over, stop by the Marketplace directly across the lobby from the Kentucky Stage, to pick up CDs by these and other performers who’ve been selected for inclusion in the arts council’s Performing Arts Directory. That’s where I’ll be enjoying the best seat in the house. Stop in and say hello.

The Kentucky Stage
Schedule of Performances
(all times Eastern)

Saturday, March 8
9 a.m.              Bob & Susie Hutchison, Celtic
10 a.m.            The Wulfe Bros., Popular/Patriotic
11 a.m.            River City Drum Corps, Drumline
12 p.m.            Sue Massek with Erin Fitzgerald, Folk
1 p.m.              Roger Cooper with Michael Garvin and Scott Miller, Appalachian
2 p.m.              Carla Gover with Jeri Katherine Howell, Appalachian
3 p.m.              John Edmonds with Devon Satterfield, Gospel/Pop
4 p.m.              A Girl Named Earl, Folkabilly
5 p.m.              Art Mize, Americana/Jazz
6 p.m.              The Mark Whitley Band, Americana

Sunday, March 9
10 a.m.            Marcus Wilkerson, Singer/Songwriter
11 a.m.            Dale Pyatt, Americana
12 p.m.            TDH4, Americana/Jazz
1 p.m.              Hong Shao with Yuyao Ding, Chinese Pipa
2 p.m.              Joe Hudson and Steve Rector, Thumbpicking Guitar
3 p.m.              Jay Flippin/Gordon Towell Jazz Duo with Elise Melrood, Jazz
4 p.m.              Kentucky Wild Horse, Stringband

Tamara Coffey. individual artist program director

Categories: Performing Arts | Tags: , , , , ,

Give the gift of performance

The calendar couldn’t do it, but the snow last week has finally moved me into a state of elation over the possibility that Christmas will be here soon — Hooray! I’ll be watching my TV listings for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated version, of course), and my must-see, A Charlie Brown Christmas — it wasn’t such a bad little tree. And with the notes of those familiar theme songs, I have to admit that it’s time to do some shopping.

I love my family and friends, but we often don’t share the same taste and I anguish for weeks and months about what to get “Aunt So-And-So” or “Cousin What’sHisName.” No way I’m buying anyone a tie or a fruit cake. And Sue, my BFF in fourth grade, put the fear of god in me as far as paper dolls as an appropriate Christmas gift. (Does anyone still make paper dolls?) Even toy shopping is stressful.

Some experts say to give gifts that you like. That certainly makes it easier. And how about gifts that you like and your family and friends will love? Of course — gifts that keep giving, music and dance! One of my very favorite things in the world is live performance and the next best thing is a recorded performance. Tickets to shows or CDs and DVDs make excellent gifts for anyone, anywhere, anytime! If I’m on your Christmas list, I’ll take two of each.

The Kentucky Arts Council has put together a listing of live performances by some of the performers in its Performing Arts Directory. All Performing Arts Directory artists go through a rigorous panel process in order to be included in the directory and you can rest assured these artists are among the very best. I began doing my Snoopy dance as soon as I saw the range of live performances available this season. From classics like Lexington Children’s Theatre’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and Lexington Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker to the enchanting Yule Y’all, a Celtic celebration with Keltricity and the Chattering Magpies and the Louisville Orchestra’s Christmas Spectacular. And that just scratches the surface. With all the exciting performances on the list, your Christmas shopping can be done in a heartbeat and you can sit back and enjoy the show along with the applause from all your delighted friends. Ticket prices are excellent–some are even free. Have a look at the listing and take your favorite people out to enjoy a live performance, or two, or three!

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Heath and Molly’s three CD holiday gift pack, a perennial favorite.

If you can’t get everyone together to go to the show, have a look at our listing of Performing Arts Directory artists CDs and DVDs. Each has been recently released and will provide hours of entertainment value to the lucky so-and-so who gets them. From Latin-mountain fusion artists’ Appalatin to rock-and-rooters Heath and Molly, the Lexington Ballet Company to the Louisville Chorus, gypsy jazz by Stirfry Musette to Lexington Vintage Dance–oh my, so much to enjoy! And there’s still more — cowgirl fun by Raison D’Etre, folk music by LaMay & Reese, good ol’ country music by Dale Pyatt and the Chickengrease Band and wait, we aren’t done yet…There’s too much to capture in one short blog post. With so much music and dance to choose from, every Who in Who-ville will be thrilled and even the Grinch will rejoice!

Tamara Coffey, individual artists director

Categories: Performing Arts | Tags: , , , , , , ,

2013 Governor’s Awards in the Arts: Actors Theatre

As a lifelong theater participant and fan, it was exciting to have the opportunity to visit Actors Theatre of Louisville and talk one-on-one with Managing Director Jennifer Bielstein. If you’re not especially familiar with the theater world, let me just say Actors Theatre is the gold standard in the world of regional theater.

