Category Archives: Events

NTID Performing Arts and RIT College of Liberal Arts announce 2019-2020 joint theatrical season

Poster with five program names and descriptions with graphics for each.

NTID Performing Arts and RIT College of Liberal Arts have announced their 2019-2020 joint theatrical season. The plays and dance performance present a wide array of cultural, political, and social issues. Two productions will be presented on the Panara stage, two productions will be performed in 1510 Theatre Lab, and one production will be performed in the Booth Black Box. The season includes:

I and You
Play by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Andy Head
October 25-27, 2019
1510 Lab Theatre, LBJ Building

One afternoon, Anthony arrives unexpectedly at classmate Caroline’s door bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” an urgent assignment from their English teacher. Homebound due to illness, Caroline hasn’t been to school in months, but she is as quick and sardonic as Anthony is athletic, sensitive, and popular. As these two let down their guards and share their secrets, this seemingly mundane poetry project unlocks a much deeper mystery that has brough them together. I and You is an ode to youth, life, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness.

People of the Third Eye
Directed by Patti Durr and Karen Christie
November 15-17, 2019
Robert F. Panara Theatre

The show will be a unique work showcasing slices of Deaf lives—both contemporary and historical. Created collaboratively by the cast members, audiences will be treated to various genres of ASL performance art—poetry, narrative personal experiences, creative storytelling, reenactment of historical events, as well as dramatic monologues and dialogues. Woven into the action on stage will be film clips and live painting. Bookending the play will be a contemporary encounter with a well-known historical Deaf figure who still has much to teach us.

Dial M for Murder
Written by Frederick Knott
Directed by Luane Davis-Haggerty
February 28-March 1, 2019
Robert F. Panara Theatre

Tony Wendice has married his wife, Margot, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason. He arranges the perfect murder. Tony blackmails a scoundrel he used to know into strangling Margot for a fee of one thousand pounds. He also arranges a brilliant alibi for himself. Unfortunately…the murderer gets murdered and the victim survives. But this doesn’t baffle the husband: He sees his hireling’s death as an opportunity to have his wife convicted for the murder of the man who tried to murder her, and that is what almost happens. Luckily, the police inspector from Scotland Yard and a young man who is in love with the wife discover the truth, and in a scene of almost unbearable suspense they trap the husband into revealing his guilt, thus freeing Margot.

Bent
Written by Martin Sherman
Directed by Matthew Nicosia
March 27-29, 2020
BOO-A428, Booth Black Box, Booth Building

In 1934 Berlin on the eve of the Nazi incursion, Max, a grifter, and his lover Rudy are recovering from a night of debauchery with an SA trooper. Two soldiers burst into the apartment and slit their guest’s throat, beginning a nightmare odyssey through Nazi Germany. Ranked lower on the human scale than Jews, the men as avowed homosexuals, flee. Desperate and on the run, Max asks his own “discreetly” homosexual Uncle Freddie for help, the older man offers little more than suggestions on how to live, as he does, practicing homosexuality on the side. Attempting their escape, Rudy is beaten to death as Horst, another homosexual prisoner, warns Max to deny his lover. Taken to a death camp at Dachau, Max and Horst branded with the “pink triangle,” hope to survive with each other for comfort and courage, but it is not to be. Richard Gere created the role of Max on Broadway.

The Rhythm of Motion and Light (dance)
Conceived and Directed by Thomas Warfield
April 17-19, 2020
Robert F. Panara Theatre

Dance: The Rhythm of Motion and Light is a multi-arts, multi-experiential dance performance utilizing innovative collaborations with new technologies and live music for a concert in spring 2020. The performance will include: the use of AR (Augmented Reality – blending physical world with virtual content over-layed), dancers with hidden mini-cameras on their bodies adding to the layers of compositional substance, manipulation of visual texture - using ‘cellograph’ (where cellophane is stretched across structured frames and painted on). Another innovative concept will be choreography created from multiple forms of technology itself – instead of adding technology to what is already choreographed, the dance will be molded from the technology – the way a choreographer might choreograph to music. This production will be a true spectacle of color, light, movement and music, designed to expand the confines of dance and present a more fluid and integrated expression of technology.

