This semester, Miami’s Theatre Department, the Performing Arts Series and the Oxford Community Arts Center are coming together for the third consecutive year to bring artists and their work from around the country to Oxford.
The event, titled the the Solo Series, was established three years ago with three artists both performing and supervising workshops as an original idea from assistant professor of theatre Saffron Henke.
“The first year went very well, but last year we were only able to have one artist,” Henke said.
This year’s program will feature three artists who will each conduct a solo performance and a workshop. There will also be a new addition, as the theatre department has built a sprint course around the series. Henke said the course will allow students to participate in the workshops by viewing the performances and crafting reflective writing pieces.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to talk with artists who are out in the ‘real world’ creating art and doing what they love,” said Maia Aoibheil, a first-year student enrolled in the course. “I imagine that there is a lot I can learn from their experiences creating solo work as well as any techniques they may have to teach.”
The participating artists this year are William “Bill” Doan, Lisa Strum and Megan Gogerty.
The first workshop and performance, held on Feb. 26 and 27, respectively, will be conducted by Doan, a visual artist. His performance, “Frozen in the Toilet Paper Aisle of Life,” will cover his anxiety and how he has learned to deal with it. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. His workshop, and Gogerty’s, will be about creating autoethnography, a combination of autobiography and ethnography, the study of people and cultures.
The second participating artist is Strum, an artist out of New York who will conduct her workshop on March 20 and perform the play, “She Gon’ Learn” on March 21 at 7:30 p.m. This is an autobiographical play about growing up as a black woman, and has been produced at multiple theatre festivals.
Gogerty, a comedian and playwright, has participated in this series since its emergence. Last year she performed her show “Lady Macbeth and Her Pal, Megan,” which won the Audience Pick of the Fringe at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. This time she will perform “FEAST,” a reimagining of an old English story, which the audience is tasked with figuring out. The department hopes to host the play as dinner theatre on April 7 at 5 p.m. On April 6, Gogerty will teach a workshop on creating a solo show.
“[The series] gives students an opportunity to see really high-quality work that would not normally come to Oxford,” Henke said.
Henke said this program would not be possible without the collaboration between the university and the Oxford community, and stressed “many thanks to the Performing Arts Series for making these performances free and open to the public.”
Aoibheil, the student taking the sprint course, agreed.
“We are the ones that are going to go out to the world and create art, and it is an invaluable experience to make connections and see what kind of work you need to do to get where you want to be,” Aoibheil said.
All performance will be held at the Oxford Community Arts Center. Students can contact Henke at firstname.lastname@example.org for workshop locations, timing and more information. All events will be free to Miami students with their ID.