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The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival announces 2021 Tennessee Williams Institute Programming

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The 16th Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival is pleased to announce the 2021 Tennessee Williams Institute (TWI).  TWI 2021 offers workshops in creative responses to censorship and a symposium on attempts to censor theaters from Ancient Greece to Soviet Russia – and to America during Tennessee Williams’ lifetime and now. This year’s discussions will be framed by Williams’ decades of engagement with censors, and will consider the question: When, if ever, is censorship appropriate? The event, which runs September 22 – 26 this year, features scholars and practitioners of resistance to censorship:  Sharon Marie Carnicke, Gregory S. Carr, Felicia Hardison Londré, and Rebecca Mark, with interactive workshops featuring Penny Arcade and Lefty Lucy.

Four TWI scholars will participate in this year’s symposium and will present scholarly context for the 2021 Festival’s focus on Williams and Censorship. Sharon Marie Carnicke is a professor of critical studies and acting at the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts. She is considered the world’s foremost expert on Stanislavsky and is founder of the Stanislavsky Institute for the 21st Century. She is also a master teacher of Active Analysis, the rehearsal technique created by Stanislavsky in the 1930s, banned by Stalin, and kept alive by Maria Knebel, the renowned Russian director. At this year’s Institute she will be presenting on how Stalin’s censors altered Stanislavsky’s writing, an influence that continues today. Gregory S. Carr is an instructor of Speech and Theatre at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, MO. His essays have appeared in the Routledge Companion to African American TheatreTheatre Symposium Volume 21: Ritual, Religion and Theatre, and Theatre Symposium 26. At the 2019 Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis he led the panel on “Progressive Politics in Tennessee Williams’ St. Louis.” At this year’s Institute in Provincetown, he will be presenting the history of the “Black” Lysistrata closed down by the Federal Theatre Project in 1937 despite sold-out performances. Felicia Hardison Londrй is Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Theatre Emerita at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She served as literary manager for the Missouri Repertory Theatre for 22 years. Her scholarship, specializing in American, French, and Russian theater, as well as Shakespearean dramaturgy, includes publishing over 60 scholarly articles, 25 journalistic publications, and 14 books. Dr. Londré is co-convener, with Kip Niven, organizing KC Moliиre (400 in 2022), a celebration of Molière’s 400th birthday in 2022. At the Institute, she will be presenting the parallels between Moliere’s 17th century battles with the Jesuit order and Tennessee Williams’ 20th century battles with the Catholic Church. Rebecca Mark is the Director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership and a Professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University. Formerly, she was the Chair of the English Department and Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Academic Equity at Tulane University. Her books include Ersatz America: Hidden Traces, Graphic Texts, and Mending of Democracy. Professor Mark is known for the Mae West portion of her “She Who Laughs Last: Standing Up to Patriarchy” course at Tulane. At the Institute, she will be presenting context for the festival’s presentation of Mae West’s play Sex.

Lefty Lucy

Educational programming at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival includes two interactive workshops providing creative responses to censorship. All workshops are 90 minutes long. Workshops are included in Carte Blanche passes and are an option for Flex Pass and Day Pass-holders. Individual workshops cost $40 each or $30 for currently enrolled college or university students. This year’s Institute workshops includes Penny Arcade’s Newest Writing —Arcade, along with her longtime creative partner Steve Zehentner, develop their newest work with input from a live audience. As calls for silencing expression grow, Arcade has been focusing her thoughts about censorship as self-righteousness. Become a part of the creative process as the project moves from page to stage. Also included is The Institute’s Burlesque Workshop, Lefty Lucy’s Create Your Own Burlesque, which will be hosted by Lefty Lucy, Miss Coney Island 2011. She’ll strip away preconceptions and reveal some of the classic moves of this uniquely American art form, including tassel twirling and a number of the titillating moves that make burlesque empowering, fun, and threatening. Workshop participants will discover the silly and sordid history of striptease, learn just how many different ways there are to burlesque, and explore how to put together their own act.

TWI participants will include scholars who specialize in Tennessee Williams, providing context on the playwright in performance at the Festival and elsewhere.  These scholars include: Mark Charney is Director of the School of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University; Thomas Keith is consulting editor in charge of the Tennessee Williams titles for New Directions Publishing; Tom Mitchell is Chair of Acting in the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Kristin Leahey, Assistant Professor of Dramatic Literature & Dramaturgy at Boston University, will moderate the discussions.

Participants attend Festival productions and participate in symposium discussions of the Festival’s programming. The cost to attend the Institute, including tickets and symposium, is $450.  More information about the Tennessee Williams Institute programming, including Williams 101 and Festival Internships can be found at twptown.org/study.

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