Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or cdevlin6@gmu.edu

COMMUNITY ARTS WEEKEND, June 14-15, 2008

May 26, 2008
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S
MASON FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
PRESENTS
COMMUNITY ARTS WEEKEND
June 14–15, 2008

 

FAIRFAX, Va., May 27, 2008 – George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts announces Community Arts Weekend, an event celebrating community and diversity in the Northern Virginia arts community on Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15. Community Arts Weekend occurs on the first weekend of the inaugural Mason Festival of the Arts, held on Mason’s Fairfax campus June 12-29. Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP is the Festival Principal Sponsor and Boeing Corporation is the Festival Theater Sponsor. Coldwell Banker is the sponsor for Community Arts Weekend.

Presented in cooperation with the Harmony Project and Spotlight on the Arts, Community Arts Weekend features an arts fair featuring the work of local artisans; indoor and outdoor performances by area performers; music, dance and theater from around the world; arts education workshops; film screenings; and many more activities for children, teens and adults.

"We are thrilled to have such a diversity of artists and organizations be a part of the Mason Festival's opening weekend,” said Artistic Director Rick Davis. “I can think of no better way to celebrate our community."

The Community Arts Weekend offers plenty of theater performances for children, teens, and adults. For adults, Mason’s professional theater company in residence, Theater of the First Amendment, presents the world premiere of "Two-Bit Taj Mahal" by Paul D’Andrea, directed by Heather McDonald, and the East Coast premiere of "Mariela in the Desert" by Karen Zacarías, directed by Nick Olcott. Both are works by local playwrights with national reputations. For children, the Grey Ghost Theater presents two plays focusing on events in American history: "Son of Liberty," about a young man’s experiences during the American Revolution, as he journeys from newspaper printer to minuteman to Paris for the Peace Accords; and "Ride to Freedom," about a young woman who joins the Freedom Rides and travels by bus from Washington, D.C. to Jackson, Miss., enduring violence and facing arrest, all to defend freedom and racial equality. TFA’s First Light Discovery Program features staged readings of new plays by students from Fairfax County high schools and George Mason University; while the Generations Playwriting Project presents plays created by seniors from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and students from the theater workshop Acting for Young People. Natural Theatricals’ Paula Alprin and Stories from All Nations present storytelling.

On Saturday night, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra teams up with TFA for a performance of Peter Boyer’s "Ellis Island: Dream of America," a patriotic symphonic score with live actors and multimedia, inspired by the Ellis Island Oral History Project. Also featured is James Beckel’s "Liberty for All," narrated by Fairfax County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Gerry Connolly, and Leonard Bernstein’s "Symphonic Dances" from "West Side Story."

Throughout the weekend, a variety of musical and dance ensembles present performances that exemplify the diversity for which George Mason University and the Northern Virginia area are known. From hip-hop to barbershop, Irish jigs to African drumming, mountain music to jazz, there is something for everyone. CRS Teen Dancers, a talented group of Fairfax County students, perform hip-hop, salsa and world dances. The Indian and South Asian dancers and musicians features children and teens from Laysa Academy, the Indian International School, and community centers and temples around the region; and Indian classical musicians Siba and Suchismita Mahanty perform classical music for "tabla" (hand drums) and voice. One of the region’s great choirs, Voices of Merrifield, from the First Baptist Church of Merrifield, performs beautiful gospel music. The Fairfax Jubil-Aires Barbershop Chorus performs a cappella barbershop. Síor Og performs classical Irish dances such as jigs, jibs and reels using a variety of traditional Irish instruments. The High Middling Stringband presents “mountain music,” American roots music combining Celtic, Scottish, Blues and African folk traditions with a strong dance beat. Culmore United Methodist Church, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, presents Filipino musicians performing traditional and popular music from the Philippines. Abdul Eshaggai-Afghan Dancers bring traditional dances from Afghanistan, presented in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. Al Williams Band performs smooth jazz, blues and soul music, followed by the fantastic Northern Virginia Jazz Band. Halau hula O Ke anuenue Punahele (Hula School of the favorite rainbow) performs native dances of Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand. George Mason University Pep Band leader Michael “Doc Nix” Nickens performs improvisational jazz with student and professional musicians. Throughout the weekend, the World Children’s Choir also offers workshops and performances, including a Peace Collage workshop, an African drumming workshop and Performance, a song and dance workshop and an Opera Ensemble performing Mozart’s "The Magic Flute."

