Created in 2017 by theater professor Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, New Works Lab is a workshop production program that gives students the unique opportunity to see their works come to life. It brings together student directors, playwrights, designers, stage managers, publicists and actors to put on original plays written by UCSB students. In the fall, students submit their scripts, after which a committee of students and faculty choose their top five or six scripts to which to give developmental productions. Directors, stage managers, designers and actors are then chosen in the winter and the shows are put into production in the spring. Every two weeks, each show performs their play in front the New Works Lab class and receives feedback from other students and faculty mentors.
In a recent interview, Cowhig spoke more about the class and its growth since its conception.
“I never considered that I wanted to be a director until I realized that you had to put yourself in the position of an actor,” Theater and English student Katherine Hamilton admitted in a recent interview. She discusses what influenced her to change her focus from acting to directing, and how that choice—and her subsequent directing of “I Didn’t Want a Mastodon,” a student-produced, one-act comedy—has influenced her in return.
Students and faculty filled nearly all of UC Santa Barbara’s Studio Theater for award-winning playwright and actor Petrona de la Cruz Cruz’s recent performance of her play, Bittersweet Dreams/Dulces y amargos sueños . The play deals with heavy topics such as sexual assault and both de la Cruz Cruz and director Doris Difarnecio discussed that in a question and answer session after the performance. “Theater has brought me so many places and because of this, I know that my path has many less thorns and stones, and many more flowers,” said de la Cruz Cruz.
In a series of video interviews, Humanities and Fine Arts professors share thoughts on the merits of their fields and their most rewarding experiences as teachers and researchers.
Blake Thompson, a third-year student at UC Santa Barbara who is pursuing a double major in Theater and Communication, devoted the last weeks of summer and first weeks of fall preparing for her role in the pared down Hamlet, which ran for 19 performances over a two week period.
In a recent interview, Thompson talked about the field of acting and how the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts helps an aspiring actress reach her potential.