In the fall of 2012, a number of faculty, students and others who practice, study and enjoy theatre on our (theatreless) campus came together to share resources, ideas, support and to cooperatively advocate for sustainable support and designated performance facilities at Regis. We feel, for example that even an intimate, black box teaching/learning/performance/dialogue space (which includes a functional backstage area; lighting and sound equipment, etc.) should be imperative at an institution that foregrounds leadership, innovation, commmunity, service, education and the whole person. We advocate, as well, for a movement studio/classroom, a rehearsal studio/classroom, and support for classes in visual communication and design that support student mastery of arts relevant to the world’s vital cultural and entertainment industries.
We now make and show work where we can—for instance, off campus, in standard classrooms among desks and other impediments, in meeting rooms, and in other “found spaces.” We perform in the cafeteria, in the pub, on the common, in classrooms and in conference rooms. Our shows are poorly-lit and, while staged to the extent possible, are also un-designed.
We believe that theatre has an important place on a liberal arts campus; that we learn, from it, how to be human… by performing history, relationships, community and democracy; by raising into view questions, issues and concerns of relevance to all, and by inviting critical thinking. We are multidisicplinary: our members are theatre professionals, teachers, and students from communication, fine arts, peace and justice, English, economics and other academic departments. What unites us is our love for—and belief in—the power and potential of theatre.
JANNA L. GOODWIN is the founder/convener of the Regis Performance Alliance.
She is a playwright, director and producer of collaborative, community-based and dialogue-centered work, a performer, and an associate professor of communication and performance studies. Janna’s work has been produced in Colorado, Massachusetts and New York and she has performed throughout the United States. In the spring of 2010, she directed a collaboration among Denver artists, students of Regis University and Denver Venture Charter School to co-create a showcase of original movement and text by the charter school students, Those Whose Arms Are Open (Crossroads Theatre on the Rails). In 2007, her evening of new one-acts, including If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now, Pointers, and Mothers Day, premiered at Denver’s Playwright Theatre. Her musical, The House Not Touched by Death, produced and performed by Pilgrim Theatre, toured New England, using laughter and music to elicit difficult dialogues about health care, communication and mortality. Janna’s award-winning video about women, AIDS and physician-patient communication, Treating Me, was included in the collection of video resources maintained and distributed by the Center for Disease Control.
Janna is a 2008 recipient of a Case Foundation award for project, Five Two Eight O, an arts, story and citizen-centered approach to cooperative inquiry and change. Her full-length play, LaughingStock, written with Ethan Karson, explores the intersections of race, political correctness and performance on a college campus. She also recently completed Face: Online, live & immediat theatr 4 teens n a wirelss wrld, a play with poetry, spoken word and dance about growing up in today’s America. Other original, produced work includes the one acts If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now, Pointers, Mother’s Day (Playwright Theatre, 2008, presented as an evening under the title, Just Pretend Everything Is Perfectly Normal), and The House Not Touched by Death, a musical comedy about death, loved ones and the physician-patient relationship.
She is the creator and advisor of OutRegis! —a campus student group of writers and performers who use collaborative, storytelling methods, edgy sketch comedy and facilitated dialogue to make visible experiences of difference that are difficult to acknowledge or discuss.
Her Ph.D. and M.A. are from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where her doctoral work concerned the application of performance in a correctional institution, making an argument that performance changes people, and demonstrating ways in which this is so. Janna has written extensively about creating the conditions under which productive postshow conversations are more likely to occur. Her B.A., from Hampshire College, is in Film and Music, and she is an alumna of the National Shakespeare Conservatory and a co-founder of the Ko Festival of Performance at Amherst.