Category Archives: Campus Events

RIT/NTID hosts “Signing Time” free family concert May 3

light skinned female with brown hair wearing orange shirt and jacket signing ILY.

Rachel Coleman, musician and star of the popular PBS and video series Signing Time, will perform a free show at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, in the Robert F. Panara Theatre, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall. Joining her on stage will be Coleman’s daughter Leah, an industrial design major at RIT/NTID, and her show sidekick, Hopkins the Frog.

Upon discovering that her 14-month old daughter was deaf, Coleman began searching for ways to develop her language and communication skills. Coleman found that by learning sign language, her daughter’s vocabulary rapidly increased.

Coleman and her sister began creating videos for children to learn American Sign Language and started a production company and foundation dedicated to making sign language fun and accessible to all children.

Originally a series on PBS, Signing Time featured Coleman’s daughter Leah and nephew Alex, and ran for two years. The series continued and expanded through online videos.

“It is so exciting to be performing at NTID,” Coleman said. “Signing Time started when my deaf child, Leah, was four years old and in preschool. Over the past 18 years, many of Leah’s peers have grown up watching Signing Time. It feels like we’ve come full circle doing an NTID Signing Time concert now that Leah is a senior in college.”

Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance by emailing Joseph Fox, NTID theater production assistant, at jwfnpa@rit.edu.
 

NTID rededication ceremony celebrates 50 years of deaf education

Light skinned female and male unveil replica of a large plaque that's on an easel.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf celebrated 50 years since the establishment of the world’s first technological college for deaf students with a rededication ceremony April 5, in Panara Theatre, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall.

In addition to RIT/NTID faculty, staff, retirees, alumni and students, attendees included members of the original faculty and class of NTID students from 1968; local, state and federal government officials; and Lucinda Robb, granddaughter of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1965, President Johnson signed Public Law 89-36, allowing for the creation of NTID. The rededication marks the first time that a relative of President Johnson has visited the campus since Lady Bird Johnson visited in 1974 for the dedication of NTID’s main academic building, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall.

“We are so honored to have you here with us to celebrate 50 years of NTID and the foresight and leadership of your grandfather and members of Congress to establish this great college,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president, to Robb during the ceremony. “As you can see here today, the legacy of your grandfather does not only appear in history books. He continues to be honored by five decades of students and their families who have benefitted from the educational opportunities provided to them by NTID.”

During the presentation, Robb unveiled a prototype of a plaque that will hang near Panara Theatre. A proclamation from New York State Sen. Rich Funke was read in recognition of NTID’s accomplishments and U.S. Congressman Joseph Morelle displayed a statement to the U.S. Congressional Record. Buckley also acknowledged federal, state and local government officials, members of RIT’s Board of Trustees and NTID’s National Advisory Group, representatives from New York state schools for the deaf and other leaders in deaf education, and NTID faculty, staff, students, alumni and retirees.

A video greeting was provided by U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer.

“Congratulations to all of the staff and students and alumni of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf as you celebrate an amazing 50 years. I’m so proud that NTID has become one of the great American institutes educating our students for the 21st century economy. The Rochester region, in particular, has been enriched thanks to NTID’s contributions and graduates, many of whom stay in Rochester to live, work and create new businesses that propel our region’s economy forward. Your success is remarkable.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sent remarks. “Although I am not with you in person, I join you in spirit to celebrate this remarkable anniversary, to honor the extraordinary efforts of the founding members of NTID, and to recommit ourselves to the mission of this incredible institution for the next 50 years. I have seen firsthand the excellent and high quality education each NTID student receives by having three interns from NTID in my Washington, Long Island and Rochester offices. NTID has empowered deaf and hard-of-hearing people to make history and to change our communities for the better…I know NTID will continue to educate, employ and embolden deaf and hard-of-hearing leaders for years to come.”