For more information on the entire season, please visit: https://www.rit.edu/cla/finearts/theatrearts/cla-ntid-19-20-theatrical-season.

TICKET INFORMATION
On-site: RIT University Arenas, 200 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester NY 14623
Website: www.rittickets.com
By phone: 585-475-4121
Prices:
$5.00 for Student, Senior (60+), and Children under age 12
$10.00 for RIT Faculty/Staff/Alumni
$12.00 for General Public
Tickets also will be available on performance days two hours prior to curtain.

**For Bent: this play is not appropriate for children under 12. **

ROBERT F. PANARA LOCATION
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Lyndon Baine Johnson (LBJ) Hall (Building 60)
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York 14623

Free parking is available in Lot L.

BOOTH BLACK BOX LOCATION
Rochester Institute of Technology
James E. Booth (BOO) Hall (Building 7A)
Rochester, New York 14623

Free parking is available in Lot E, F, G, and H.

ABOUT ROBERT F. PANARA THEATRE
The Robert F. Panara Theatre is named in honor of Dr. Robert Panara, RIT’s first Deaf professor and founder of the NTID Drama Club. A 460-seat auditorium, the theater has played host to numerous guest artists such as Mikail Baryishnikov; Jane Fonda; Louise Fletcher; Marlee Maitlin; the National Theatre of the Deaf; Phyllis Frelich; Bernard Bragg; Patrick Graybill; Howie Seago; Cleveland SignStage; Annabelle Gamzon; Garth Fagan Dance; Hartford Ballet; Foreigner; Emerson, Lake and Palmer; Sean Forbes; American Deaf Dance Company; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre; Danielle Ponder; and many others. The theater opened its doors on October 3, 1974, with a production of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Originally called the Experimental Educational Theatre (EET), the theater program has a rich heritage of offering challenging, entertaining, and provocative works, all created for both Deaf and hearing audiences. We have produced work in a wide variety of theater styles; Comedy, Musical, Dance, Drama, Classical, Kabuki (Japanese), Experimental, Puppets, and new works by both Deaf and hearing authors.

BOOTH BLACK BOX
The Booth Black Box is a smaller space located on the lower level of James E. Booth (BOO) Hall in room A428. The space serves as a venue for a variety of experimental and intimate productions.

Current season productions at RIT include:

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 6:30pm
Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 6:30pm
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 6:30pm
Friday, April 19, 2019 - 7:30pm

‘Leaves of the Poetry Tree,’ based on children’s poetry and prose, brings interpretive dance to life for deaf and hearing audiences

light green background with center image of trees with dancing figure. text above reads Leaves of the Poetry Tree

A collection of interpretive dances based on children’s prose and poetry is featured in a new production by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s Performing Arts department at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Leaves of the Poetry Tree combines music, American Sign Language and poetry with dance, and features a variety of styles including tap, ballet, modern/contemporary, hip-hop and jazz. Using inspiration found in children’s stories and poetry books, the family-friendly dance production addresses issues and challenges such as bullying, fear, death, racial differences, gender identity and equality. Deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing performers take the stage together, joined by young dancers from area public schools.

The show is directed by dancer, actor and NTID alumna and staff member Nicole Marie Cruz, and features set design by Erin Auble, costume design by Danica Zielinski, sound and projection by Dan Roach, and lighting by Nic Minetor.

Leaves of the Poetry Tree runs 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21-23, with 2 p.m. matinee performances Feb. 23-24, in NTID’s Panara Theatre, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall. 

Tickets—$5 for students, senior citizens (60+) and children under 12, $10 for RIT faculty/staff/alumni, and $12 for the general public—are available online at www.rittickets.com, at the RIT University Arenas box office, 200 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, N.Y. 14623, or by calling 585-475-4121.

‘Rise Up: Silent Margins’ exhibit documents artist’s life as a deaf person

black and white checks at the bottom with a figure walking into grass and flowers with more red flowers at the top.

