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Rubbish gets a redesign

November 14, 2016
Photo by Mark DiOrio

During a workshop with visiting artist Reet Aus, Haoqi Xia ’20 works on a project incorporating found objects. Photo by Mark DiOrio.

“Who knew that so many new things could be made from junk?” said Fiona Adjei Boateng ’19, a theater student who was making handbags out of denim pants during an upcycling workshop.

Reet Aus, an Estonian fashion designer and environmental pioneer, hosted the workshop in Clifford Gallery. She is known for upcycling, which is using discarded materials to make beautiful new products. Aus was in residence at Colgate for 10 days — a joint venture with the theater department, environmental studies, film and media studies, the sustainability office, and art and art history.

Photo by Mark DiOrio

Reet Aus (front) upcycles discarded materials into art. Photo by Mark DiOrio

During the workshop, students worked with Aus to transform materials sourced from the Madison County Solid Waste and Recycle facility as well as Syracuse Rescue Mission into usable objects or works of art. They created jewelry fashioned from used metal wire, wearable garments made from leftover cloth, and found art pieces.

In Aus’s lectures on campus and in the screening of her documentary, Out of Fashion, she explained that, to keep up with the fast pace of fashion trends, clothing companies use wasteful manufacturing practices to produce cheap garments. “On average, eighteen percent of the textiles processed in clothing factories are leftovers, and are thrown away,” she said in Golden Auditorium on November 2. These materials end up in landfills, which pollute the air, water, and soil.

“Working with Reet throughout the week was eye opening,” said Adjei Boateng, “I still can’t believe how much waste the clothing industry creates in the manufacturing process, and the impact that it has on the environment.”

To address the problem, Aus and her colleagues designed a software program and certification called Upmade that helps factories reduce waste by upcycling leftover fabric back into the production process. Two major factories in Estonia and Bangladesh have received the certification so far.

“Reet Aus is a true leader and planetary hero,” said John Pumilio, Colgate’s director of sustainability. “She demonstrates how it’s possible to pursue our passions with social consciousness and environmental stewardship as a cornerstone.”

Upcycling goes beyond environmental concerns. Aus also addresses the social and moral implications of fast fashion, noted studio art major Kris Pfister ’17. Pfister’s senior art project uses recycled materials because Pfister was inspired by Aus. Pfister said: “Her work is a tangible force of resistance to the materialism the Western world has become so accustomed to.”

Upcycler, fashion designer, and artist Reet Aus on campus

October 28, 2016

In the documentary Out of Fashion, Reet Aus examines the global consumption fed by the fashion industry.

Over the next few days, environmentally conscious fashion trailblazer Reet Aus is visiting campus. She’ll lead a handful of special events to highlight how she’s been working to make fashion more sustainable.

Her doctoral thesis focused on efforts to incorporate upcycling into mass production, and since 2012 she has been working with Beximco, a major apparel designer in Bangladesh, to make this concept a reality. Aus also teaches at the Estonian Academy of the Arts and is an active costume designer in film and theater. Her visit to campus was brought about as a natural collaboration of multiple departments.

“Reet Aus is a true leader and planetary hero,” said John Pumilio, Colgate’s director of sustainability. “She demonstrates how it’s possible to pursue our passions with social consciousness and environmental stewardship as a cornerstone.”

Aus is also “an eminent theater artist and visionary fashion designer,” added Adrian Giurgea, professor and chair of the theater department, who will engage in a public conversation with her on Monday. This talk will follow Aus’s Friday brown bag lecture for the environmental studies department and an evening screening of Out of Fashion, a film that documents Aus’s efforts to popularize upcycling, in Golden Auditorium. The final event featuring Reet Aus is an art and art history lecture on Wednesday.

See the full list of Reet Aus events.

Dani Solomon ’13 explores the connection between theater and science

October 26, 2016
Dani Solomon '13. Photo by

Dani Solomon ’13 in One Way Red. Photo by Nick Gilbert ’18

Real science fused with science fiction when Dani Solomon ’13 performed One Way Red, a solo show that followed a young woman’s one-way journey to Mars. The 90-minute performance on October 6 unfolded as Sam, played by Solomon, stumbled upon an online video about the Mars One project — an actual nonprofit that intends to colonize Mars by 2026.