As a former theater student, I can say with certainty the majority of young people who want to work professionally in theater rank Actors Theatre high on their lists of places they hope to someday work. One of the things I think is really superb is that the theater has a well-respected intern and apprentice company that helps train the next generation of theater professionals. And, of course, I have to give a shoutout to ATL for employing graduates of my former theater program at Morehead State University. It’s worth recognizing when regional theaters with presence on the national scene employ people from their own states. Kudos to ATL for recognizing quality talent in the Commonwealth.

This year marks ATL’s 50th anniversary of producing professional theater in Kentucky. While the theater has changed through the years, and continues to evolve, it remains one of the top theaters in the nation and is dedicated to keeping the spotlight on the Commonwealth for years to come. Congratulations to Actors Theatre of Louisville, the 2013 National Award recipient in the Governor’s Awards in the Arts.

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Give me the rundown of the work and programming produced by Actors Theatre each year.

We have multiple streams of programming. We want to, and feel we have a responsibility, to serve a broad range of people in this community. We have our main stage series which is sponsored by Brown Forman. That is a range of plays that are comedies, dramas, sometimes musicals, sometimes classics, sometimes contemporary. We also have some annual shows which are great holiday traditions for people. They bring their friends and families and they come year after year. We do Dracula, which is unusual in regional theater. This is our 19th year of running Dracula. People love it. We do A Christmas Carol and this will be our 38th season of producing A Christmas Carol. That’s a great entry point, often for children, whose families bring them. We see and have heard many stories from people who remember coming here as a kid and now they’re bringing their own children.

We do the Humana Festival, and that’s how we’re known nationally and internationally. The Humana Festival is like the Sundance of new plays. We produce six to 10 new plays each year during the Humana Festival. It takes place in March and people come from all over the country and all around the world to see it. This past year we had visitors from almost 10 different countries and from more than 30 different states.

How long have you produced the Humana Festival?

In 2014, our current season, we’ll present our 38th Humana Festival. One of the reasons we are so honored to receive the National Award in the Governor’s Awards in the Arts is, over our long history of 50 years, we’ve really been a pioneer. We continue to be a leader in our national field of theater. The Humana Festival was the first new play festival that existed amongst regional theaters in this country. Actors Theatre made a bold commitment and has really stood by that commitment and continued to invest in new play development. And that is to impact the canon of American theater that exists, to continue to feed new work into the American theater. We were a pioneer in creating the business models that exist today for theaters and for many arts organizations, the subscription model that really helps to sustain what we do because people commit to a full season and it allows us to produce a range of programming. Whereas, if we were to sell single tickets to each show, it would be a much bigger and challenging marketing investment.

How has the theater been a leader on the national scene among regional theaters?

Actors Theatre has been a leader over our history and today amongst regional theaters in new play development. We have hundreds and hundreds of theaters and individuals who come to the Humana Festival each year to see the work we are premiering and to either commit to produce it at their organization, to sign on as an agent for one of the playwrights, or to publish the work. We have produced more than 450 new plays for the American theater. One of our big goals each year is to insure they receive subsequent productions. Our current statistic on that is about 80 percent of them go on to subsequent productions. We think that is very strong.

We were actually early in terms of giving access to patrons and donors to our artistic process. We have an open rehearsal process. People can come in and watch rehearsals, whereas many theaters protect that and don’t allow people into the room. We give them access to reading scripts early on in the process.

I would say today we are doing some innovative things in terms of technology. One of the things I’m really excited about we started this past year is a series called The Balcony. For people who are really attached to their phones and need to be on Facebook and Twitter, we have opened it up on certain nights where any seat in the balcony you can Tweet and post to Facebook and interact during the whole show. One of the things I thought was so fascinating and delightful about it is that people who have come there to be on social media and interact with the show have said after intermission, “I want to put my phone away because I just want to watch the show.” We’re really willing to test new media, new technology, in terms of what we do.

Les Waters, who is our current artistic director, is renowned in the world of theater and is a hugely sought after director, one of the top directors working in the states right now. We’re really excited he is here and working with us.

How has Actors Theatre’s location kept Kentucky in the national spotlight over the years and why has that been important to the state?

We are thrilled that we are located in Louisville and in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We get tremendous support in terms of people valuing what we bring to the quality of life and in terms of economic impact to this region. Through the Humana Festival, especially, but through other work, too. We bring great positive attention to the state of Kentucky in terms of truly being one of the best in the country and a leader in the arts in the nation. We also are bringing in the 150 artists we work with each year and employing them in the state. I think they learn a lot about Louisville and Kentucky, and they become ambassadors for this area when they return to their homes.

I’m a big believer that if any of the arts organizations thrive, it helps to elevate the entire sector. I do think because of the great support of this community and the state of Kentucky, Actors Theatre has been able to thrive and to remain strong. That helps the entire arts ecology in the state. We do have strong organizations and artists throughout the state. If we all can remain strong it helps the others as well.

Emily B. Moses, communications director

Categories: Performing Arts | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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