Julia Ashworth, Theater and Media Arts
1. Evaluation of how well the academic objectives of the proposal were met
The purpose of this project was fourfold:
1. Perform both outreach and on-campus productions of The Nightingale that relay the messages of friendship, true voice, and a gentle heart.
2. Educate audiences about the aforementioned themes by:
○ offering in-school workshops in both Utah and China.
○ facilitating pen-pal and video correspondence between Utah audiences (school children and BYU campus audiences inclusive) and school children at elementary schools in Xi’an, China.
3. Mentor BYU students through creative, collaborative, and analytical processes that increase performance skill and artistry by:
○ engaging in specialized training in Peking Opera artforms
○ immersing students in the Chinese culture
○ guiding students through inquiry-based rehearsals
4. Apply the Mission and AIMS of BYU by:
○ developing collaborative community partnerships
○ supporting elementary curriculum by fostering China-Utah school partnerships.
○ exploring other humanitarian-based service-learning opportunities through the development of authentic international school partnerships.
The Nightingale project was a multifaceted production that focused on theatre, dance, Peking Opera training, and building international sister-school relationships.
One of the first components of this project involved traveling to China. The first days of the trip were spent training with the Peking Opera Theatre Company of Beijing, or Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing (they are transitioning to a new name). More information about this company can be found here: http://www.pekingopera.eu/index.html. Clicking the British flag will translate the page. They created a personalized workshop for our group. During this time, we were instructed in Peking Opera characters, costumes, make-up, movement, and performance elements.
The middle section of the trip involved gaining a greater understanding of the Chinese culture and historical contexts. We visited the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, and Terracotta Warriors. In addition to these landmark experiences, we had valuable experiences by attending and expatriate LDS branch, discussions with our tour guides, and negotiating for costume and prop needs.
The last part of the trip was spent teaching workshops in two Xi’an primary schools with English-Immersion Programs. This allowed BYU students the opportunity to work with elementary-aged students on an international level and begin the process of connecting schools for the sister-school partnerships. We are grateful for Ellen Knell with the BYU Chinese Flagship program who helped make this experience possible and connected us to Professor Patricia Chi in Xi’an.
We began intense rehearsals in August for the performance, rehearsing 20 hours per week. We referenced our experiences in China often to assist the collaborative and creative processes. This experience was completely unique and new to all involved. The students were asked to contribute ideas, the co-directors had to navigate the fusion of two disciplines, and the co-composers attended rehearsals regularly to create an original score. We also prepared for the school workshops during September.
The Nightingale play was presented by The Young Company in September. Throughout the semester, the cast performed in 18 local elementary schools and 2 public libraries for more than 9,000 children. They also taught workshops to 62 fourth grade classes.
We are still facilitating sister-school partnerships via video messages and correspondence for the following schools: Daxing New District Primary School and Cascade Elementary School; and Xi’an Primary School of Shaanxi Province and Calvin Smith Elementary School. Fortunately, as of February– when Dropbox became available in China– we have been able to make greater progress on this portion of the project. We anticipate being involved during the next school year as these schools develop the partnerships.
Overall, the project outcomes closely met the original objectives. The BYU students received beneficial experience in multiple forms. Namely, they received training in a specialized art form known as the Peking Opera; expanded their cultural and global understanding; practiced collaborating with students and professors from various disciplines; created a performance piece for young audiences that was shared in 18 schools and two libraries for more than 9,000 children; honed their teaching skills in 62 workshop classes; and assisted in developing international school partnerships.
2. Evaluation of the mentoring environment
The mentoring involved was extensive. The intense amount of time spent together for a common cause provided for substantial mentoring. We spent spring semester preparing for the China trip. We we then spent 12 days traveling, training, teaching and discovering together. When rehearsals began– involving 20 hours per week for three weeks– we as co-directors were committed to having the students collaborate with us. We asked for their contribution to the creative process. Once performances and touring began, we continued to spend time with students, giving notes and feedback about performances and workshops. As expected, there were many times when the process did not go as expected. Yet, we feel that all of us learned from both the successes and the failures. Indeed, we feel as though we have grown as mentors. We hope that the students feel that they have developed as artists and individuals as well.