The performance jumped back and forth between Sam’s bedroom, where she applied for the Mars One project, and the surface of the red planet. There were moments of both humor and profound loneliness as Sam left Earth to experience interplanetary adventures on Mars.

“We didn’t start with a script,” Solomon said. She and her collaborator, Mason Rosenthal, use an unconventional approach to theater in their work with Philadelphia-based Medium Theatre Company. “We start with a question or curiosity. We often start from a known, familiar place, and through the process of following a curiosity, we follow the known into the unknown.”

Space travel has long captivated American’s imaginations; One Way Red questions why we look spaceward and what we hope to find there. The possibility of interplanetary travel serves as the backdrop for this existential fever-dream populated by alien mirrors, talking lamps, and a sassy computer-assistant named Morgan.

“I think a lot of people in our generation want to do something exceptional to be remembered,” Solomon said. “This character has a lot of that drive, that ambition to do something great and historical.”

Solomon, who was a physics and theater major at Colgate, is interested in the process of discovery found in both the sciences and the theater. The play was performed in the Ho Atrium to mingle the arts and sciences and to allow the audience to enter an otherworldly space between reality and fiction.

In addition to performing the play, Solomon gave a talk about alternative career paths for physics majors. She and Rosenthal also hosted a workshop that encouraged students to explore unconventional approaches to theater.

Solomon hopes that there will be more intermingling of the arts and the sciences in the future, especially at Colgate. “Getting people from different disciplines to ask hard questions together is the next step toward interdisciplinary dialogue,” she said.

Actor Josh Radnor offers perspective to students

October 5, 2015
How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor spoke to Professor Greg Ames's English class. Photo by Andrew Daddio

How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor spoke to Professor Greg Ames’s English class. Photo by Andrew Daddio

A student of the liberal arts himself, actor, writer, and director Josh Radnor stopped by to share his experiences with the Colgate community on Sept. 24. The How I Met Your Mother star first visited with English professor Gregory Ames’s Advanced Workshop class before hosting an event at the Palace Theater in the village that night. Read more

Colgate University’s Task Force on Performing Arts Facilities submits final report

May 11, 2015
Theater students on stage in "Wald, a wondertale"

Colgate’s Task Force on Performing Arts Facilities has submitted its final report regarding space for theater, dance, and music on campus (Photo by Duy Trinh ’14 of the Children’s Theater Workshop presentation “Wald, a wondertale”)

Colgate’s Task Force on Performing Arts Facilities, chaired by Professor of Art and Art History Padma Kaimal, has submitted its final report to the university community. The document offers recommendations to revitalize the creative landscape on campus.

President Jeffrey Herbst formed the task force in spring 2014, responding to a call made in the university’s new strategic plan for a comprehensive review of Colgate’s dance, music, and theater performance spaces. While the group is not an official building committee, its findings will inform future decisions and financial models developed by the administration and approved by the Board of Trustees.

“Colgate has long recognized the contributions that the performing arts can make to a liberal arts education,” said President Herbst. “The task force has produced an important document that can serve as a roadmap for the future.”

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Noh performance shows glimpse of ancient Japanese culture

February 26, 2015
Yamai Tsunao,

Yamai Tsunao leads a workshop in Noh theater, a Japanese drama that is one of the oldest theatrical forms in the world. Photo by Nick Gilbert

The curtain in Brehmer Theater opened to reveal Yamai Tsunao kneeling under a single spotlight on stage. He was dressed in a stiff, dark-colored Hakama costume, and his only prop was a brightly colored fan. He sang in a deep, full voice, moving through a series of deliberate, careful gestures.

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Colgate’s professional networks give students a sampling of careers in LA, NYC

February 10, 2015
Students on a FOX television set in L.A.

Palm trees in New York City: entertainment group students tour a Fox Television set in LA.