Robb, who is the daughter of Lynda Bird Johnson Robb and former Sen. Chuck Robb, worked as director of recruiting at The Teaching Company and is currently writing a book on the tactics of the women’s suffrage movement. She is a director on the board of the National Archives Foundation, the Arlington Food Assistance Center in Virginia, and Communities in Schools of NOVA. In 2016, she started KidsGiving, a project to encourage philanthropy in children. She occasionally writes book reviews for the Washington Post.

“It’s truly an honor to be here at NTID and to learn about the rich heritage of this great college. Knowing that my family played a part in that history fills me with such pride,” said Robb. “They would be so proud of what has been accomplished in just 50 short years at NTID—graduates from all states and from countries around the world who now work in business, industry, government, non-profits and the performing and visual arts – and who make their communities richer by their presence and their contributions. On behalf of my entire family, thank you for inviting me to join you in this celebration today, and for all that you do to honor my grandfather’s legacy.”

New York State Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul stressed the value of RIT/NTID graduates. "This is an institution with its beautiful alliance, its marriage, with RIT that sends people out into the world prepared to accept life’s challenges. But not just to better their own lives, but truly to better the lives of others."

Rep. Morelle shared his appreciation for the quality of instruction at NTID.

“I want to congratulate everyone at NTID, as well as the greater Rochester community, for 50 years of excellence,” said Morelle. “Thank you to the many educators, interpreters, faculty and staff who work tirelessly every day to provide a world-class education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. NTID provides a transformative education that allows deaf and hard-of-hearing students to thrive and reach their full potential. With almost 9,000 alumni, NTID continues to open doors and break down barriers for the deaf community. I am so proud to represent a community that is home to such incredible institutions like RIT and NTID that are truly changing the world for the better.”

Throughout the ceremony, several featured guests recalled fond memories of Lady Bird Johnson who came to campus in 1974 to dedicate LBJ Hall. Alumnus Robert Sidansky, who was president of NTID Student Congress in the 1970s, accompanied Lady Bird Johnson on a tour of the building and spoke with her about the services that NTID provided.

“She was about to leave to catch her airplane, when she turned around and said, ‘It was great meeting you. Thank you, Bob.’ I was awed that she remembered my name. With her brief visitation at NTID, she taught me the importance of recognizing people’s names as an essential part of leadership.”

Frank Sklarsky spoke on behalf of RIT’s Board of Trustees. “We, as trustees, greatly value the national and international recognition that NTID has gained in its own right and has also brought to RIT, and are grateful for the role NTID continues to play in making our university world class. NTID is truly a brilliant jewel of the RIT family and a source of inspiration and pride for all of us.”

The event also featured a video showcasing NTID’s history and a performance by Sunshine 2.0, a four-member traveling theatrical troupe from NTID that entertains and educates audiences about the deaf experience.

RIT Student Government President Bobby Moakley, an environmental science major from Boston, spoke briefly about the next generation of NTID students.

“We, the newest generation of RIT/NTID Tigers, are dedicated to honoring the legacy of the past 50 years, while at the same time blazing our own trail for the future of the college,” said Moakley. “RIT/NTID is an extremely unique environment in that we are leading in the integration of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing communities. Every day at our university is a learning experience for everyone here. NTID has been, and will continue to be, a place of creativity, enabling deaf students to succeed in the classroom and beyond.”

RIT/NTID Presents ‘Signing Time Live” a family concert with Rachel Coleman

Stage with life-size frog character, colorful balloons and female in jeans and orange top.

RIT/NTID's Office of the President presents: Signing Time Live, a Family Concert!

Sing and sign your favorite Signing Time songs with hosts, Rachel Coleman, RIT/NTID student Leah Coleman and their sidekick, Hopkins the Frog, at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 3 in the Robert F. Panara Theatre, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, on the RIT campus. This family-friendly concert is approximately one hour in duration. 

Rachel Coleman is the creator of the popular "Signing Time!" series available online and in rotation on PBS stations. 

Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance by contacting Joseph Fox at jwfnpa@rit.edu
 

RIT/NTID student Bobby Moakley and RIT’s James Myers to receive this year’s Alfred Davis awards

On left, a younger light-skinned male with brown hair and beard, on right an older light-skinned male with brown hair.

A graduating RIT/NTID student leader who has been engaged in public service, student government and environmental stewardship has been named a winner in this year’s Alfred L. Davis Distinguished Public Service Awards. Bobby Moakley, of Boston, a fourth-year environmental science major and graduate student in science, technology and public policy, will receive the 2019 Bruce R. James Award.

The awards will be given at a public ceremony at 4 p.m. Wednesday in University Gallery in Booth Hall.

Moakley, who serves as president of RIT Student Government, has been an avid participant in leadership and community service projects. Last month he participated in RIT’s Alternative Spring Break, traveling to Florida, where his group did disaster relief from Hurricane Michael and helped with coastline reparations.

Kaitlin Stack Whitney, visiting assistant professor in the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, submitted a nomination for Moakley, saying he used project opportunities in her class “to learn more about Rochester’s environment and human communities. He is a thoughtful and engaged student who wants to learn more about the world around him and seizes those opportunities. This work connects to his goals as a student and future professional – he works at the intersection of environmental and social justice issues.”

Moakley also has been a pioneering member of Into the ROC, an RIT program that connects students with city communities, learning experiences and service opportunities.

“Bobby is motivated by what connects people and changes the world,” Stack Whitney said. “He does so much community service to and for RIT because he’s committed to the campus people and to making this the best campus experience for everyone, not just himself. He clearly enjoys getting to think and do with so many people around campus—students, faculty, staff and administrators. Being a collaborator and succeeding at it, as a true peer—with those diverse teams helps remind him that he can do anything once he graduates.”

David Bagley, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, said Moakley, as Student Government president, “has already tackled several campus issues and has created a collaborative culture and positive environment. His personal experiences and passion for the Rochester area have greatly impacted his endeavors as an agent of public service. He truly understands the importance of public service and constantly identifies avenues/platforms to promote and assist others along his journey.”

He said Moakley’s passion for helping others and his natural abilities as an influencer “positively encourage other students to engage in public service. … I hold Bobby in the highest regard as he is always a role model to others in our community and exemplifies what a great student leader should be. We are lucky to have Bobby on our campus. He continues to be a strong voice and a positive change agent.

“It’s such an honor to receive this award and to be recognized for some of my public services,” Moakley said. “It further encourages me to continue serving the community and contributing my skills to those in need.”

Moakley will donate the $1,000 he earns from the award to the Ibero-American Development Corporation, which renovates and manages buildings and affordable homes in Rochester. He spent last summer working for them as an urban fellow.

Also receiving an award is a dedicated Rochester Institute of Technology administrator who helped expand RIT’s global presence as well as being an active community volunteer locally and in Haiti. James Myers, associate provost for International Education and Global Programs, will receive the 2019 Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award. Myers joined RIT in 1988 as an instructor in the School of Food, Hotel and Travel Management. He left RIT to obtain his doctorate in natural resource economics, and returned in 1999, when he became the first academic associate dean of RIT’s American College of Management and Technology in Croatia, and later professor and director of the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies. He currently is associate provost of International Education and Global Programs.

Myers has been an active community volunteer for more than 30 years. He is chairman of the board of directors for Haiti Outreach Pwoje Espwa (H.O.P.E.), a nonprofit organization that supports health, sanitation and economic development in a rural community in northern Haiti.

He also has been an active member in a marathon training program for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Western New York.

“Jim is widely recognized and highly respected across all of RIT’s campuses,” said International Student Services Director Jeffrey Cox in one of the nominations for the award. “Jim does not engage in any of these efforts for personal recognition or advancement, but is a true believer in trying to make the world a better place. He has a very big heart, but also applies a sharp intellect and creative and highly collaborative approaches to bringing about concrete solutions to vexing social issues – particularly in areas of the globe that are struggling to recover from war or natural disaster.”

