Stage & Theatre
Recent Amendment to Iowa Court Rules PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Iowa Judicial Branch   
Monday, 19 December 2011 14:32
December 12, 2011 --- Today, Chief Justice Cady signed an order amending Iowa Court Rule 46.13.

Lt. Governor Simon to record holiday message for troops PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Kathryn Phillips   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:33

Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will spread holiday cheer to service members this season, thanks to a new “digital care package” project launched by the Illinois Center for Broadcasting.

Simon will work with student broadcasters to record a holiday video during the school’s first “man on the street” recording session at 4:15 p.m. Thursday across from the iconic Chicago Theater sign at State and Lake Streets in downtown Chicago.

The ICB is also taking appointments from military families and supporters who want to record a free message at their holiday studio between Thursday and December 16. The video messages will be distributed to military members stationed throughout the country and in Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. Army and Illinois National Guard.

“The selfless dedication of our service members should be recognized year-round, but the holidays are often more difficult for our troops overseas and away from their families,” Simon said. “I encourage all that are able to send a warm greeting from home to our service members stationed across the world.”

As chair of the state’s Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC), Simon works to preserve military installations throughout the state and provide support for military members and their families.

Lt. Governor Simon holiday message recording

TIME: 4:15 p.m.
DATE: Thursday, December 8
PLACE: Southwest corner of State and Lake Streets, Chicago


Kirsten Sindelar Cast in Culver-Stockton Theatre Production PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by readMedia   
Monday, 12 December 2011 16:04

CANTON, MO. (12/06/2011)(readMedia)-- Kirsten Sindelar, junior musical theatre major from Sherrard Ill. will take part in Culver-Stockton College's upcoming theatre experience "A Weekend of One-Acts." Throughout the weekend Culver-Stockton College students will take the lead onstage and behind the scenes during "A Weekend of One-Acts." The annual student-led productions will take place Saturday, Dec. 10 through Monday, Dec. 12 in the Mabee Little Theatre inside the Robert W. Brown Performing Arts Center. As part of experiential learning at C-SC, the six students will take responsibility for all aspects of the show as each chooses a play, casts performers and crew and takes charge of directing and producing his or her chosen work.

The productions will include:

"Central Park West" directed by Dakota McKee, senior theatre major from Pittsfield, Ill. Cast members include Lisa Button, sophomore accounting major from Adel, Iowa; Morgan Hakenwerth, freshmen psychology major from Wentzville, Mo.; Brant Beckman, senior history major from St. Louis, Mo.; Nick Johnson, junior theatre major from Fieldon, Ill.; and Alaura Cowart, senior psychology major from Greencastle, Mo.

"For Whom the Southern Bell Tolls" directed by Meghan Townley, junior media communication major from Quincy, Ill. Cast members include Jeffery DeGraw, senior art management major from Canton, Mo.; Sean McAvoy, junior history major from Bluffton, Ind.; and Kayla Pickel, senior criminal justice major from Owaneco, Ill.

"Hotline" directed by Kiana Reed, junior speech and theatre education major from Chicago, Ill. Cast members include Patrick Espanol, junior speech communication major; William Cooper, sophomore art management major from Sikeston, Mo.; Erin Carmdoy, senior speech and theatre major from St. Louis, Mo. Josh Koehler, senior music major from Jackson, Mo.; Brittney Turnbow, sophomore elementary education major from Quincy, Ill.; and Dillion Kelly, sophomore criminal justice major from Toulon, Ill.

"Strawberry Envy" directed by Joey Burbach, senior theatre major from Grant City, Mo. Cast members include Tim Maples, junior musical theatre major from Chicago, Ill.; Hollyann Lillie, junior musical theatre major from Roscoe, Ill.; and Dylan Gauldin, sophomore criminal justice major from O'Fallon, Mo.

"Old Saybrook" directed by Ian Heath, senior theatre major from St. Louis, Mo. Cast members include Kirsten Sindelar, junior musical theatre major from Sherrard, Ill.; Ryan DeGraw, junior speech major from Canton, Mo.; Lina Schiel, sophomore math major; Josh Kollitz, sophomore music major from Grant City, Mo.; Ben Brown, freshman English major from Lincoln, Neb.; and Angie Faoro, sophomore English education major.

A production will also be directed by William Townsend, sophomore speech and theatre education major from Goodman, Mo.

Performances will be divided into time slots as Group A and Group B. Performance dates and times are: Dec. 10 - Group A at 3 p.m. and Group B at 7:30 p.m. On Dec. 11 - Group B will perform at 3 p.m. On Dec. 12 - Group A will perform at 7:30 p.m.

"A Weekend of One-Acts" is the students' time to explore all aspects of the expressive power of drama and performance from comedy to bitter tragedy. There is no admission charge to the performances and the public is welcome, but some material presented may be appropriate for mature audiences only. For further information, contact the Culver-Stockton College Fine Arts Office at (573) 288-6346.