The visual arts are represented by the Fairfax Art League’s painting workshop; exhibitions featuring the work of its members in the Center for the Arts gallery; art work for sale at booths in the Arts Fair Tent; and visual arts education workshops.

Mason Film Festival screens films from area students and independent filmmakers throughout the weekend, and also presents Cavalier Films’ "Familiar Strangers," the funny and heartfelt story of an American family negotiating the changing relationships between parents and growing children.

Complete program information is posted at www.masonfestival.org.

 


COMMUNITY ARTS WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Saturday, June 14, 2008

11 a.m.

CRS Teen Dancers (Sunlight Stage)
Hip-Hop, salsa, and world dances from this talented group from a Fairfax County after-school Recreation program.

First Light Discovery Program: High School Winner (Black Box)
TFA’s playwriting competition unites student, community and professional playwrights with actors, directors and dramaturgs in the creation of new work. This reading: "Boxes" by high-school winner Sarah Congress http://www.theaterofthefirstamendment.org

World Children’s Choir Peace Collage Workshop (Arts Fair Tent)
Peace Collages: Let music inspire your visual creativity! Listen to songs of peace while you create a dazzling work of art that symbolizes beauty, harmony, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect. Appropriate for All Ages; Workshop Leader assisted by five singers in grades three through six. http://www.worldchildrenschoir.org/


12 p.m.

Indian and South Asian dancers and musicians (Spotlight Stage)
Children and teens perform classical and folk dances from India and other South Asian Countries. The dancers will include groups from the Laysa Academy, the Indian International School, and community centers and temples from around the region.

Voices of Merrifield – First Baptist Church of Merrifield (Sunlight Stage)
One of the region’s great gospel choirs http://www.fbcm.net/index.aspx

Mason Film Festival Screenings (Johnson Center Cinema)
Presented in cooperation with Mason’s Film and Video Studies program, the Mason Film Festival presents the best films from area students and independent filmmakers. Exact schedule TBA, but possibilities for this screening include films from the Video Fairfax K-12 filmmaker program, films from the Arlington County public schools and films from the Communications and Film & Video studies programs at George Mason University.
http://www.masonfilm.org


12:30 p.m.

Gray Ghost Theater – Son of Liberty (Black Box)
Experience the American Revolution from start to finish in 30 minutes. The story follows a young man's journey (from newspaper printer to minuteman to Paris, for the peace accords) as he matures along with the vision for a nation. http://www.grayghosttheatre.com/


1 p.m.

Natural Theatricals presents Paula Alprin, Storyteller (Spotlight Stage)
Natural Theatricals is a professional theater company dedicated to imaginative staging of classical, contemporary and original works for audiences in the greater Washington, D.C. region. http://www.naturaltheatricals.com/

Fairfax Jubil-Aires Barbershop Chorus (Sunlight Stage)
A fellowship of men devoted to the art of a cappella barbershop singing, committed to excellence in musical performance and good will in the community.http://www.fairfaxjubilaires.org/index.htm

Fairfax Art League painting workshop (Arts Fair Tent)
Exhibiting the work of several members in the Center for the Arts gallery, major participant in the arts fair as a vendor and conducting visual arts education workshops. http://www.fairfaxartleague.com/


2 p.m.

Síor Og: Irish Music & Dance (Spotlight Stage)
Síor Og, whose name means “Forever Young” in Irish Gaelic, has been performing traditional Irish music since 2002. Síor Og uses traditional instruments such as the uilleann pipes, fiddle, bodhran, guitar and a variety of Irish whistles. The Síor Og dancers perform classic dance tunes such as jibs, reels, slip jigs and hornpipes. The group is also known for haunting slow airs that are the hallmark of Irish music. Síor Og’s songs tell, in both Irish Gaelic and English, of enduing themes in the Irish experience such as the legendary beauty and love of the land, famine, emigration and rebellion; as well as universal themes such as the tender love of a mother for her child and of a young man’s love for his sweetheart.