Myers said winning the award is “humbling. I was honored to be nominated. I never imagined I’d ever receive it. I do this work because I love it, and the work itself is the reward I receive. That is why I do it.”

He also credits RIT for being “so supportive and generous for recognizing community service work.”

Myers will receive $2,500 as part of the award. He plans to give $2,000 of it to HOPE, and split the remainder between the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Cancer Wellness Center.

About the awards:

  • The Bruce R. James ’64 Award was named after James, chair emeritus of the RIT Board of Trustees. The award recognizes a student for exemplary public service within RIT and/or the wider Rochester community. Its purpose is to highlight one of RIT’s own hidden heroes while also encouraging other students to engage in public service.
  • The Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award Fund was created by Alfred L. Davis on the occasion of the 65th year of his association with RIT, to commemorate the dedication of the four RIT presidents with whom he worked, in their service to the Rochester community. The purpose of this award is to honor the four presidents, Mark Ellingson, Paul Miller, M. Richard Rose, and Albert Simone, with whom Mr. Davis served at RIT, and to recognize a current member of the faculty or staff who, through his/her public service, mirrors the lives of the four presidents, who have been not only outstanding professionals but also caring members of the community. Davis died in 2008.

RIT honored nationally as ‘Diversity Champion’

Students gather on stone bench in front of a large building on a sunny day.

Rochester Institute of Technology is being honored nationally for its impact on diversity and inclusion. For the fourth consecutive year, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine named Rochester Institute of Technology a Diversity Champion.

Each year, INSIGHT Into Diversity recognizes selected institutions — those that rank in the top tier of Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award recipients — as Diversity Champions. These institutions exemplify an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs, and at the highest administrative levels. Diversity Champions are institutions that serve as role models and set the standard for thousands of other U.S. college campuses striving for inclusive excellence.

“RIT is a visionary leader among institutions of higher education striving for inclusive excellence throughout their campus,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “As a Diversity Champion school, RIT exceeds everyday expectations by developing successful strategies and programs that serve as models of excellence for other higher education institutions.”

In the fall, RIT earned the HEED Award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus. RIT was featured, along with 95 other recipients, in the November 2018 HEED Award issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“The strength of RIT’s character is built by a humble, continued commitment to building a climate of true respect, inclusivity and equity for all,” said Keith Jenkins, RIT’s vice president and associate provost for Diversity and Inclusion. “It is an honor to yet again be recognized as a Diversity Champion by INSIGHT. RIT’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion and our partners in departments, colleges and divisions across campus will continue to work diligently to provide more opportunities to learn, grow and succeed for underrepresented men, women and deaf and hard-of-hearing students, faculty and staff.”

RIT’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion features scholarship programs such as the McNair Scholars Program, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, the Higher Education Opportunity Program; academic support including the Multicultural Center for Academic Success, the Native American Future Stewards Program, the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, and the MOSAIC Center; and outreach programs like the Office for Faculty Diversity and Recruitment, Upward Bound Classic and Veterans Upward Bound.

For more information about the 2018 Diversity Champions, go to www.insightintodiversity.com/diversity-champions.

Winners announced for RIT/NTID Next Big Idea entrepreneurship competition

Five males, two in suits and three in t-shirts, with one holding an oversized check, are smiling at the camera.

Five teams of deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf went head-to-head March 28 during The Next Big Idea business competition. DiwaTech, an interface design solution to improve video game accessibility, took home the $5,000 first prize.

Judges from the competition’s sponsor, ZVRS, a video-relay service headquartered in Clearwater, Fla., reviewed projects of the team finalists, asked questions and selected first-, second- and third-place winners.

