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Cornerstone Theater Company Artistic Director Michael John Garcés headlines the 12th Annual Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium

 Symposium brings internationally renowned artists and scholars to Villanova

Cornerstone Theater Company Artistic Director Michael John Garcés headlines the 12th Annual Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium

VILLANOVA, PA – Villanova Theatre is thrilled to announce the 12th Annual Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium (PTRS), featuring a keynote address and workshop by renowned director, playwright and community artist Michael John Garcés. This year’s conference will kick off on Thursday, May 3 with the Emerging Scholars Panel followed by a workshop, panels and the keynote address on Friday, May 4, 2017. The theme of this year’s conference is “Community Outreach in the Arts.”

At this year’s conference, PTRS organizers will invite panelists and participants to explore questions at the core of theatre-making and community building. Hear from the nation’s most distinguished scholars and innovative practitioners as they examine the following lines of inquiry: How do we make space for community in the arts and for arts in the community? What are innovative ways to involve audiences in the process of theatre-making? What are the responsibilities of an artist when telling the stories of a community?

The Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium (PTRS) seeks to highlight the work of both theatre scholars and practitioners. This symposium offers the opportunity to present works in progress and to share ideas with other researchers and practitioners. Presentations will engage a broad range of topics in theatre and drama studies including but not limited to: theatre for social change, oral history and documentary theatre, site-specific performance and audience engagement.

The conference begins at 7:30pm on Thursday, May 3 with our Emerging Scholars panel and opening reception in Bartley Room 1011. A full day of events on Friday, May 4 kicks off with a morning workshop by Mr. Garcés (9:00-10:30am), followed by paper panels, a brown-bag lunch discussion with Philadelphia artists, and Mr. Garcés' keynote address at 4:45pm, all in Vasey Theatre. Admission is free and open to the public but pre-registration is strongly encouraged. A detailed schedule and registration are available at

About Michael John Garcés: Michael John Garcés is the artistic director of Cornerstone Theater Company, a community-engaged ensemble based in Los Angeles. For Cornerstone, Garcés authored Magic Fruit, the "bridge" project of the multi-year Hunger Cycle which brought together the many communities of the cycle; Consequence, out of story circles with students, teachers, administrators and parents in South Kern County; Los Illegals, created in residence with communities of day laborers and domestic workers; and The Forked Path, a collaboration with Stut Theatre and the Van der Hoeven Kliniek in the Netherlands, which was performed at the Net Even Anders Festival in Utrecht and The International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam. Directing credits at the company include Urban Rez by Larissa FastHorse, California: The Tempest by Alison Carey, Plumas Negras by Juliette Carrillo, Café Vida by Lisa Loomer; and What Happens Next by Naomi Iizuka, produced by the La Jolla Playhouse in association with Cornerstone. Mr. Garcés is a core member of the Living Word Project in San Francisco, where he developed and directed three works by Marc Bamuthi Joseph including, most recently, /peh-LO-tah/ a futbol freedom suite (premiere at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, subsequently at The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and The Kennedy Center). Directing credits in Philadelphia include Wrestling Jerusalem (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Body of an American by Dan O'Brien and The Convert by Danai Gurira (Wilma Theatre); and red, black and GREEN: a blues by Marc Bamuthi Joseph (Annenberg Center). He has directed at many other theaters across the country, including The Guthrie, Woolly Mammoth, Cleveland Public Theatre, INTAR, The Cherry Lane, The Folger Theatre and South Coast Rep. Michael John Garcés serves as vice president of the executive board of SDC, the theatrical union for stage directors and choreographers.  

About the Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium: Now in its 12th year, the Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium (PTRS) is an annual forum for scholars and practitioners from the Philadelphia region and beyond to share their research and enter into a dialogue about current trends in theatrical practice and scholarship. Past conference themes include “New Plays and New Play Development;” “Our Day Will Come: Reclaiming the Feminine in the Irish Theatre;” “Rewriting Histories: Rewriting the Past in the Plays of Sarah Ruhl;” “Ethnicity, Identity, and Hybridity; The work of the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Asian and Asian-American Playwrights;” and “The Work of Elizabeth LeCompte, The Wooster Group, The Avant Garde, Textual Intervention, and Experimental Theatre Collectives.” PTRS has welcomed such varied and accomplished keynote speakers as Kwame Kwei-Armah, Gavin Witt, Garry Hynes, Sarah Ruhl, Emily Mann, Elizabeth LeCompte, Anna Deveare Smith, and Richard Schechner.

About Villanova Theatre: Villanova Theatre is a community of artist-scholars committed to transforming hearts and minds through the visionary production of classical, modern, and contemporary dramatic literature. Our work is fueled by the imaginative striving common to Villanova’s accomplished faculty, versatile staff, and energetic graduate students. Together, we are devoted to creating a vibrant theatre enriched by and overflowing with the ideas explored in our classrooms. In all of our endeavors, we aim to share the dynamic experience of collaborative learning with our audiences in order to engage the intellect and stir the soul.  As a facet of Villanova University, Villanova Theatre serves the campus community as well as thousands of theatre-goers from the Main Line and the Greater Philadelphia area.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.