Commencement speaker – Makoto Fujimura

Our university president, Dr. Roger Parrott announced on his blog that the 2011 Spring Commencement speaker for Belhaven University will be renowned artist Makoto Fujimura, head of the International Arts Movement headquartered in New York City.  We are excited to have such a distinguished speaker on campus and look forward to the opportunity to hear his address on April 30.

Guest Designer — Kate Pierson

We were honoured the last 3 weeks to have Kate Pierson in residence as our Guest Costume Designer.  Kate is a gifted Costumer Designer from the Northwest US and was willing to make the trip to Belhaven in the Deep south and collaborate with us on our current production of Juliet and her Romeo.

I wanted to share her design notes with you and a pictorial form of the costume plot for the show because I think it demonstrates what a challenge this show was to design and chart especially from a costuming standpoint and how a story and concept can be told and supported by the design elements of a production.  Enjoy.

Juliet & her Romeo — Designer Notes

How to dress 8 actors playing 25 roles that are changing in every scene?

Juliet & her Romeo has been one of the most challenging designs I have ever done due to the sheer complexity of the logistics of fitting many different sized bodies into one costume and still retain the believability of character and fluidity of movement for the play.

The first directives that were given to me consisted of ideas of exploration, movement and flight; I wasn’t bound by a time or place, or by a color palette that depicted familial ties (which is often used in costumes for Romeo & Juliet).  Combined with the complexity of the actor/scene/character changes I knew I had to find a style that would support the nature of the play as well as offer some flexibility of style…Steampunk occurred to me fairly early on.

I believed the romantic yet edgy nature of the steampunk style, which melds together the future with the past worked well with the multifaceted direction of the director’s vision.  Because any particular costume piece needed to be worn by several actors as well as be easily donned and doffed I gave them an industrial and romantic functionality to the costumes; using basic black dancewear as the background canvas, adaptable pieces such as coats and vests fronts and a wide range of accessories and costume props with lots of embellishment the costumes became useful tools to help identify the characters.


is a sub-genre of science fictionalternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistictechnology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashionculturearchitectural styleart, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history.

Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of “the path not taken” for such technology as dirigiblesanalog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage‘sAnalytical engine.

Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk. They have considerable influence on each other and share a similar fan base, but steampunk developed as a separate movement. Apart from time period and level of technology, the main difference is that steampunk settings tend to be less dystopian.

Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.


Again Thank you to Kate and all her hard work and effort in collaborating and helping us produce this production.  Please forgive me for the cell phone photos of the renderings they really are beautiful!

Paul Patton, guest artist, playwright and lecturer

100_6107Paul Patton, playwright of Lifting the Veil, shared his lecture The God Talk: The Manipulative Use of Religious Language, at our departmental meeting on September 21.  His lecture was a good warning for our students against using, and allowing others to use, the name of God (and the authority that goes with it) for self-serving ends.

Paul was present for the premeire of his play, directed by senior theatre major Jonathan Dixon, and also shared with several of our classes, including a talk with our Scriptwriting class on generating play ideas from one’s personal history, and encouraged our Acting 2 and Directing class towards “Stewarding the Stirrings of your Soul” by committing to memory those things (scriptures, passages of novels or plays) that stand out as being useful or valuable for further consideration.

Paul’s visit was a significant blessing to our students and faculty alike, and we are thankful for his time with us.100_6096

Visiting guest artist – Paul D. Patton

Visiting with us Sept. 20-22 will be guest artist Paul D. Patton, playwright of Lifting the Veil, which will premiere on September 21.  Lifting the Veil is based on the true story of the runaway wedding of evangelists Katherine Kuhlman and Burroughs Waltrip, as they struggle to divine the will of God in their hasty marriage.

Paul is the author of over 30 works for the theatre and was the founder of Trinity House Theatre in Detroit.  He is the co-author of the recently published “Prophetically Incorrect: a Christian introduction to Media Criticism”.Paul_Patton Paul has lectured on topics such as “The Idolatry of the Cult of Celebrity” and “God Talk: Lessons in the Manipulative Use of Religious Language.”  He is an associate professor of Communication and Drama at Spring Arbor University in Michigan, where he lives with his wife, Beth.

Paul visited Belhaven previously in 2007 when we produced his play, Kurt Gerstein, winner of the 2007 Christians in Theatre Arts New Play Contest.

Paul will be guest lecturing at several classes, including our Scriptwriting course and performance classes, and will make a special presentation at a whole department gathering on Tuesday afternoon.

Guest instructor – Daniel Cossette

We were blessed to host acclaimed mime performer Daniel Cossette as a guest instructor during the week of August 30 – September 3.  Daniel was a Performance Journeyman with Mimeistry International (now the Innovo Theatre), and is now a Guest Artist working with Ad Deum Dance Company of Houston, TX.

Mr. Cossette worked with our first semester freshmen and transfer students taking our foundational course in movement for the performers – teaching fundamental techniques of mime and physicality on the stage.