Two decades ago, Academy Award-winning actor and UC Santa Barbara alumnus Michael Douglas ('68) established a program in his home department — Theater and Dance — to bring renowned artists to campus for multiday residencies during which they would work with students, faculty and the community.
Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Michael Douglas Visiting Artist Program, UCSB welcomes Bill T. Jones, one of the most prominent choreographers of his generation, who will discuss his career and work on Monday, Oct. 14, at 4 p.m. in Hatlen Theater. His talk is free and open to the public.
Jones's residency is a collaboration between UCSB Arts & Lectures and the Department of Theater and Dance. It will culminate in "Play and Play: an evening of movement and music," a performance by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. at the Granada Theater, 1214 State St. The event is presented by Arts & Lectures.
"The reason I wanted to bring Bill here is that he spans both worlds — theater and dance. He is a living example to our students of how one traverses both disciplines," said Risa Brainin, professor and chair of theater and dance. "One of our major goals continues to be integrating theater and dance, and he's perfect for that."
According to Brainin, the Michael Douglas Visiting Artist Program makes it possible for the theater and dance department to bring artists of great distinction to campus to share their experiences with students. "For these young up-and-coming artists to sit down and have a conversation with someone like Bill is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them," she said.
Brainin added that she's a huge proponent of the apprentice model of learning, and sees great benefits in making an artist who is established in his or her career available to students who are only beginning theirs. "It lets students see what the career paths are like," she said. "They can look down the road and see what it is to have 10 or 20 or 30 years of experience."
The Michael Douglas Visiting Artist Program is designed to bring to campus professionals working in any aspect of theater — playwrights, actors, directors and designers. Recent visiting artists include actor Bill Irwin and playwrights Barbara Lebow, Marina Carr, Tony Kushner and David Edgar.