UW School of Drama
Hello Alumni and Friends,

Greetings from the UW School of Drama!  We are excited to share with you news of the School as well as news from our vibrant alumni.  Please send it on to other alumni or friends who might be interested.  Simply use the "forward email" link at the bottom.
Visit our new website with its new, easy to remember address:  drama.washington.edu
Fall 2008 In this Issue...

* Playhouse Renovation Almost Complete
* Mad Men Costume Assistant, Allison Leach
* Barry Witham Retires
* Drama Alumnus returns to UW
* Tikka Sears Develops UW Course
* Alumni News and Information
* On Stage
* Support the School
Name a Seat and Get into the Act!

Support the Restoration of the Historic Playhouse Theatre

One of the most exciting projects in the Seattle arts community is happening right now just off the University of Washington campus. The historic Playhouse Theatre on University Way is being transformed into the Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse, a premier performance venue for the city and a state-of-the-art teaching lab for students.
Since 1931, the Playhouse Theatre has inspired, provoked and delighted Seattle audiences with innovative productions and educational programs.  As one of the oldest continually operating theatres in North America, the building had become substandard for modern instruction and performance, as well as seismically unstable.  A complete renovation of the theatre began in August 2007 and will be completed by the end of this year.
Nearly $10.8 million has already been committed to fund the $11.3 million renovation. However, we still need to raise nearly $500,000 to fully equip the Playhouse before the dedication and gala re-opening in October 2009.
This is where you can get into the act!  With a gift of $1,000, you can become a Friend of the Playhouse and will receive special benefits and advantages.  For a gift of $2,500, you can Name-a-Seat and join the Jones Playhouse Players.  Gifts of any size are valued and will bring us that much closer to reaching our goal.
For more information about supporting the Campaign for the Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse, please visit drama.washington.edu or contact Ashley Clark, Assoc. Director of Advancement for the Arts, at (206) 616-1597 or ashleyac@u.washington.edu.
Pictured above: Installation of the New Sign on the Playhouse (credit: Frank Rosenstein)
Costumer Allison Leach Works on a "Global" Level
Since graduation (2000), Allison Leach has had no shortage of work and she believes it takes all kinds of work to make a career.

"At the UW we worked all aspects of production - stage managing, producing, and costume design," Allison explained. "We practiced collaboration and with that, you become a partner in theatre-making rather than just doing a job. When I approach a job now, I feel I have bigger ideas to offer than just those specifically related to the costumes."

That collaboration went hand-in-glove with assertiveness. "It's imperative to ASK for what you want career-wise. Is there anybody you know I can contact?  Professor Deb Trout put me in touch with my first boss and mentor in LA and while working as a resident assistant designer, I asked to be considered to design my own show there and have since designed two shows for them. If I find out someone needs an assistant designer I research their work, get the contact information, and call or introduce myself in person at an event. There are enough jobs out there but you have to go for them."

After graduating from the UW, Allison earned an M.A. in Fashion/Textile Design from the University of Southampton (Netherlands Satellite) and pursued courses in Paris (Institute Francais de la Mode).
That was five years ago. Since then, in addition to designing bridal gowns, and working in a hat shop in Holland, she's been a wardrobe supervisor and resident assistant designer at Center Theatre Group, taught drama, been a personal stylist for events, toured Italy as an opera designer, travelled to Morocco to film a Wes Craven movie, and designed costumes for Tim Robbins' international touring production of 1984.  Allison has assisted costume designer Janie Bryant for the past two seasons on the Emmy-winning period drama Mad Men and has also been assistant costume designer for Casey Storm, Robert Blackman and Alex Jaeger in commercial and theatre work. In 2005, she won the Ovation Award for best costume design for an all female production of The Merchant of Venice, an award which draws national attention to LA's professional theatre.

