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Arts Reporting
Kennedy Center Recognizes Susan Zeder for Teaching Playwriting Print E-mail


For the record:

Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival



Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
The Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards
Presented in the Kennedy Center Theater Lab, April 20, 2013

by Michael Parsons, Boston University

by Lisa Kenner Grissom, Lesley University

J. Isabel Salazar, California Institute of the Arts

Suzan Zeder
University of Texas at Austin

San Antonio Remembers Mary Denman, Obit by Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express-News, May 9, 2013 Print E-mail


San Antonio Express-News, TS




Local broadcast and stage figure Mary Denman dies at 90

By Jeanne Jakle, Staff WriterMary Denman, obituary article, San Antonio Express-News

Thursday, May 9, 2013

San Antonio radio, television and stage legend Mary Denman died Wednesday in a local private care facility. She was 90.


“Alzheimer's is a living hell,” her eldest daughter, Daryl Ann Denman, said Thursday. “Her dementia had started in the last few years. She finally just lapsed into an unresponsive coma.”

However, Denman, a pioneer of women in broadcasting and an ardent supporter of local theater, continues to burn brightly in the hearts and memories of many in news and entertainment here.

“It seemed Mary sort of floated through life effortlessly. Amazingly, she continued voice acting even into her 80s,” said Eileen Pace, reporter/host at Texas Public Radio's KSTX-FM.

“She was a trailblazer, and game for anything,” KENS-TV anchorwoman Deborah Knapp said.

“She even televised her own facelift,” Knapp recalled. “And when I was doing a story about sex over 60, Mary was more than happy to be interviewed.”

Denman's media career spanned some five decades, from the 1950s into the 21st century. She received numerous awards, including the National Achievement Award from the American Women in Radio and Television in 1995.

She was born June 28, 1922, spending her childhood and young adult years in Canton, Ohio. She earned a degree in English and music from Miami University there.

She started her TV career in Corpus Christi, hosting the city's first children's show, “Toyland Time,” as “The Song Lady” on KVDO in the early 1950s.

When she and husband Dick Denman moved to San Antonio, she was hired as the host-producer of “Our Town,” a weekday interview program on KENS-TV. Eventually, she became the station's first female co-anchor of a newscast.

Later, she moved to WOAI radio as the producer and co-host of “Morning Magazine” Monday through Friday.

After leaving radio, Denman and her husband formed their own ad agency, Mary Denman Inc., and ran it together until his death in 1991.

She then developed a radio program for seniors called “Prime Plus.” For the next 13 years, it aired every Sunday morning, first on WOAI, then KENS-AM and finally on KLUP.

Denman's passion for performing went beyond broadcasting, however. She's also remembered as a dynamo on the stage, playing everything from chorus parts to leads in local productions.

“She was amazing,” said Diane Malone, co-founder of the Classic Theatre of San Antonio, who served on the Alamo Theatre Arts Council board with Denman. “Always good-natured and gracious and generous and charming and sexy — even into her 80s.”

Behind the scenes, Denman also did a lot for local theater, chairing the capital campaign committee which renovated and restored The Playhouse, formerly the San Pedro Playhouse, raising more than $1 million.

There will be no burial.

“She donated her body to University of Texas Health Science Center,” daughter Daryl explained. “Mother felt that this was the way to go. It doesn't cost a dime and serves a purpose.”

Asia Ciaravino, president and CEO of The Playhouse, is asking local theaters to dim their lights at 8 p.m. Friday in honor of Denman.

Staff Writer Deborah Martin and directorsresource.com contributed to this report.

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National Endowment for the Arts Grants $40,000 to Creative Action to Train AISD Teachers in Arts-Based Education Print E-mail

Creative Action Austin TX non-profitThis week the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that Austin’s Creative Action will receive a $40,000 NEA Art Works grant to support the “Creative Action In the Classroom” project.

This innovative project will allow Creative Action (formerly Theatre Action Project), in partnership with MINDPOP, to deliver powerful arts experiences to 2,500 AISD students, but it will also allow it to provide targeted professional development to teachers that will help them incorporate arts-based strategies as part of their teaching.

“What makes this project so important,” says Karen LaShelle, executive director of Creative Action, “it allows us to model and then train teachers on the effective strategies we use every day to inspire, engage and educate youth. Teachers can keep using those strategies across the curriculum making the entire educational experience more fun, more interactive and ultimately as studies have shown, more successful.”