A collection of paintings on display at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf explores deafness in a unique and powerful way. “Rise Up: Silent Margins,” a collection of 17 paintings by RIT/NTID alumna Ashley Hannan, runs through Feb. 23 in NTID’s Dyer Arts Center Glass Room.

Hannan’s paintings document her journey of coming to terms with being deaf, having a cochlear implant and being the only deaf person in the mainstream schools she attended. Of her piece The Black Hole of Conflicted Identity, Hannan says, “Growing up, after having been educated at an oral deaf school with intensive speech therapy and audiology testing, I still felt incomplete. Though I was implanted with a cochlear implant at age 6, ‘fixing’ me still did not fill in the hole I had and still have in my identity. Thousands of dollars was spent on my education to perfect my listening and speech. It wasn’t until my young adult years I began to awaken and notice the conflict in my self-esteem stemmed from the lack of understanding that there is a deaf culture that is just as functional as the hearing world. I was apprehensive of delving into the deaf world for my identity for a long time.”

Of her piece Be True, Hannan says, “It took me many years, maybe three decades, to realize that all I needed to do was ‘be true’ to myself. Reject the envy of being ‘hearing’ and nurture the ‘flaw’ I have, my deafness. Emerge into something beautiful that always has been there.”

As part of the exhibit, Hannan, a graduate of RIT’s graphic design program, has created accompanying text that explains the symbolism within each piece.

A closing reception for the exhibit will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 22 and a painting party will be held Feb. 23, in the gallery.

The gallery is located on the RIT campus in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, go to www.rit.edu/ntid/dyerarts/.

RIT/NTID alumnus Greg Pollock to keynote Let Freedom Ring event

Close up of light skinned male with short dark hair and short beard wearing grey shirt.

The Rochester Institute of Technology community will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with its second annual Let Freedom Ring event, featuring music, dance and excerpts from some of King’s most notable speeches. Performers include Thomas Warfield and the RIT/NTID Dance Company, the RIT String Quartet and keynote speaker Greg Pollock ’12 (professional and technical communication).

Pollock is the vice president of human resources and accessibility officer at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh. He started his career as a public affairs specialist at the Dow Chemical Co. As a student at RIT, Pollock served two terms as president of RIT’s Student Government (2010-2012), a rare occurrence, and was the only deaf RIT Student Government President to serve two terms.

“We are excited to bring the RIT community together to celebrate the holiday,” said Keith Jenkins, RIT’s vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion. “King’s work and words made an indelible impact on our nation’s conscience, and we invite all to join us as we reflect on the lessons he taught us.”

Let Freedom Ring takes place 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, in Ingle Auditorium. It will be followed by a reception with refreshments from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge. ASL interpreters have been requested. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are encouraged to register at www.rit.edu/diversity/registerlfr.

Collaborative and accessible theater productions happen at RIT

Student actors in costume seated in front, female lifted by two males in center, dancers in back.

Rochester Institute of Technology shows how collaborative, accessible theater happens when deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing students perform on stage together as they did in the recent production of Cabaret. The show created a unique experience for theater-goers.

Building community is the theme of latest NTID Dyer Arts Center exhibits

Man and woman looking at two large paintings. Woman is pointing to the painting on the left.

Two exhibits running simultaneously at the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf have a central theme of connecting Rochester’s deaf and hearing artistic communities.

Open through Dec. 15, “Cultivating Connections: Growing Communities in the Flower City” showcases artwork representing our local community and features artists living within Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Orleans, Livingston and Genesee counties. “6x6 Deaf Pride” features more than 100 artworks created by members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, as well as allies of the deaf community. The artworks in the “6x6 Deaf Pride” exhibit are available for $20 each. Proceeds will be donated to the Dyer Arts Center.

All of the artwork is representative of the artist’s community, which can include, but isn’t limited to, geography, religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, or LGBTQIA+ identification, or a combination of these.

