Kellsey Miller

Miami University will welcome Plasticene-the Chicago-based physical theater company-as this year’s Cromer/Flory artist in residence.

The group will first perform its original work-in-progress, “Until One Falls,” at 8 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Gates-Abegglen Theatre in Miami’s Center for Performing Arts.

Students in Miami’s department of theater will then have the opportunity work with Plasticene to create their own pieces during a variety of workshops following the performance.

While on campus, Plasticene will hold four different workshops Jan. 26-27 for Miami theater students. The workshops will focus on performance, design, sound and directing, according to Elizabeth Mullenix, chair of the department of theater.

The students’ performance will be held Jan. 27, along with a post-show discussion.

The department of theater chose Plasticene as this year’s artist in residence based on the high recommendation of a faculty member who worked with their lighting designer in Chicago, Mullenix said.

According to the group’s Web site, Plasticene is considered a modern performance group and has worked for the last 12 years to develop a process of “making theater” through five steps: resource, exploration, scoring, performance and exchange.

The group’s performances are silent and use the body in action, objects in motion, lights and sound.

“Until One Falls” utilizes these five steps and is particularly enhanced by live experimentation with light and sound.

Plasticene has performed 11 other original shows that focus on crime, history, horror and other various topics, according to the Plasticene Web site.

The group currently performs around the country and facilitates physical theater classes for schools, businesses and other organizations.

The entire 10-member company will be at Miami to participate in the performance and work with students.

“We are excited about this opportunity for our students to work so closely with acclaimed professionals from Chicago,” Mullenix said. “So many of our students go to Chicago to work in the theater after they graduate and this will provide some excellent contacts for them.”

The Cromer/Flory artist in residence program is funded by an endowment established by Richard Schiewetz in honor of his sisters Betty Schiewetz Cromer, a 1941 Miami graduate, and Mary Eleanor Schiewetz Flory, a 1939 Miami graduate.

Both had earned degrees in communication and theater and piano performance from Miami and believed fine arts were an essential part of the undergraduate experience.

After listening to several Miami alumni reminisce about the visits from famous musicians, writers and artists, the sisters decided an artist in residence program would enhance the fine arts program, according to a press release from the department of theater.

According to Jeanne Harmeyer, manager of marketing for music and theater in the School of Find Arts, the program alternates between music and theater each year.

“The goal of the Cromer/Flory artist in residence program is to bring in someone from outside with performance history and who will work with the students,” Harmeyer said.

Students are able to interact one-on-one with high-level performance artists to understand how they achieved success in their field and community members to view a public performance by these gifted individuals or groups.

Tickets for the Jan. 25 performance cost $12 for the public, $10 for senior citizens and $9 for students and youth. The student performance Jan. 27 is free and open to the public, but tickets are required due to limited seating.

Tickets are available at the Miami Box Office in Shriver Center, by calling (513) 529-3200 or online at