Launched with in-depth research last year, the project is a collaboration among Creative Action, MINDPOP, Austin Independent School District and City of Austin. Creative Action staff will train a total of 125 classroom teachers in arts-based teaching strategies to support district-identified gaps in arts education.




According to a report published last year by the NEA, "The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth," at-risk students who have access to the arts in or out of school also tend to have better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement. The study reports these and other positive outcomes associated with high levels of arts exposure for youth of low socioeconomic status.

“Arts and social and emotional learning continue to be an important part of the curriculum in schools,” says LaShelle, “especially since we know that engaging youth creatively and supporting their personal growth is critical to student success.”

As Austin’s largest provider of after-school programming, arts enrichment, and character education programming in Central Texas, Creative Action serves more than 16,000 children and young people every year. The NEA grant marks a significant point of growth for Creative Action, which is already the largest arts-education organization in Central Texas. Last year, Creative Action won a $150,000 grant from Impact Austin for its “New Stages” youth ensemble and it was a finalist for the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, selected by the President’s Committee on the Arts.

Arts Reporting: Classic Theatre Explores Potential New Homes, by Deborah Martin of the San Antonio Express-News, April 23 Print E-mail


from the paper's Art beat page at www.mysanantonio.com:


San Antonio Express-News



Scapin by  Molière, Classic Theatre, San Antonio, TX

Classic Theatre explores potential new homes

In the short time since they learned they’ll have to move, the folks at Classic Theatre have looked at potential new homes at the Woodlawn Theatre, the Josephine Theatre, Performing Arts San Antonio and Fox Tech High School.

The big take-away so far? “There’s a lot of unused space in San Antonio,” said Diane Malone, a co-founder of the company.


The company currently shares space with Jump-Start Performance Co. at the Blue Star Arts Complex. Jump-Start learned nearly two weeks ago that their lease on the building will not be renewed. The company was able to negotiate an extension that allows them to stay through January.

Classic closes its fifth season with the farce “Scapin,” slated to open May 10 at the Sterling Houston Theater at Jump-Start. The company has not yet decided whether they’ll begin their sixth season there and then move, or if they’ll do their entire season at a new space, Malone said.

Ideally, Classic’s new space will include room for an office, storage and rehearsal space.

“We’re asking for the moon,” Malone said.

A lot of other theaters have stepped up and offered to house the company, she said.

“A lot of people are talking about, it giving us suggestions: There’s a place here, a place there, museums and theaters and storefronts,” she said.

There is also a possibility that Jump-Start will go in together on a new space.

At this point, nothing is off the table: “We’re not eliminating any options,” Malone  said.


(*) Another Two Theatre Companies Evicted from Blue Star Arts Complex, report by Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, April 17 Print E-mail

SA Express-News TX

Jump-Start getting the Blue Star boot

By Deborah Martin, Staff Writer

Updated 6:14 pm, Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jump-Start Performance Co., which has been based at the Blue Star Arts Complex for nearly 20 years, is losing its lease there.

The group will be moving in January, said Producing Director Lisa Suarez. Jump-Start's lease ends in September, but company members were able to negotiate a four-month extension.

Jump-Start is the latest arts group to leave the complex as owner James Lifshutz carries out renovations to add more retail.

Lifshutz did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.

The news that Jump-Start will have to move came as a surprise, said Dino Foxx, the theater's public relations director. The company had met with Lifshutz last year as renovations moved forward, Foxx said, and had been told they could rest easy.

“At that time, they assured us that we were definitely a tenant they wanted to keep,” Foxx said.

They received a phone call April 10 informing them otherwise.

The move also will leave Classic Theatre, which shares Jump-Start's space, homeless.

Classic is slated to open the farce “Scapin” May 10. That show's run will take place as planned.

Both companies are determining how to move forward.

“Many options are being brought to the table,” Suarez said. “I was continuing to remind everyone, we are not about this facility necessarily. We are about the creativeness that comes from the company.”

The possibility of the two theater troupes finding a new space together has been floated, Foxx said, but it's too early to say how likely that is to happen.

“There are so many question marks,” said Renee Garvens, who handles publicity and oversees the education program for Classic. “At this point, we want to make sure that we contact all of our big donors and let them know we're full steam ahead.”

The Overtime Theater left Blue Star last year, also as a result of the renovation. The company found a new home near the Pearl Brewery.

Leaving Blue Star turned out well for them, said Artistic Director Kyle Gillette.

“The Pearl is the area right now that is promoting exciting new work and where things are happening,” he said. “And Blue Star, unfortunately, has decided to shun its artists. It's a real shame what they're doing.”


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