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SIU’s Communication Studies Department has an amazing 2018 spring semester lineup embracing interdisciplinary art, performance and community-based collaborations. The Marion Kleinau Theatre and the performance studies program provide some wonderful opportunities for students and community members to refine performance skills and develop critical understandings of the role of performance in shaping society and culture.

Early this semester, Dr. Jonny Gray’s digital prints were on display in “Sleep: The Art of Sleep an Exhibition” and included student and faculty work from Psychology, Microbiology, Cinema and Photography, and Communication Studies exploring sleep from varied perspectives.

Then, this month, during the Faculty Performance Hour, faculty members shared outstanding performances from diverse genres, including performances of literature, autoethnography, performance art, oral history, and music. Following this was the enjoyable “The Hank Ziety Variety Hour” directed by Ph.D. students Darren Valenta and Anna Wilcoxen. Adopting a writing-room approach to script development, the cast and directors explored the connection between anxiety and comedy in a fun, engaging format.

On March 1-3, a grand celebration will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the department. A homecoming conference by venerated alumni from across the country includes keynote speakers Dr. Kristin Langellier and Dr. Eric Peterson, emerita faculty at the University of Maine, sharing their reflections on the role of communication in every day and performative narratives. Dr. Andrea Baldwin, from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, will perform her new show, “Lone Star Feminist” exploring Black, feminist, Texan identity. David Ranalli, illusionist and public relations alumnus, will share his talents and insights in a solo performance.

On April 26-28, the Kleinau Theatre opens the doors to an immersive performance experience, “The Factory: A Site of Queer Genesis and Genealogy” exploring the relationship between Andy Warhol and Truman Capote and featuring the work of graduate Ph.D. students Alex Davenport and Colin Whitworth. Whitworth is a recent recipient of the prestigious Marie J. Robinson Scholarship, the fifth consecutive SIUC performance student to win this award at the NCA national conference.

To round off the semester, Earth Day, April 22, brings the fifth annual “All Species Puppetry Parade” for the Carbondale community organized and facilitated by Dr. Jonny Gray and Professor Cade Bursell, from Cinema and Photography. Gray and Bursell’s collaborative effort combines environmental activism with fun for all ages through workshops, making puppets out of recycled materials, and community members exploring their love of the planet while learning basic performance skills.

We warmly welcome the public to attend the Communication Studies department’s exciting lineup of events and experience first-hand, our faculty and students’ skilled performances and artistic talents.

Meera Komarraju is dean of the College of Liberal Arts at SIU.


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