“Originally, this exhibition was only going to showcase local deaf artists, but I realized that by doing that, we are siloing ourselves from the Rochester community,” said Tabitha Jacques, Dyer Arts Center director. “This exhibit—in which 50 percent of the artists are deaf— is about celebrating how unique Rochester is and will hopefully bring a new set of visitors to the gallery. We want our guests to learn more about the deaf experience, the diversity of our local communities and the Dyer Arts Center.”

Jacques is also expecting the dual exhibits to have a “ripple effect,” building a continued interest in connecting Rochester’s deaf and hearing communities.

“One of my goals has always been to bridge the artistic and deaf communities,” added Jacques. “Many years later, my goal is the same, and I’m proud that it is manifesting in this way.”

The gallery is located on the RIT campus in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, go to www.rit.edu/ntid/dyerarts/.

NTID Performing Arts and RIT College of Liberal Arts co-present ‘Cabaret’ Nov. 30-Dec. 2

A group of multi-ethnic male and female dancers with arms linked in a circle kicking up their heels.

The unique blend of deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing students performing on stage together will guarantee theater-goers a one-of-a-kind experience at the debut of the Tony-award winning classic Cabaret at Rochester Institute of Technology. The performance of the hit musical will run in Panara Theatre in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and 2 p.m. Dec. 1–2.   

The show, directed by Andy Head, visiting assistant professor, welcomes theater-goers to the top-secret Kit Kat Klub, where the music is loud, the dances are flashy and the party rages on. The club’s newest headliner, Sally Bowles, meets American writer Cliff Bradshaw, and their lives become entwined. But, as Nazism spreads throughout Germany, questions and concerns continue to grow about how the club, its patrons, and Sally and Cliff—played by Kyle Buohl, a third-year ASL-English interpretation major from Boston—will fare. The show is not appropriate for children under 12.

“Though it takes place in a very specific era, Cabaret has a timeless feel to it,” said Head. “Set in Germany at the crossroads of the crumbling Weimer Republic and the rise of Hitler’s Nazi Party, it shows us how people react to a rising story on the horizon. Some flee, some fight, some fall in line, and some ignore the problem. A story like Cabaret forces us to ask ourselves how we react when we see injustice spreading around us.

“In addition, we’ve changed the roles of many of the characters from hearing to deaf and the effects are far-reaching. It affects the characters, the way the story is told, and how the audience receives the story. Because of these conceptual changes, audiences will be treated to a truly new and unique Cabaret. On a daily basis, I am amazed by what our students can do. This show is challenging them in ways they might never have been challenged before onstage.”

This is Victoria Covell’s first foray into musical theater. She takes on the lead role of Sally Bowles.

“It has been a rich learning experience, and I am loving it,” said Covell, a third-year graphic design major from Jacksonville, Ill. “I have had to learn to balance my time with school work and memorizing my lines. But it has forced me to get out of my comfort zone and learn how to be self-confident. I also love that I have been able to make new friends along the way.”

The show is co-presented by RIT’s College of Liberal Arts and NTID’s Performing Arts program.

Tickets can be purchased through RIT University Arenas and are $5 for students and senior citizens, $10 for RIT faculty/staff/alumni, and $12 for the general public. Tickets will also be sold at the door two hours before show time on performance days. American Sign Language interpreters will be available for all performances. For more information, call 585-475-4121.

RIT officially opens new MAGIC Spell Studios building

Night shot of two-story brick building with front sign that reads

Rochester Institute of Technology opened the newest building on campus—the 52,000-square-foot MAGIC Spell Studios. The building brings together RIT’s academic strengths in game design and development, film and animation, and digital media. The new facility—the only one of its kind in the Northeast—boasts the latest in technology and design, rivaling media production studios in New York City and Hollywood. More.

RIT/NTID honors researchers with Sponsored Programs Awards

Group photo of 14 smiling men and women with orange flower corsages.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf recently honored 12 researchers and program directors for their work leading to new knowledge, strategies or programs and services to improve the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. 

