Rich Brown wins national award for theater work
Western Washington University Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Rich Brown received the 2012 award for Outstanding Lead Deviser/Director of a Devised Work at the national awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival on April 21 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Brown was honored for directing the devised production, “Us,” which ran on campus in April 2011 and was invited to be one of four full-length plays shown as part of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Fort Collins, Colo., in February.
A devised theater work is an original work created collaboratively by a team of artists who are usually also the performers.
“It’s very humbling and gratifying to be honored for a collaborative and experimental way of creating new theater,” Brown said.
Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” and photographer Robert Frank’s book, “The Americans,” Brown and a group of Theatre students devised “Us” over the course of a year. The show is an investigation of the young American experience.
Brown said devising is about empowering young theater artists to make their own work. That way, he said, they will not have to wait for others to cast or hire them; they always have their own projects to create and perform.
Recently, a group of Theatre alumni, some of whom took part in the production of “Us,” formed the Bangarang Ensemble in Seattle and are now devising their first piece.
“If you find your collaborators, no one can say you can’t practice your art,” Brown said.
He said he hopes Western’s Theatre and Dance department continues exploring devised works.
Brown will be directing another devised work, “Occupy Soapbox,” which will premiere in May 2013.
For more information on the award, contact Brown at (360) 650-7320 or Rich.Brown@wwu.edu.