First place: DiwaTech (Daniel Cox, a human centered computing major from Rochester, N.Y.; Chad Cummings, a human centered computing major from West Henrietta, N.Y.; and Anthony DiGiovanni, a web and mobile computing major from Rochester, N.Y.): By applying a user interface design solution, along with new technologies such as voice recognition, to operating systems, DiwaTech is creating a new software product that allows visualized sound data to represent audio output for video games. According to the team’s submission, “Our vision is to bring accessibility awareness to the video game industry and to develop accessibility standards for video games. We believe this will benefit deaf gamers worldwide.”

Second place: Thinking Hands (Karina Baker, a sociology and anthropology major from Culver City, Calif; Moises Tobias, a design and imaging technology major from West Henrietta, N.Y.; Alina Kenina, an exercise science major from Clarksburg, Md.; and Gabriel Veit, a new media/industrial design major from Austin, Texas): Thinking Hands is an online educational platform that aims to provide academic support for deaf and hard-of-hearing students through the development of interactive educational videos taught in American Sign Language. Thinking Hands took home the $3,000 second prize.

Third place: Halbeg (Bakar Ali, an MBA student from Somalia; Tyler Anderson, a journalism major from Las Vegas; and Eric Epstein, a software engineering major from Tucson, Ariz.): Halbeg Technologies makes all-in-one private networking platforms for businesses that want to improve interaction within communities. It offers a simple way for members within communities to share resources such as posting requests, offering jobs, trading or bartering goods, carpooling or ridesharing, and chatting about community issues, in one platform. Team members said, “Our ‘all-in-one’ platforms make it easier for locals to interact and participate in a shared economy, improving the overall sustainability of the local business community.” Halbeg won the $2,000 third-place prize.   

Other finalists were Fireblazer News (Eric Belozovsky, a human computing interaction major from Framingham, Mass; Eleazar Contreras, a web and mobile computing major from Chicago; Anderson Pleasants, a political science major from Williamsville, N.Y.; and Daniel Devor, an ASL-English interpretation major from Gibsonia, Pa.), which works with hearing news outlets to translate audio, written and TV news content into sign language; and Foldify (Musab Al-Smadi, a software engineering major from Rochester, N.Y.; Steven McClusky, a software engineering major from Blue Springs, Mo.; and Matthew Watkins, an electrical mechanical engineering technology major from Covina, Calif.), which makes folding clothes simpler with an electric machine that reduces human time and effort.

The Next Big Idea competition is an annual event where teams of students combine skills related to their individual majors to create innovative products, technology or businesses. Teams work with mentors on their projects and compete before judges for cash prizes. This year marks the eighth anniversary of the competition.  

RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center hosts ‘Three Masters: Hidden Gems’ exhibit through April 20

painting of a woman reclining on a couch colors are mostly reds/yellows/oranges with some green and light blue.

Three artists whose works have been shaped by family, faith and overcoming hardships are the focus of the “Three Masters: Hidden Gems” exhibit at the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The show runs through April 20.

“Three Masters” showcases the lively, harmonious portraits by Claire Bergman; the rich, stylized oil paintings by Igor Kolombatovic; and the mixed-media collages of mundane objects by Henry Newman.

Claire Bergman describes herself as a portraitist, emphasizing the importance of the figure as a whole with an inner life of its own. She says the artistic process allows her to study characters, and she attributes her success to self-growth and self-confidence as her art style evolves and develops. She is best known for her work with oil, watercolor and pen and ink. She has said that her deafness influences her work, and she imagines that the subjects of her portraits are trying to lip-read or follow a conversation.

Igor Kolombatovic’s artwork explores themes of freedom emerging from oppression. After experiencing hardship and upheaval during World War II, Kolombatovic found freedom and refuge from Europe when he settled in Canada. He eventually moved to California, where he attended the San Francisco Art Institute. He worked for Charter USA as an architectural engineering draftsman and was a docent at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Oakland Museum of California. He is best known for his artwork that he says reminds him and others about how God’s blessings outweigh his struggles, as he sought to examine his deaf identity and the history involved.

