Actor D. Kevin Williams arrived at Chadron State College Monday as an Artist-in-Residence through Oct. 5, according to Roger Mays, professor of theatre.
Williams will portray “Jim” in “Big River,” the college’s musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” Oct. 2-5.
The position for Williams, an Omaha, Nebraska, native, whose specialties include improvisation, Shakespearean drama and theatre career skills, was made possible by a grant from the Nebraska Arts Council and funding from the CSC Galaxy Series.
Shellie Johns, who coordinates the Galaxy Series, said her goal is to ensure visiting artists like Williams have ample chances to interact with students across the campus and community.
“These professionals have valuable career and networking advice to offer our students and we want to foster more of that type of interaction. As they share their life experiences, it provides an additional dimension to their time in Chadron,” Johns said.
Williams has collaborated and conducted workshops for over 15 years, introducing students to elements of performance, improvisation and presentation including musical theatre, Shakespearean works and stage combat. Williams aims to allow participants to share creative ideas in a safe environment and develop trust and confidence.
In Williams’ residencies, more advanced students are given opportunities to learn various aspects of theater and avenues of the profession such as resume building, voice-over opportunities, attending performances and auditioning skills.
Williams’ wide range of performance credits include commercials, both local and regional, as well as radio and television voice-overs, most notably the Emmy-nominated animated children's series "Liberty's Kids." He has performed in Nebraska and North Carolina Shakespeare Festivals, the recent film "For Love of Amy” and the National Broadway Company tour of "The Color Purple.”
In addition to his “Big River” performances for the public, Williams will present two one-hour workshops for 250-300 regional high school students during Theatre Day, Oct. 2.
Theatre Day is an annual CSC event in when high school students from the region are invited to campus to attend their choice of workshops presented by CSC students, faculty and Williams. Williams will also perform in a special afternoon matinee of “Big River” for Theatre Day attendees.
His additional performances will include “Big River” for Job Corps students in a special performance Oct. 1 and a “Big River” matinee for elementary and middle school students in partnership with the Chadron Library Foundation Board Oct. 3.
While in Chadron, Williams will also present workshops in stage combat and performing Shakespeare, open to CSC students and the public, and workshops at Chadron High School and Crawford High School.
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