World Children’s Choir African Drumming Workshop/Performance (Sunlight Stage)
This beautiful and ancient music is hot! African drums have been featured recently in classical, rock and Broadway tunes. Learn more about this captivating form of music, and maybe try it yourself! Featuring special guest Kofi Dennis, recognized as a Wolf Trap Master Performer
Appropriate for All Ages; WCC (45 singers) includes 10 singers in grades three through six http://www.worldchildrenschoir.org/

Theater of the First Amendment: "Mariela in the Desert" by Karen Zacarías (Harris)
Directed by Nick Olcott.
How far will we go to free our creativity?
Mariela and José were once the golden couple of the Mexican artists’ inner-circle. Together they built a family and an artist colony to host friends Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo. But now their daughter has grown and run away, their friends are too famous to call, and artistic inspiration has been strangled by isolation and lies. Set in the Northern Mexican desert in 1950, Mariela in the Desert is a deadly mystery – a layered yet profoundly honest story of what happens to a family when creativity is forced to dry and wither away.
Ticketed performance. http://www.theaterofthefirstamendment.org

Theater of the First Amendment: "Two-Bit Taj Mahal" by Paul D’Andrea (TheaterSpace)
Directed by Heather McDonald.
Clay Bayliss is a dangerous bully and a brute, until he meets Sally Faye Redmond. Just as their incendiary love affair produces something magical, their small Missouri town votes to kill him. But to what end? Inspired by the true story of a still unsolved FBI case.
Ticketed performance; Contains adult themes http://www.theaterofthefirstamendment.org


3 p.m.

Indian Classical Musicians (CFA Grand Tier III)
Husband and wife Siba and Suchismita Mahanty perform classical Indian music for "tabla" (hand drums) and voice. Do not miss the chance to see this internationally renowned pair in a very special free performance!

World Children’s Choir Song and Dance Workshop (Spotlight Stage)
Get in on the action! Listen to the World Children's Choir sing some favorites, then learn a bit of choreography yourself as everyone moves and sings along with a popular Broadway tune. Appropriate for All Ages; WCC (45 singers) includes 10 singers in grades three through six. http://www.worldchildrenschoir.org/

Stories from All Nations (Sunlight Stage)
Fables and legends from around the world; presented in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington http://www.bgcgw.org/


3:30 p.m.

High Middling Stringband (Sunlight Stage)
The old-time music or “mountain music” tradition is a high-energy, danceable style of American Roots music that is usually associated with the Southern Appalachia region and the Missouri River Valley. As early immigrants fused Celtic, Scottish, Blues and African folk traditions, they created an infectious style of music that was uniquely American. Old-time music differs from bluegrass music in that it is more oriented toward dancing and creating a strong and dynamic rhythm to support a dance beat. The High Middling Stringband brings contemporary drive to this tradition, creating a unique sound that is positively energetic and uplifting. Drawing upon traditional songs and fiddle tunes, we seek to recreate the good times of a bygone era through the feel of an old-time barn dance.


4 p.m.

Culmore United Methodist Church presents Philipino Musicians (Spotlight Stage)
Traditional and popular Phillipino music, performed by phillipino children and adults. Presented in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washingtonhttp://www.bgcgw.org/

Abdul Eshaggai - Afghan Dancers (Sunlight Stage)
Bringing traditional dances from Afghanistan to the Washington, D.C. area. Presented in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington http://www.bgcgw.org/


4:30 p.m.

First Light Discovery Program: George Mason Winner (Black Box)
TFA’s playwriting competition unites student, community and professional playwrights with actors, directors and dramaturgs in the creation of new work. This reading: Cyberdate.com by Mason student John Tuohy.

Stories from All Nations (Spotlight Stage)
Fables and legends from around the world; Presented in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. http://www.bgcgw.org/

High Middling Stringband (Sunlight Stage)
Please refer to 3:30 p.m. performance.

Mason Film: "Familiar Strangers" from Cavalier Films (Johnson Center Cinema)
Familiar Strangers is a funny and heartfelt story of an American family going through the natural process of negotiating the changing relationships between parents and children, especially as those children grow into adulthood.