Henry Newman’s art is characterized by a unique style that blends common household objects with the art of collage, seeing the potential in what others saw as trash or junk. Materials he used to create his mixed media collages included scraps from hardware and appliances, hinges, plywood, backboards from TV sets, old clothing, jar lids, rusted metal and cassette tapes. He saw his deafness as an artistic advantage because it gave him a good eye for visual perception. He also used a wide range of styles, including linecuts, assemblages and paintings, and celebrated Jewish history and identity through art, using Hebrew and Yiddish texts as influences. 

A closing reception, free and open to the public, will be held at the gallery 5-7 p.m. Friday, April 12.

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/.

For more information, contact Vienna McGrain at 585-475-4952 or Vienna.Carvalho@rit.edu.

Rochester Red Wings baseball partners with RIT/NTID, Rochester School for the Deaf for Deaf Culture Day at Frontier Field April 28

three men, one woman, two mascots and a mannequin with baseball jersey and hat.

Rochester Red Wings baseball, in partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and Rochester School for the Deaf, will host the first Deaf Culture Day at Frontier Field, Sunday, April 28. The 1:05 p.m. game is a matchup between the Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox.

The announcement on March 5 at RIT/NTID featured Red Wings officials, administrators from RIT/NTID and RSD, student athletes, and mascots Spikes, from the Red Wings, and Ritchie, from RIT.

During the announcement, the Red Wings unveiled a specially designed jersey and baseball cap with “Red Wings” embroidered in American Sign Language. Replica T-shirts and adjustable caps, along with a ticket to the game, are available to fans for $20 and $22, respectively. Other merchandise, including flex-fit caps, adjustable caps, fitted caps and T-shirts, are available online or at the team store at One Morrie Silver Way in Rochester. Single tickets to the game--$7/$9/$11 using the promo code GOWINGS – are for sale at https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/BuyNew.asp?EventID=262647&PromoCode=gowings. Proceeds from sales of game-worn jerseys will benefit NTID and RSD.

Interpreters will be on site during the game at Frontier Field to assist fans, and there will be a “silent inning,” without public address announcements, to raise further awareness about deafness.

“We are proud to partner with RIT/NTID and Rochester School for the Deaf for Deaf Culture Day so that we can celebrate the deaf community and the important impact that deaf citizens have had in Rochester,” said Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason. “We look forward to hosting many deaf members of the Rochester community and their families, while also educating all fans about deaf culture. The Red Wings are excited to have our players wear American Sign Language-inspired caps and jerseys for this special game. We also look forward to welcoming back deaf citizen and former NTID staff member Ogden Whitehead to Frontier Field, who was a fixture for many years while playing the role of ‘Recycleman,’ the Red Wings biggest cheerleader.”

NTID President Gerry Buckley spoke about the connection between deafness and baseball, as well as the rich history of Rochester’s deaf community.

“Throughout history, baseball and the deaf community have been intertwined,” he said. “And Rochester, which is known as ‘Sign City,’ is home to a historic deaf community. Furthermore, deaf and hard-of-hearing fans have been among the most loyal Red Wings followers. RIT/NTID is proud of its own history of deaf baseball players and is proud to partner with the Rochester Red Wings.”

Antony McLetchie, superintendent and CEO of Rochester School for the Deaf, said “RSD has a long history with baseball. This is a very exciting time for us and we look forward to this event being part of our history with the Rochester Red Wings.”

Amelia Hamilton, a third-year photographic and imaging arts major from Austin, Texas, worked with the Red Wings organization this past summer. “I enjoyed photographing the games and the fans. Rochester is a great community and being with the team helped me to get to know it better. I’m excited to see where my career will take me, but I will never forget the great experiences with the Red Wings.”

For more information, contact Vienna McGrain at 585-475-4952 or Vienna.Carvalho@rit.edu; or Nate Rowan, director of communications, Rochester Red Wings, at 585-454-1001, ext. 3006, or NRowan@redwingsbaseball.com.

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