'Life on the Wicked Stage' features Carrie Robbins Oct. 2

Carrie Robbins, arts entrepreneur, has spent the majority of her career designing costumes for the theatre on and off Broadway. Robbins will talk about her 45 years of creativity and experience during “Life on the Wicked Stage,” at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 2, in Penn State York’s Pullo Family Performing Arts Center (The Pullo Center). The program is open to Penn State York students, faculty, staff, members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI at Penn State York), and other invited guests.

Students in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program at Arthur W. Ferguson School also will attend. The STEM program at Ferguson is expanding to include the arts, and this is an opportunity for students to hear from an expert in the field.  In addition, 14 students from the theatre program at Penn State, University Park, will also travel to York for this presentation. This noon-hour program is sponsored by the artist-in-residence fund created by Perform Group, LLC, to bring  visiting artists to campus.

Featured in the March 2013 issue of “The Penn Stater Magazine,” and spotlighted on its cover, Robbins will share her thoughts about designing costumes and life on Broadway in the theatre world. A number of the costumes she designed have been shipped from across the country, and will be on display during her talk, including one from the classic Broadway hit, “Madame Butterfly.”

Robbins holds a master of fine arts in design from Yale University and a bachelor of arts in art and theatre from Penn State. She has been recognized for excellence in costume design and for the quality of her character drawings with awards and nominations (Tony and Drama Desk), and the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award.  She is only the second costume designer ever to be honored with a monograph on her design work, "Designs of Carrie Robbins" published by USITT/Broadway Press. Her work is also featured in "Costume Design: Techniques of Modern Masters."

An integral part of the American theatre scene for many years, she is taking on a new role in the arts industry as a writer.  Robbins is now writing to create and develop characters in addition to drawing and costume designing.

In 2009, her first play, “The Death & Life of Dr. Cutter,” was chosen to be a part of Abington Theatre’s First Reading Series. In 2011-12, her four short plays, “Dragon Tales Quartet,” were chosen to be a part of the League of Professional Theatre Women’s 30th Anniversary celebration, and in 2012, her play “The Diamond Eater,” was chose to be a part of LaMaMa’s Concert Series.  Most recently, her play “Sawbones” was chosen by The Wall Street Journal’s Company of the Year:  The Actors Company Theatre (TACT) new TACTics program for the New Play Festival.

Later in the evening on Oct. 2, Robbins will speak to more than 200 guests at a fundraising event, Wine, Dine, and Costume Design, to benefit the Graham Entrepreneurial Leadership Program.  Her evening presentation is part of the Graham Program’s speakers series, and she will share her career experiences and discuss and display some of her costume designs.  The leadership program provides an opportunity for Penn State York to partner with industry and help prepare students for jobs once they graduate. 

Donald Graham, founder of the Graham Companies, provided the guiding vision for the program, “Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but it is important to be exposed to entrepreneurial thinking.  Students who learn to understand entrepreneurial thinking will be positioned well to help the U.S. rebuild the economy and create jobs whether they do so by starting businesses or playing a key role in helping to bring products and services to the market for an established organization.”

The Graham Entrepreneurial Leadership Program coordinates the efforts between faculty, corporate mentors, and Penn State York students to develop a tool box of skills for each student designed to support the host company’s culture and the unique demands of their particular workplace.  Student interns receive performance appraisals and continuous feedback from the company, through their company mentor, that is shared and discussed with their Penn State York faculty member.  Students in this leadership program experience company culture and work on real projects to benefit the company or organization.

Students from four disciplines - business, engineering, human development and family studies, and information sciences and technology – are involved in the program.  Penn State York hopes to continue to expand the program to include other majors at the campus.  More than a dozen students have completed internships at companies including The Graham Group, Dentsply, Glatfelter, Harley-Davidson York Vehicle Operations, and Shipley Energy.

Companies interested in becoming a part of the program should contact Di Hershey at 717-771-4127 or dkh13@psu.edu. For information on the academic side of the program, contact Ali Kara, professor of business administration at Penn State York, 717-771-4189 or axk19@psu.edu;  Harley H. Hartman, instructor in engineering 717-771-4097 or hhh2@psu.edu; or William Cantor, senior instructor in information sciences and technology, 717-771-4143 or wpc2@psu.edu.

Last Updated September 25, 2013