The Digital Media in the Performing Arts Innovation Grant was funded in 2006-07 as part of the WMU President's Innovation Fund. The goal of the grant was to harness many of the same cutting-edge technologies used in the films, computer games, IMAX theatres and theme parks - Motion Capture, Stereoscopic 3D Projections, Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), MIDI and High-Definition Video - and place them at the disposal of the performing arts.
Kevin Abbott, Project Director, has worked extensively with digital media and computer graphics over the past 15 years. Since graduating with a degree in Theatre Design, Mr. Abbott has worked on many creative projects, and has served as a game designer, art director, visual effects artist, scenic designer, web designer, and animator. Clients include Disney I.D.E.A.S, Macromedia, Inc., The Johns Hopkins University, The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Dell Computer. Since 2004, Kevin's work has been honored by both the American College Theatre Festival and the American College Dance Festival. Kevin expertise includes 3D modeling, animation, realtime 3D graphics, projections and live performance integration. in addition to project direction, Kevin is also the Digital Media Artist and Technical Director for Dr. Faustus. Kevin currently serves as Project Lead, Special Projects for the Office of Information Technology at WMU.
David Curwen, co-director, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dance at Western Michigan University. He is also the Artistic Director of The Western Dance Project, the department’s performance ensemble. Mr. Curwen danced professionally in several ballet companies and performed principal roles in ballets by Balanchine, Petipa, Ashton, de Mille, Tudor, Flindt, Goh and Uthoff. Prior to joining Western’s faculty, David was part of the ballet faculty at the Interlochen Arts Academy for two years. Since joining Western, Mr. Curwen’s choreography has been cited for excellence by Regional Dance America, the Michigan Dance Council and the American College Dance Festival. In May 2006, his latest work, The End, was performed as part of the National American College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. He has twice received Western’s College of Fine Arts Technology Fellowship. Mr. Curwen is the current President of CORPS de Ballet International, an organization comprised of people in higher education devoted to the art of ballet.
Greg D. Roehrick, co-director, has designed scenery and/or lighting for over one hundred productions including regional and national tours of musicals and opera. In addition to his stage design work, Professor Roehrick trained in architectural consulting for the performing arts with Jerit-Boys, Inc. He has consulted on three facilities at Western Michigan University (the Dorothy U. Dalton Center, the Irving S. Gilmore Theatre Complex, and the Union Cafe) as well as new construction and/or renovation projects in California, Michigan, and Wisconsin. His latest projects include the Wellspring Theater in The Epic Center in Kalamazoo with Kingscott Associates, Inc. , and a new 800-seat auditorium and support facilities for Kalamazoo Central High School with Tower Pinkster Titus Associates, Inc. Professor Roehrick has been a guest artist at Idyllwild Arts, the Interlochen Arts Academy, and the Virginia School of the Arts; resident scenic and lighting designer for Festival Playhouse at Kalamazoo College; and scenic designer for New Horizon Theatre Company. He has received two WMU awards: the 1994 College of Fine Arts Outstanding Service Award and the 1998 Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award.
Joan Herrington, co-director, is a Professor of Theatre whose current research focuses on the creative process of playwrights and directors. She has published extensively on August Wilson including her book I Ain't Sorry for Nothin' I Done: August Wilson's Process of Playwriting. Her articles on Wilson, Anne Bogart and other major theatre artists have appeared in such journals as Theatre Topics, American Drama, Text and Presentation, and The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. Dr. Herrington currently serves as Editor of the prestigious theatre journal, Theatre Topics. Her book on Pulitzer-prize winning playwrights was published by Routledge Press and her upcoming book, Playwrights Teach Playwriting will be published Spring, 2005, by Kraus Publishers. Dr. Herrington also presents her research regularly at such national theatre conferences as The Comparative Drama, the American Language Association and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.