A group of ten students representing the Colgate Entertainment Group explored the worlds of film and television on January 14 and 15 in Los Angeles, while a second group of students learned more about the real estate field in New York City.

Read student accounts of the two trips below.

During the LA immersion trip, alumni explained their paths to their current positions — grads like Stephen Brown ’81, EVP of programming and development at 20th Century Fox Television;  Steven Brookman ’81, head of Motion Picture Business Affairs at the Creative Arts Agency; Eugene Young ’81, president of Ryan Seacrest Productions; and Amanda Brown ’01, vice president of production at Paramount Pictures.

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A step forward for dance at Colgate

December 16, 2014
Colgate Professor Tanya Calamoneri dances during one of her classes

Professor Tanya Calamoneri leads a contemporary dance class. Photo by Andrew Daddio

You wouldn’t expect to walk into a dance class and see 14 men and only two women. But that’s the makeup of Professor Tanya Calamoneri’s Dance Imagery and Improvisation course. Read more

Seeing the Beast plays with relationship between humans and deer

November 21, 2014
Colgate University Seeing the Beast play

Colgate University Theater performed Seeing the Beast (photo by Gerard Gaskin)

Last weekend, University Theater presented Seeing the Beast, an experimental play that was part TEDtalk, part fairytale, and part nature documentary.

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‘This is Not a Play About Sex’ performances are this weekend

October 3, 2014
December 2012 performance of "This is not a play about sex" photo by Andy Daddio

December 2012 performance of This is Not a Play About Sex (photo by Andy Daddio.)

From a bilingual presentation to a moonlit canoe ride, here are some events to check out next week before heading out for the mid-term break.

Mirta Yáñez, a renowned writer known for her short stories, essays, and poetry will be on campus Tuesday, October 7, to read from her work in a bilingual presentation.

Read more

Ben Mandell ’14 spends summer as assistant director/producer of LONEtheater

September 1, 2014
Ben Mandell '14 played a role in the performance titled "Pact," part of LONEtheater, for which he also served as assistant director/producer.

Ben Mandell ’14 played a role in “Pact,” part of LONEtheater, for which he also served as assistant director/producer.

Colgate students are sharing their experiences conducting research with faculty members on campus and in the field. This post is by Ben Mandell ’14 who, after graduating with a theater major and Spanish minor, discovered a unique type of theater that combined both of his academic pursuits.

LONEtheater was a theatrical experience different than any other. Read more

Colgate’s Marjorie Bradley Kellogg earns award from NYC Theatre Development Fund

May 15, 2014
Marjorie Bradley Kellogg

Marjorie Bradley Kellogg was honored by the Theatre Development Fund. (Photo courtesy of Live Design)

Marjorie Bradley Kellogg, associate professor of English and scene designer at Colgate, was recently awarded The Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatrical Design. The prestigious award was presented by the Theatre Development Fund earlier this month at the Hudson Theater in New York City.

Kellogg was presented with the award by Kenny Leon, the director whose most recent Broadway work includes  Holler If Ya Hear Me, A Raisin in the Sun, and Fences.

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Masque and Triangle stages outdoor production of The Taming of the Shrew

April 23, 2014

In honor of the Bard’s 450th birthday today, here are some pictures from Colgate’s production of The Taming of the Shrew. The student theater group Masque and Triangle performed the play last weekend on the Merrill House lawn. Photos by Anna Heil ’16

“Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne’er be younger.”
― William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew
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Young alumnae in film and media careers talk about life after Colgate

April 10, 2014

“[A] cosmic Colgate connection is how I found myself working [in the film industry after college],” remarked Carolina van der Mensbrugghe ’10 during a Film and Media Studies Brown Bag luncheon last Friday. Read more

A Dream Play debuts

April 3, 2014
A rehearsal shot from A Dream Play, directed by Simona Giurgea

Rehearsal shot from A Dream Play, directed by Simona Giurgea and produced by English 259: Performance 1 students

How do we interpret and express our dreams? Twelve theater majors have set out to answer this question, among others, with the spring University Theater production of A Dream Play.