Cavalier Films, Inc. is a producer of independent feature films. It is our goal to produce films that offer a fresh view into worlds that will be of interest to a wide theatrical audience. Our approach is one of absolute respect for the art of filmmaking and storytelling, combined with a conservative and business-like approach to the industry. http://cavalierfilms.com/strangers.htm


5 p.m.

Abdul Eshaggai - Afghan Dancers (Spotlight Stage)
Bringing traditional dances from Afghanistan to the Washington, D.C. area. Presented in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. http://www.bgcgw.org/

Culmore United Methodist Church presents Philipino Musicians (Spotlight Stage)
Traditional and popular Phillipino music, performed by phillipino children and adults. Presented in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. http://www.bgcgw.org/
5:30 p.m.

High Middling Stringband (Spotlight Stage)
Please refer to 3:30 p.m. performance.


6:30 p.m.

Gray Ghost Theater – "Ride to Freedom" (Black Box)
A young woman faces her fears for the benefit of the greater good and joins the Freedom Rides. Traveling by bus from Washington, D.C., to Jackson, Miss., our rider meets violence, faces arrest, and finds her voice in the course of defending freedom and our national integrity. http://www.grayghosttheatre.com/


8 p.m.

The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra: "Dreams of America" (Concert Hall)
The FSO teams up with TFA for the musical culmination of the yearlong Harmony project – "Celebrating Our Heritage through the Arts." The program includes James Beckel’s "Liberty for All," combining stirring orchestral music with the inspirational words of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Kennedy, followed by Leonard Bernstein’s exploration of racism and the immigrant experience in New York in the 1950s, with "Symphonic Dances from West Side Story." The evening concludes with Peter Boyer’s "Ellis Island: The Dream of America," celebrating the immigrant experience and the American dream through powerful symphonic music, historic images and spoken word performances from the Ellis Island Oral History Project. A multi-disciplinary celebration of America!
Ticketed Performance.

Theater of the First Amendment: "Mariela in the Desert" by Karen Zacarías (Harris)
Directed by Nick Olcott. Please refer to 2 p.m. performance for description.
Ticketed performance. http://www.theaterofthefirstamendment.org

Theater of the First Amendment: "Two-Bit Taj Mahal" by Paul D’Andrea (TheaterSpace)
Directed by Heather McDonald.
Please refer to 2 p.m. performance for description.
Ticketed performance; Contains adult themes
http://www.theaterofthefirstamendment.org

 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

12  p.m.

Al Williams Band (Sunlight Stage)
Smooth jazz, blues, and soul music from the acclaimed jazz master. http://www.alwilliamsmusic.com/home.html


1 p.m.

Northern Virginia Jazz Band (Sunlight Stage)
The Band is composed of musicians from around the region who perform for community events and a wide range of education programs sponsored by Northern Virginia Community College.

Fairfax Art League Painting Workshop (Arts Fair Tent)
Exhibiting the work of several members in the Center for the Arts gallery, major participant in the arts fair as a vendor and conducting visual arts
education workshops. http://www.fairfaxartleague.com/


2 p.m.

Halau hula O Ke anuenue Punahele (Hula School of the favorite rainbow) (Sunlight Stage)
Halau hula O Ke anuenue Punahele has been established since 1985 in Fairfax. Halau hula O Ke anuenue Punahele is both a hula school and a performing group. The hula school is composed of children (ages 7-14), adults (15-70), and grandmothers (over 75 years old). The dancers are trained to dance traditional and native dances of Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand. In addition to dance, the dancers are trained to make their costumes such as leis, pau skirts and mu’umu’us. Child and adult ensembles will perform at community arts weekend.
http://www.luv2hula.com/

Theater of the First Amendment: "Mariela in the Desert" by Karen Zacarías (Harris)
Directed by Nick Olcott.
How far will we go to free our creativity?
Mariela and José were once the golden couple of the Mexican artists’ inner-circle. Together they built a family and an artist colony to host friends Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo. But now their daughter has grown and run away, their friends are too famous to call and artistic inspiration has been strangled by isolation and lies. Set in the Northern Mexican desert in 1950, Mariela in the Desert is a deadly mystery – a layered yet profoundly honest story of what happens to a family when creativity is forced to dry and wither away.
Ticketed performance.
http://www.theaterofthefirstamendment.org

