Vashaw to speak at national conference about arts, outreach to military families

January 06, 2015

Amy Dupain Vashaw, audience and program development director at the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State, will join Anne Hamburger, president and executive producer of En Garde Arts, and several other university presenters in a panel discussion at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters national conference Jan. 9 to 13 in New York City.

Vashaw and Hamburger are scheduled to team with Meryl Friedman of the University of California at Los Angeles and Deb Sommers of the University of Richmond on Sunday, Jan. 11, to share their experiences presenting “Basetrack Live” and the outreach projects related to it. The projects are designed to engage military families, veterans, universities and communities leading up to and surrounding each performance of the show.

Produced by En Garde Arts, “Basetrack Live” is a multimedia contemporary theater production inspired by words and images of the 1st Battalion, 8th U.S. Marines deployed in Afghanistan. Created by Edward Bilous, the production is based on the life of a Marine in Afghanistan, his wife’s experiences at home and his challenges with returning from war. Two actors, live music from four musicians, projected film and a cascade of images from embedded photojournalists and veteran filmmakers punctuate a performance drawn from text taken from social media exchanges and interviews.

Vashaw worked with veteran and military organizations, the Dear Hero Program and community leaders to create engagement and talkback opportunities in anticipation of the Oct. 29 performance at Eisenhower Auditorium.

“In anticipation of the play touring again in the 2015-16 season, Hamburger wanted to disseminate to the field some unique and interesting ways to engage audiences around this somewhat difficult work,” Vashaw said. “My colleagues and I will be presenting some photographs from the residencies, talking about what we did in our own communities.”

Activities at Penn State included a partnership with the Dear Hero Program to collect and send care packages to deployed military personnel; three days of ART-illery papermaking workshops, supported by the Penn State Adult Learner Program, with Air Force veteran and artist Patrick Sargent; and an intergenerational Veterans Book Project discussion at State College Area High School. Several engagement opportunities featuring actors from “Basetrack Live” took place before the performance and a talk with the audience happened after the show.

After the presentation, “(we will) then (be) opening up the floor for participation by all attendees,” Vashaw said. “It’s intended as a work session rather than a ‘talking’ heads’ session. I’m excited to be a part of it.”

The Association of Performing Arts Presenters annual membership conference is the leading gathering of performing arts professionals in the United States. Founded in 1957, the association is the industry’s leading resource, knowledge and networking destination for the advancement of the performing arts. The conference attracts thousands of attendees each January.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015