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Students and alumni entertainment professionals connect in NYC

January 31, 2014
Colgate students visit the set of Saturday Night Live as part of a recent immersion trip to NYC.

Colgate students visit the set of Saturday Night Live as part of a recent immersion trip to NYC.

On a recent day in New York City, a dozen students from the on-campus Colgate Entertainment Group met Colgate alumni and toured such locations as Viacom and NBC Universal.

The daylong itinerary helped students get great advice and see that a large number of alumni in the entertainment field are part of a strong network living in New York City as well as in California. The trip helped alumni in the entertainment industry connect with the university.

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Professor April Sweeney performs in Distancia – from her living room

September 23, 2013

April Sweeney, associate professor of English in the University Theater, is in a performance called Distancia, which premiered last week in Buenos Aires.

Sweeney’s part of the performance happened from her living room. Read more

Threepenny Opera premieres this weekend

April 12, 2013
Threepenny Opera continues through the weekend, with Friday and Saturday night performances and a Sunday matinee. It is being presented by Broadway director Eleanor Reissa and Colgate University Theater. Photo by Ashlee Eve '14

Threepenny Opera continues this weekend with Friday and Saturday night performances and a Sunday matinee. It is being presented by Broadway director Eleanor Reissa and Colgate University Theater. Photo by Ashlee Eve ’14

With music, wit, and a little absurdity, Colgate University Theater opened its Threepenny Opera production in Brehmer Theater on Wednesday. The show, which runs through the weekend, is the story of criminal/hero MacHeath (Joshua Jackson ’13) and his marriage to Polly Peachum (Katie Sotos ’15), the daughter of greedy businessman Mr. Peachum (Denny Gonzalez ’13). Mr. Peachum and Mrs. Peachum (Elyse McGrath ’15) are not happy with MacHeath as a son-in-law and set out to have him hanged.

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Opera director Francesca Zambello ’78 profiled in the New York Times’ Corner Office column

April 9, 2013
Francesca Zambello ’78

Francesca Zambello ’7, who received an honorary doctorate from Colgate in 2012, talked with the New York Times about the challenges of leading and managing.

Francesca Zambello ’78 started her first opera company when she was a student at Colgate. In an interview in today’s New York Times she talked about collaboration, learning to fail, and having the “leadership gene.”

The interview appeared in the Corner Office Column which features top executives on the challenges of leading and managing. Read more

Francesca Zambello ’78 to premiere Les Troyens at the Met

December 13, 2012
Francesca Zambello ’78

Francesca Zambello ’78 after receiving her honorary doctorate from Colgate in 2012.

For the next year, on the 13th of every month, Colgate community members will be celebrating the Year of ’13. Tonight, Director Francesca Zambello ’78, H’12 will mark the day in her own special way when she brings Hector Berlioz’ Les Troyens back to the Metropolitan Opera stage at 6 p.m.

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This is not a story about sex

November 28, 2012

It started out being about sex. But as Christina Liu ’13 was writing her play last summer, there was what she called “a distinct shift” in its direction. This Is Not a Play About Sex, for which Liu received a University Studies grant to write and direct, became about much more than her intended topics of sex, the body, and sexuality.

The play originally debuted on campus in October over Family Weekend, but it’s become such a phenomenon that Liu is bringing it back for an encore performance this Sunday, December 2, at 2 p.m. in Ryan 212.

Liu, a theater and women’s studies double major from Shanghai, got her inspiration from three years of acting in and last year directing The Vagina Monologues — soliloquies about the experience of womanhood that have been performed internationally.

Like that play, the script for This Is Not a Play About Sex is composed of monologues based on interviews with real people. Liu conducted her interviews last spring with 26 students — 13 men and 13 women. Read more

The Fever debates Marxism at Brehmer Theater

September 28, 2011

When Simona Maicanescu took to the Brehmer Theater stage last weekend to
perform Wallace Shawn’s The Fever, the connection between the work and
the university was at first oblique. But her arresting performance of
the 90-minute monologue on materialism, Marxism, and the inequitable
distribution of wealth invited the kind of debate that takes place at
Colgate every day, from the core to the Quad.

Read more