Award recipients are:

Scholarship Portfolio Development Initiative (SPDI) – Internal seed funding opportunity for early-career faculty and contract research faculty, whose projects typically represent the initial stages of projects that could attract external support in the future. They are:

  • Robyn Dean, assistant professor in NTID’s American Sign Language and Interpreting Education Department: Investigating interpreter fatigue, and how it can be exaggerated or mitigated by varying the way in which pairs of interpreters work.
  • Jason Nordhaus, assistant professor in NTID’s Department of Science and Mathematics: Exploring the behavior of a black hole inside a giant star using dynamical 3D simulations.
  • Corrine Occhino, research assistant professor in NTID’s Sign Language Laboratory: Along with co-investigator Joseph Hill, examining the variations in ASL that correlate to diverse regional, racial, ethnic, and socio-economic factors and evaluating how ASL users regard the use of non-standard varieties of the language.
  • Jessica Trussell, assistant professor in NTID’s Master of Science program in Secondary Education and researcher in NTID’s Center for Education Research Partnerships: Developing and implementing an intensive approach to reading comprehension for deaf and hard-of-hearing readers that requires students to work in collaborative groups. 

NTID Sponsored Programs Awards – A new award program that recognizes individuals who have made a difference. Awardees are nominated by NTID faculty. Awards include:

Student Research Mentor Award to Bonnie Jacob, assistant professor in NTID’s Department of Science and Mathematics. Jacob’s work has supported 17 student researchers. She is the principal investigator of the first all-deaf and hard-of-hearing Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program supported by the NSF. 

Up-and Coming PI Award to Jason Nordhaus, assistant professor in NTID’s Department of Science and Mathematics. Nordhaus is nationally known for research describing stellar evolution. He is affiliated with RIT’s College of Science and its world-renowned Center on Computational Relativity and Gravity (CCRG).

Collaborator Award to Keith Mousley, associate professor in NTID”s Department of Science and Mathematics. Mousley’s work collaborating with other researchers explores issues connected to teaching math and other STEM skills to deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Co-PI Award to Myra Pelz, associate professor and co-PI for DeafTEC. For the past seven years, Pelz has been the full-time co-PI of DeafTEC, one of NTID’s signature programs with more than 29 partner high schools in 17 states.

PI Award to Matt Dye, assistant professor and Deaf x Laboratory director. Dye has successfully launched a long-range program of research in cognitive neuroscience supported by a total of seven awards from NIH, NSF, and the Swiss National Science Foundation, as well as one SPDI award. Dye’s funded projects presently employ a full-time research coordinator and a postdoctoral scholar, and support the efforts of graduate and undergraduate research assistants.

Partner Award to Matt Huenerfauth, associate professor in RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Presented to a collaborator from one of RIT’s other colleges who has helped NTID realize its goals, the award recognized Huenerfauth as a key partner in projects investigating topics in mixed mode communication and communication technology. He is the founder of the Linguistic and Assistive Technologies Laboratory (“LATLab”), a bilingual (English / ASL) research lab.

Pioneer Award to Mike Stinson, professor and NTID research faculty member. This award recognizes Stinson for his pioneering work to develop speech-to-text technology for the higher education classroom, work that continues to the present in the guise of research on automated speech recognition. C-Print® is the first research-based speech-to-text (captioning) technology and service for educational usage, and has been used in educational environments across the country in grades 4 through postsecondary programs.

X-Factor Award to Donna Easton, research assistant, NTID’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Virtual Academic Community. The award, honoring those who support the work of a project team, was given to Easton for her critical contributions to 11 funded projects including C-Print® and the Virtual Academic Community.

Founders Award to Jim DeCaro, NTID dean emeritus. This award acknowledges a lifetime of achievement in educational programming for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, along with DeCaro’s success in spreading the knowledge and educational expertise of NTID faculty around the world. DeCaro’s vision and drive also were instrumental in establishing NTID’s first dedicated research facility, Rosica Hall, which is presently at full occupancy with four centers, one major program, one research lab, and other research projects that are largely funded by external grants. 

“NTID’s 50th anniversary year is an excellent time to introduce this recognition program,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “The program celebrates why principal investigators seek funding – because they need resources so that they can continue to make a difference in the world.”