You could call her approach to work "global": whatever you call it, this go-getting attitude has held Allison in good stead. Work has been varied, dynamic and exciting. Just like Allison herself.
Pictured top right: Allison with "Mad Men" star, Bryan Batt
Barry Witham Retires

In June, one of our long-time faculty members retired. Barry Witham was with the School for 28 years as a professor, administrator, and scholar, and proved to be outstanding in all arenas. He has long held the distinction of being the favorite teacher for our undergraduate students and will be a hard act to follow.

As a former head of the PhD program, Barry has always recognized the important foundation that academic research provides to the student of Drama.  It is for this reason that Barry has generously decided to establish an endowment at the School of Drama in support of student research.  With matching funds provided by the University, the newly created Witham Endowment for Drama Research will annually provide funds to graduate and undergraduate students pursuing research in support of their academic work. The Endowment will help cover costs for a diverse range of activities. It will allow students to pursue research opportunities in distant, off-campus locations as well as providing for journal subscriptions and access to restricted databases. Barry's gift will continue his legacy in the classroom by opening minds and expanding opportunities for generations of students to come. 

Please click the link below if you would like to honor Barry and contribute to the Witham Endowment for Drama Research.

Drama Alumnus Returns to UW
A homecoming for director of opera Il Mondo della Luna

Cue to Cue: News from the UW School of DramaNoel Koran, new School of Music lecturer and director of the year's first opera, Il Mondo della Luna (The World in the Moon), grew up near Edmonds and graduated from the UW. "I've enjoyed everything I've done in my career," he says, "but I wanted to come home."



Tikka Sears Develops UW Course

For Tikka Sears life after graduation has included travel, touring, and learning how to budget!

International travel, a Fulbright Fellowship, touring in a one woman play (written by an Indonesian playwright) has kept Tikka Sears very busy since graduation (1999). Even an unpaid documentary film internship - though it didn't pay the rent - turned out to have a silver lining---it taught her computer skills and emphasized detail.

With a BA in Drama and a Certificate in Documentary Video Production from the UW, Tikka is a director, actor, multimedia theater artist, and co-founder and artistic director of Memory War Theater Project. Her piece work created under compulsion appeared at Bumbershoot 2008 and On the Boards Northwest New Works Festival in 2007.

Currently Outreach Coordinator for the Southeast Asia Center at the UW's Jackson School of International Studies, Tikka is now teaching. She has designed and is co-teaching a course that provides a way into a more complete and compassionate understanding of Southeast Asian American experiences that includes student interviews, and research, all of which will be developed into a theatrical script. The resulting piece will be performed spring quarter. Drama students are encouraged to audition and take the course.

How did the School of Drama prepare her to do all this? "The UW was terrific," she says, "I was able to get a conservatory-style education and a B.A. I only wish I'd taken more tech courses---especially lighting."

As for advice to current Drama students, Tikka states "Well I'd say: drama skills are important but I wish I'd produced more of my own work while I was a student. That opportunity exists at the School of Drama and those skills really come in handy. Learn how to create original work, self produce, be a manager, a good collaborator, how to write a grant proposal and manage a budget."

Find out more about Tikka's upcoming projects: www.memorywartheaterproject.com.
Pictured top left: Tikka Sears (credit: Mark Brannon)
Pictured right: Tikka in "created under compulsion" (credit: Manuel Castro)

Alumni News and Information

Alumni News and Information

Special Request: Help spread the word and our visibility!

Please remember to include the UW School of Drama in your bio's for show programs. Let the world know where you received your education!

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On Stage
The Quick Change Room
by Nagle  Jackson
December 1-December 14
Penthouse Theatre
Buy Tickets Now! 

Big Love
by Charles L. Mee
February 1-February 15
Meany Studio Theatre
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Blithe Spirit
by NoŽl Coward
February 15-March 1
Penthouse Theatre
Buy Tickets Now!

Our Town
by Thornton Wilder
March 1-March 15
Jones Playhouse
Buy Tickets Now!
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