Student Life Editor
In a visually captivating display of dance, music, and theater, the Redfern Arts Center revealed their 2012-2013 season to Keene State College and community members Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. The evening included the unveiling of a brand new marimba and performances by KSC faculty and students.
The party began with an hour of mingling in a full Redfern lobby where faculty, students, community members, and deans intertwined in conversation and came together for one common reason: their appreciation for the arts. Jackie Hooper, marketing and promotions specialist for the RAC, stated her intentions for the preview party were to introduce the season to the community and the people on campus.
“We just want to get people excited about the season and make them want to come and attend and see some of our events,” Hooper said.On the season as a whole, Hooper stated she believed RAC director Shannon Mayers added a new feel to this year’s season as Mayers enters her second year at Keene. “I think Shannon has brought a little bit more contemporary performers here that might appeal to students,” Hooper said. This collaboration draws the theme of community that Mayers is striving to establish in her first curated season at KSC.
Mayers stated, “I think what I admired about the Redfern Arts Center is the diversity of what was presented. This year, as I got to know the campus and community, what I focused on as the overarching theme was more community collaboration.” Mayers continued, “I think that there’s a lot that I think families can really learn and enjoy about it. It’s very diverse and the companies are very strong and dynamic and they’re very much about engaging with their audience as well. These aren’t celebrity artists that will do a show and run away.”
Similarly, Sharon Fantl, events manager for the Redfern, stated, “Working so closely with community groups is a different sort of project for us because it will require us working more closely with groups and people that we’ve never worked with.” Fantl referenced several projects such as the collaboration that will take place with the Spectrum Dance and the Cohen Center and the department of Holocaust and Genocide Studies on Oct. 16.
Fantl continued, “We are trying to build on more engagement in our performances; that’s a little bit more of a new direction for us. We see more thematic connections, something we’ve been working towards for a while. I think the performances we have coming offer us a different sort of opportunity to partner.”
Others shared in Mayers’ and Fantl’s excitement. Ruppart Thompson and Mike Kelley of Apple Hill String Quartet, who closed the evening and are scheduled to play once again in April, similarly stated their anticipation for the Redfern’s season.
Thompson said, “I think it looks like you have a really special season.” “We’re excited about the collaborations too,” he said. Dan Bullard, a junior, performed a scene from last year’s production of “Rashomon” for the audience at the party. Bullard said there were two particular shows in the upcoming season he was looking forward to. “I’m looking forward to Capitol Steps. I saw them four years ago and they’re hilarious. Also, Letters Home—it looks like it will be good. A little depressing but good.”
Bullard was one of many who referenced the season opener Capitol Steps and their show, “Take the Money and Run for President!” The political satire group is scheduled to perform the day after the first presidential debate on Oct. 4.
“Letters Home,” a presentation by Griffin Theatre Company, reads actual letters home written by troops from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The company is set to perform March 20, 2013.
KSC’s new Dean of Arts and Humanities, Andrew Harris, shared in the atmosphere of anticipation when he shared his reasoning for his attendance that evening. Harris stated, “I am here tonight because this is the public face of the arts at Keene, and it’s where students learn and where the community comes to experience the arts in this region.” Harris continued and said that he looks forward to the 2012-2013 season the Redfern has to offer.
“As a new dean and a new member of the community, part of this is learning for me too,” he said. “I wanted to experience what is exciting about the new season, both for my own enjoyment and so I can promote the arts within and beyond the college.” Harris concluded and stated what he believes to be one of the greatest things about the Redfern is the exposure to various types of art the center provides. Harris said the Redfern offers to the campus creative work which for many is unfamiliar.
“One of the greatest things about the Redfern is that it exposes us to all kinds of creative work with which we don’t have familiarity, work that is provocative, stimulating and intellectually engaged.” He concluded, “I hope members of the college and community can be part of that engagement throughout the year.”
Julie Conlon can be contacted at