BOONE — Following the success of its newly created virtual stage during the fall semester, the Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance announced six additional virtual events for spring 2021.

This season includes collaboration with the Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, a world premiere of a play written and directed by faculty member Ray Miller, a children’s play produced by Appalachian Young People’s Theatre, a dance ensemble, work of student directors and first production of an unpublished play by groundbreaking playwright Chisa Hutchinson. The performances are scheduled between February and May with ticket information available on the department’s website.

“I’ve never been prouder of our students, faculty, and staff as they continue to prove their resilience during this pandemic,” said Michael Helms, Theatre and Dance department chair and professor. “By delivering a virtual season for our audiences using a variety of online platforms — including Zoom, YouTube and our campus radio station ‚ with an assortment of real-time performances and pre-recorded events, they demonstrated the enormous talent and resourcefulness of our department.”

Helms previously noted that the performing arts lend themselves to collaborations that combine the collective wisdom, talents, and resources of each partner into a consolidated effort.

“By offering these events online, we are able to provide our students with opportunities to perform while maintaining safe social distancing during COVID-19 and expand our audience to anyone who would like to ‘travel’ to Boone to experience one of our virtual performances,” Helms said, who says he is pleased to partner with the Office of Arts and Cultural Programs’ Schaefer Center Presents series.

“We are honored to partner with our Theatre and Dance colleagues in presenting two events this spring that are part of our Schaefer Center Presents virtual series,” said Denise Ringler, director of Arts Engagement and Cultural Resources. “‘An Evening with Anna Deveare Smith’ will be moderated by Paulette Marty, professor of Theatre Arts, and ‘The Best of the Appalachian Dance Ensemble’ offers an opportunity to showcase the prodigious talent of our faculty choreographers and accomplished dance students. This collaboration continues a long-standing and much-appreciated partnership with the department, based on a shared commitment to artistic excellence.”

“The department looks forward to when we can all return to a shared stage,” said Helms, “but we are proud of the safe space we have created to move forward this spring using the lessons we learned last fall.”

An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith: Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity

A Schaefer Center Presents live stream event with moderation by Dr. Paulette Marty, Professor of Theatre Arts at App State, is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. via livestream.

We live in a winner-take-all society. And yet, part of our potential as humans is our potential for compassion and our resilience in the face of adversity. While doing research for her play, “Let Me Down Easy,” award-winning playwright/actor/educator Anna Deavere Smith interviewed people in the U.S. and abroad who demonstrated grace in the face of dramatic challenges.

This storytelling speech celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, the power of empathy, the strength of imagination and hope. Theatre faculty Dr. Paulette Marty will moderate the live event, which is free but advance registration is required at All registrants will receive a private link to access the event both the day before and one hour prior to the performance.

‘This is Not the Play’ by Chisa Hutchinson

This production will be featured Thursday, Feb. 25 through Sunday, Feb. 28.

A Black playwright tries to wrangle a story from her two reluctant white characters and distrust abounds. Stereotypes, prejudice, and perceptions of race and gender are at the forefront of “This is Not the Play”: a play about the process of creating a play.

Originally commissioned by Mad Dog Theater Company in NYC, App State has the privilege of being amongst the first to produce this as yet unpublished play by groundbreaking playwright Chisa Hutchinson. She’s won a number of awards for both playwriting and screenwriting, including the John Golden Award for Playwriting, the NY Innovative Theater Award, the Lilly Award, the Helen Merrill Award, the Lanford Wilson Award and the GLAAD Award.

Best of the Appalachian Dance Ensemble

This A Schaefer Center Presents event is on Thursday, Mar. 25 at 8 p.m.

This virtual best-of showcase from Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance features works from at least seven faculty choreographers, including Laurie Atkins, Emily Daughtridge, Regina Gulick, Cara Hagan, Ray Miller, Brad Parquette and Sherone Price. All curated works were produced between 2006-19 and highlight genres of modern, ballet, tap and African-themed dance. The selected works feature not only beautiful dancing and well-crafted choreography, but also lighting design by Mike Helms and John Marty, and costume design by Sue Williams.

This event is free, but advance registration is required at All registrants will receive a private link to access the event both the day before and one hour prior to the performance.

‘With Two Wings’ by Anne Negri

This production is featured Friday, Apr. 9 through Sunday, Apr. 11.

Now in its 49th season, the Appalachian Young People’s Theatre offers this award-winning play as a live streaming event, while keeping options open for possible limited live performances.

Appropriate for audiences of all ages, “With Two Wings” is set in a fantasy world where people have wings. A young boy named Lyf lives an isolated existence with his differently-abled parents in the safe nest of their home deep in the woods. Although loving, Lyf’s parents have strict rules he must follow, especially rule number one: never, ever try to fly.

When a precocious, inquisitive girl from the outside world bursts into the backyard, she and Lyf become fast friends. Her bullying twin brother challenges Lyf to answer questions about his life and his mysterious parents. This coming-of-age story puts a unique twist on the Greek myth of Icarus and Daedalus and is directed by Teresa Lee.

‘Kent State, Then and Again’ by Dr. Ray Miller

‘Kent State, Then and Again’ will be featured Wednesday, Apr. 21 through Sunday, Apr. 25.

This production is a new play that chronicles the four days leading up to the deadly shooting of students by the Ohio National Guard on the Kent State University campus in May 1970. This event left four students dead, 13 others wounded and a nation in disbelief. There is no single story about this tragic event; there are many.

Consequently, this play looks at this time in American history from the point of view of the students, the townspeople, the administrators, the national guard and the journalists who lived it as well as a narrator. While it is a sobering play, it is also informed with romance, friendship, laughter, poetry and a free spirited “live for today” sensibility. The production is directed by the playwright, Dr. Ray Miller, who was a student at Kent State University in 1970 and based his work on first-hand experiences and observations.

The 2021 10-Minute Play Festival

Theatre students in the Directing Techniques course are producing more than 12 new 10-minute plays from playwrights across the country. Recordings of the plays will be available for public viewing starting May 1, but advance registration is required via the Department of Theatre and Dance website,

All registrants will receive a private link to access the event both the day before and one hour prior to the performance.

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