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Lively Arts Receives Grant for Visiting Theater Project

Chekhov Lidzardbrain 1The Lively Arts at IUP, a program of the College of Fine Arts, recently received word that it has been awarded a grant from Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour to advance a project with highly renowned theatrical troupe Pig Iron Theatre Company of Philadelphia. The grant, in the amount of $30,000, was the largest awarded in this round of grant applications that will fund sixty-three different projects across the Mid-Altantic region.

The award given to the Lively Arts was also the only funded under PennPAT’s New Directions program, which supports Pennsylvania-based professional touring artists in exploring new creative endeavors and developing new connections with the presenter and the community.

Founded in 1995 as an interdisciplinary ensemble, Pig Iron Theatre Company is dedicated to the creation of new and exuberant performance works that defy easy categorization. In the past twelve years, the company has created twenty-two original works and has toured to festivals and theaters in England, Scotland, Poland, Lithuania, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Romania, and Germany. The body of Pig Iron's work is eclectic and daring.

In Indiana, Pig Iron will be performing one of its latest works, Chekhov Lizardbrain. In this ensemble-created performance piece with its base centered on Russian tragic-comedy style, a mildly autistic botanist conjures up a parade of unsettling and comic recollections. This is all with an attempt to shape his fractured memories into a comforting fiction. Pig Iron's virtuosic physical performers spin a web of memory and vaudeville and the impossible task of telling a story straight.

As part of the IUP project, the troupe will also work with IUP students as well as local groups in deconstructing the play to better understand its origins and the creative process. This will include the performances in November on the IUP campus and a visit by local project participants to Philadelphia over the winter months. Members of the Pig Iron company will then return to Indiana in the spring as they continue working on a new piece—their interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Indiana-based participants will assist in interpreting and creating the production; and, during this final visit, Pig Iron will present an open workshop preview performance of parts of the new work.

Chekhov Lizardbrain will be presented as part of the Lively Arts’ Performance Plus series November 10 and 11, 2010, at 8:00 p.m. on the Waller Hall Mainstage. Tickets for this performance will be part of a subscription package with information and order forms being sent by mid-August. If you wish to be placed on the mailing list, you may call the Lively Arts at 724-357-2547 or e-mail lively-arts@iup.edu. You may also sign up for the mailing list by visiting the Lively Arts website and following the Go Live! link. Individual tickets will be sold, as available, starting the end of October.

PennPAT is a program developed and funded by the Heinz Endowments; the William Penn Foundation; the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; and the Pew Charitable Trusts. It is administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

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