Oklahoma City University | Focus on Theatre - 2024 Skip to content

Focus on Theatre - 2024

American Premier Held at OCU 

“Paradise,” a modern adaptation of Sophocles’ Greek Classic, “Philoctetes,” which premiered at the Nation Theatre in London in August 2021, was presented by the School of Theatre in December. The production originally featured an all-female cast telling the story of the storied war hero Philoctetes. OCU’s School of Theatre is honored to present the first production of note of the show in the United States—and to have this production helmed by acclaimed director Leslie Swackhammer.

Equally at home with new and established works, Swackhammer has workshopped, directed and produced more than 100 new works at theatre and opera companies across America. Her work has been seen and praised at National Opera at the Kennedy Center, Opera Omaha, San Francisco Opera, Cleveland Playhouse and ACT Theatre.

A passionate advocate and activist for new play and works by women, Swackhammer is the executive director of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the oldest and largest international prize specifically honoring women playwrights. She also founded the Women’s Playwright’s Festival and was the founding board member and president of Theatre Puget Sound in Seattle.

Actors on a stage
Photo by Bryan Cardinale-Powell

Guest Artists to Visit Campus

Guest artists slated to inspire students with performances, workshops, and/or master classes during the school year include:

  • Matt Cox, playwright and actor, creator of “Puffs and Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic”
  • Craig Holzberg, Talent Agent, Avalon Artists Group
  • Mike Pasetopah, an Osage, Creek and Cherokee storyteller
  • Classical dancers of India from the Sainrythia Dance Academy, a Bharatnatyam school
  • Paul Strickland, professional storyteller and theatre— “Best of Fest” winner at fringe festivals in the U.S. and Canada

Students and Faculty Attend 2023 World Theatre Education Alliance Festival

OCU School of Theatre students and faculty represented North America at the 2023 World Theatre Education Alliance festival held from October 20 to November 1 in Beijing, China.

Eight OCU students presented an abridged production of “Romeo and Juliet” before an international audience in Beijing and Guilin during the festival, which invited member schools from 14 countries including Japan, Germany, Russia, Greece, Georgia and China. Oklahoma City University was the sole school from North America.

Dean Mark Parker, Associate Dean W. Jerome Stevenson and Head of Performance Professor D. Lance Marsh traveled nearly 14,000 miles round trip with eight students to participate in the festival. Marsh adapted the 90-minute version of the classic Shakespearean tale especially for the WTEA festival with the students presenting three performances in two different venues. In addition to the high praise of the OCU production, two OCU students, Lauren Harrison and Jordan Smith, were recognized with WTEA Excellence in Acting and Outstanding Performance awards, respectively. Students from around the globe also were afforded the chance to attend a masterclass presented by Marsh.

Students and professors
Cast and director of “Romeo and Juliet” in Guilin, China. Photos provided
Back to all blog
Back to Top