By Sarah Gianelli EBS Associate Editor
BIG SKY – As has been the case for the dance and choral programs, the theater component of the Big Sky Conservatory culminates in a sneak preview of work developed during the residency program and offers a chance for the community to participate in free workshops led by top performing arts professionals. All of the events take place at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center.
On Saturday, Aug. 5, from 10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Tony Award-winning Broadway actress Michele Pawk and actress/playwright Stephanie DiMaggio will lead an acting workshop for actors of all ages, abilities and experience that will include general games and warm up exercises followed by the creation of a short musical. Pawk will also discuss what it’s like to work to on Broadway and be a professional actor.
From 1-3 p.m., playwright Caroline McGraw and director Eddie Prunoske will lead a writer’s workshop with a focus on the playwriting process, and a practical lesson about how a play is taken from the page to the stage. Local writers are invited to bring writing samples to be critiqued and workshopped.
On Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m. there will be a ticketed two-act event that will include scenes and original works created by the residency fellows, or paying participants, followed by a reading of a new play by McGraw, starring Pawk, that the troupe of New York theater professionals worked on while in Big Sky.
“That’s the whole conservatory,” said WMPAC Artistic Director John Zirkle. “We’re helping bring a new work to fruition, and the fellows get to be a part of that process.”
The hope is that McGraw’s as-of-yet unnamed play will follow suit with DiMaggio’s play “Levity,” which was developed during the inaugural Big Sky Conservatory two years ago, and will now see its world debut during WMPAC’s 2017/2018 winter season.
“Levity” will also be the first new, original play not only presented by, but also produced by the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center.
“Ideally we’ll have this cycle [where] the play is developed [here] and two years later it makes it into our winter season,” Zirkle said. “That’s the intention ideally—we incubate it, we premiere it, we present it and we produce it. … That’s the whole vision of the performing arts center—present in the winter, create in the summer, inspire year-round.”