Theater of the First Amendment: "Two-Bit Taj Mahal" by Paul D’Andrea (TheaterSpace)
Directed by Heather McDonald.
Clay Bayliss is a dangerous bully and a brute, until he meets Sally Faye Redmond. Just as their incendiary love affair produces something magical, their small Missouri town votes to kill him. But to what end? Inspired by the true story of a still unsolved FBI case. Ticketed performance; Contains adult themes. http://www.theaterofthefirstamendment.org


3 p.m.

World Children’s Choir Opera Ensemble – "Magic Flute" (Spotlight Stage)
Think opera isn't for you? Think again! The WCC Opera Ensemble will perform a kid-friendly version of Mozart's masterpiece – with magic, intrigue, secrets and spells – that will make a believer out of you! Appropriate for All Ages; The cast includes 10 performers in grades three through six. Leading roles are sung by teens. http://www.worldchildrenschoir.org/

“Doc Nix” and Friends (Sunlight Stage)
George Mason University Pep Band leader Michael Nickens performs improvisational jazz with student and professional musicians. http://www.gmu.edu/departments/music/facstaff/docnix.html


4 p.m.

“Doc Nix” and Friends (Sunlight Stage)
George Mason University Pep Band leader Michael Nickens performs improvisational jazz with student and professional musicians. Don’t miss Adrian Fang’s modern dance performance, accompanied by Doc Nix on solo tuba.
http://www.gmu.edu/departments/music/facstaff/docnix.html


4:30 p.m.

Mason Film Festival Screenings (Johnson Center Cinema)
Presented in cooperation with Mason’s Film and Video Studies program, the Mason Film Festival presents the best films from area students and independent filmmakers. Exact schedule TBA, but possibilities for this screening include films from the Video Fairfax K-12 filmmaker program, films from the Arlington County public schools, and films from the Communications and Film & Video studies programs at George Mason University. 
http://www.masonfilm.org


5 p.m.

Generations Playwriting Project (TheaterSpace)
TFA, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), and Acting for Young People (AFYP) join forces to present a series of new ten-minute plays written and performed by students and seniors working together.

"Age Old Questions" by Carolyn Sanders (OLLI)
"Faith Transported" by Thelma Weiner (OLLI)
"Home" by Kathie West (OLLI)
"A New Generation’s Man Woes"  by Emily Wilkins (AFYP)
"A New Perspective" by Anna Coughlan (AFYP)
"An Unexpected Friend" by Perry Melat (AFYP)

AFYP: http://www.actingforyoungpeople.com/
OLLI: http://www.olli.gmu.edu/


7 p.m.

Theater of the First Amendment: "Two-Bit Taj Mahal" by Paul D’Andrea (TheaterSpace)
Directed by Heather McDonald.
Please refer to 2 p.m. performance for description.
Ticketed performance; Contains adult themes.
http://www.theaterofthefirstamendment.org

 

Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP is the Festival Principal Sponsor and Boeing Corporation is the Festival Theater Sponsor. Coldwell Banker is the sponsor for Community Arts Weekend.

Ticket prices vary. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit www.tickets.com. Festival discount packages are available at the Concert Hall box office at 703-993-2787. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa

The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.

About the Mason Festival:
The Mason Festival of the Arts is a new visual & performing arts festival, sponsored by George Mason University and affiliated arts organizations. From June 12 to June 29, the Center for the Arts at George Mason will host more than 35 ticketed performances, and dozens more free performances by student and community-based performing groups. Lectures, gallery shows, readings, and other events will round out three very exciting weekends. The mission of the Mason Festival of the Arts is to support and promote arts education for all ages, to celebrate the cultural diversity of our region, and to showcase the work done by Northern Virginia artists and performers at student, community, and professional levels. For full information on the Mason Festival, see our web site, www.masonfestival.org.

About George Mason University
George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 35 law schools in the United States.