Bridge Grant Received
Professor Aaron Muñoz, working with professors John Boesche and Valleri Robinson and their collaborators at the University of Birmingham, has received a Bridge Initiation Grant for the student-centered research project, “The Universal Stage: Experiments in Hybrid Performance for the 21st Century Theatre.” The Illinois Theatre professors will work with the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute to “create new methodologies for merging live theatrical performance with digital theatre.” The project team builds on theatre artist Jarod Mezzochi’s question in American Theatre (Sept. 2021), “Can we, the theatre industry, allow these newly discovered digital resources to expand our audiences, democratize our processes, create a sustainable discipline amid climate change, and revitalize our gatherings and civic duties as theatre practitioners in a (hopefully) post-pandemic, technologically saturated culture?” The creative collaboration between the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois and Department of Film and Theatre at the University of Birmingham builds on Mezzochi’s question. This project creates a network of artists to develop innovative performance practices and explore uses of emerging technologies. Experiments in digital performance-making has lagged due to the need for many specialists to collaborate over time and sometimes develop new skills or vocabularies. The BRIDGE program offers the opportunity to create a transatlantic team of storytellers, filmmakers, digital designers, actors, directors, students, scenographers and other creative experts to richly explore digital theatre-making, its obstacles, and pathways to improving the experience for artists and audience members.
The BiRmingham-llinois Partnership for Discovery, EnGagement and Education (BRIDGE) is a framework for continued collaboration and investment to grow the strategic partnership between the University of Birmingham (UoB) and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The BRIDGE Seed Fund aims to deepen existing collaborations and develop wider faculty networks to: build cognate research areas; expand educational exchange opportunities; and strengthen strategic aspirations for institutional engagement.