3. List of students who participated and what academic deliverables they have produced or it is anticipated they will produce
The following individuals were involved in the project:
● Jennifer Bozeman, Acting Pre-Major, Performer
● Myung Wha Park Buck, Music Composition Major, Co-Composer. *Please note that Myung Wha was unable to travel to China because of the timing of her wedding. She was heavily involved in rehearsals and production, though.
● Clayton Cranford, Acting Pre-Major, Performer
● Nicole Dugdale, Dance Major, Performer
● Cosette Hatch, Acting Major, Performer
● Alecia Holmes, Theatre Major, Stage Manager
● Noah Kershisnik, Media Arts Major, Performer
● Allie Limas, Dance Major, Performer
● Jordan Nicholes, Acting Major, Performer
● Scott Savage, Theatre Education Pre-Major, Performer
● Esmeralda Vera, International Relations Major, Performer
These students performed The Nightingale play, taught workshops, and facilitated sister-school partnerships between Xi’an and Utah elementary schools.
4. Description of the results/findings of the project
Documentation of the results of the project include:
● On-campus production of The Nightingale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqMyHF0sjjM&hd=1
● Video of Chinese students that we shared with the Utah sister-school students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hof9YRArqcc
● Photo Slideshow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh5iBAm52BA&feature=youtu.be
● Thank you song to Professor Patricia Chi before we left Xi’an: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpZ1_NBSynE&feature=youtu.be
● Attached Nightingale Program PDF. *Thank you for not sharing these links with others. We have committed to protect the privacy of the elementary students.
Here are a few comments from the Utah schools that participated:
● “Thank you for the performance. I enjoyed it very much and have heard wonderful feedback from the students and teachers!”
● “I would say approximately there were about 450 students who attended and they were mesmerized. They loved it and the play kept [their] attention the whole time. It was wonderful!!!”
● “Thanks so much. The assembly was wonderful… worth every penny!”
● “Thank you so much for coming. I know my class totally loved it and they loved the workshop. Your company was so cute with them.”
5. Description of how the budget was spent
Please see attached MEG Budget Report PDF.
Detailed Report of Financial Activity
Date Vendor Items Cost
6/5/13 Amazon Cameras and equipment $1,012.48
5/15/13 Costumes Costumes, fabrics and shoes for The Nightingale $326.75
6/17/13 Peking Opera Training with the Peking Opera $10,169.50
5/1/13 Pacific Protours 13 land package and single room supplement $16,543.00
6/22/13 Pacific Protours, gratuity For tour guides and bus drivers $1,248.50 5
5/1/13 Delta Airlines 13 airline tickets $17,631.90
5/1/13 The Travel Broker 13 China visas and consulate fees $2,460.00
6/22/13 Xian Hotel 6 double rooms, 1 single room, breakfast included $1,600.00
10/10/13 Panda Express Refreshments for Reception for Chinese Immersion Schools $71.12
10/10/13 Costco Refreshments for Reception for Chinese Immersion Schools $111.79
10/10/13 Campus Floral Flowers for Reception for Chinese Immersion Schools $77.50
10/12/13 Performance Support Pizza Hut -‐ for cast and crew between matinees of The Nightingale $68.41
GRAND TOTAL $51,320.95
Date Vendor Items Cost
5/1/13 Pacific Protours 10 student land packages-‐ includes tour guides, ground transportation, Beijing hotels and accomodations $12,725.00
5/1/13 Delta Airlines 10 student airline tickets $13,563.00
6/5/13 Amazon Cameras and equipment $1,012.48
6/17/13 Peking Opera Training with the Peking Opera (even after several negotiations, the fee to have a private and personalized training was much higher than the original grant proposal budget) $10,169.50
$37,469.98 TOTAL-‐ MEG funds covered $20,000 of this total, the Laycock grant covered $16,500. Remaining costs were covered by TMA and Dance department Fulton Funds.