News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Theater for Young Audiences   
Monday, 12 December 2011 14:34


Deadline: January 9, 2012

Follow this link for the application

Attention all TYA practitioners and adventurers! Applications are now being accepted for the 2012 Ann Shaw Fellowships. Designed to support the continuing artistic and professional growth of TYA/USA members, the Ann Shaw Fellowship provides monetary grants for members to travel to a conference or festival, study with a mentor, conduct research or connect with fellow artists. Dream! Plan! Apply! Additional information and the 2012 Application are available online at TYA/USA.

Elizabeth Schildkret, 2011 Ann Shaw Recipient teaching at the Venezualan -American Center in of Merida


Since its inception, the Ann Shaw Fellowship has provided funds to assist more than 39 individuals with travel to theatres and festivals throughout the United States and abroad, for viewing outstanding work and exploring challenging questions related to the field of theatre for young audiences.



ICYMI: Washington Post: Pushing the government to speak plainly PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 12 December 2011 13:55

In case you missed it from the Washington Post

“When people talk about government red tape, first, it’s because of the incomprehensible gobbledygook that’s used to write many of these federal regulations,” says Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), the House’s point man for plainspeak. “The average user can’t understand their responsibilities unless they hire lawyers and accountants to figure it out.”

Pushing the government to speak plainly

The Washington Post

By Suzy Khimm

Friday December 2nd, 2011

If you want to understand Americans’ frustration with Washington, you might start with the very words the government uses to communicate with them.

Take the Labor Department’s explanation of health insurance subsidies for laid-off workers under the 2009 stimulus legislation:

A collection of cartoons on the debate.

“Generally, the maximum period of continuation coverage is measured from the date of the original qualifying event (for Federal COBRA, this is generally 18 months). However, ARRA, as amended, provides that the 15 month premium reduction period begins on the first day of the first period of coverage for which an individual is ‘assistance eligible.’ This is of particular importance to individuals who experience an involuntary termination following a reduction of hours. Only individuals who have additional periods of COBRA (or state continuation) coverage remaining after they become assistance eligible are entitled to the premium reduction.”

What does that mean? Well, essentially, it explains that certain laid-off or downsized workers can get special subsidies for 15 months after they lose their employer-sponsored health coverage.

It is complicated information to have to absorb. But does it have to be so complex to read?

The anti-jargon warriors don’t think so. Fed up with such gibberish, a small but growing band of civil servants, lawmakers and consultants is leading the charge against bureaucratic legalese. Their mission isn’t just to cut down on government forms in triplicate. They believe that Washington is dysfunctional on a more basic level and that to fix the government, the public needs to understand what the government is telling them.

It’s a movement that’s deeply populist in spirit, with its aim to bring the government closer to the people. And activists across ideological lines have echoed the same cause: The Occupy Wall Street crowd rails against deliberately impenetrable credit-card billing practices; tea partyers find evils lurking behind every run-on sentence in regulatory reform bills.

Ultimately, proponents believe that they’re protecting the sanctity not only of the English language, but also of the republic itself. “How can you trust anyone if you don’t understand what they’re saying?” says Annetta Cheek, a 25-year veteran of the federal government who now runs a nonprofit called the Center for Plain Language. “When you’re supposed to be a democracy, and people don’t even understand what government is doing, that’s a problem.”

Plain-language advocates acknowledge that slaying jargon within the federal bureaucracy often seems impossible. But their ranks are growing in Washington, and officials loyal to the cause are embedded in the highest levels of all three branches of government.

“When people talk about government red tape, first, it’s because of the incomprehensible gobbledygook that’s used to write many of these federal regulations,” says Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), the House’s point man for plainspeak. “The average user can’t understand their responsibilities unless they hire lawyers and accountants to figure it out.”

Such complaints have made their way to the White House. “We hear from small businesses in particular that any government documents are too unruly and long,” says Cass Sunstein, head of President Obama’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. “It does breed a kind of frustration that really isn’t good for anybody.”

Under the Obama administration, this populist push to keep legalese from getting between the government and the people has gained ground. In late 2010, Obama signed the Plain Writing Act, which mandates that all publicly available government documents be written in a “clear, concise” manner, requiring all agencies to push new writing standards.

The law neatly converges with Obama’s pledge to create a more open, transparent government, Sunstein says. But it also builds on a long-standing battle against jargon in Washington. People have been railing against bureaucratic legalese for half a century. But as the government’s responsibilities have grown, so have its rules and regulations — plus all the exceptions and carve-outs that interest groups have lobbied to include. Ensuring that all these provisions are technically and legally correct means that it’s often easier for the government to produce documents that are complicated, and hard for the public to understand, than ones that are simple.

According to the federal government’s primer on plain language,, the father of the movement was John O’Hayre, an employee of the Bureau of Land Management, who resolved that convoluted prose had made government documents impossible to read. O’Hayre’s 1966 book, “Gobbledygook Has Gotta Go,” helped launch the movement. A few years later, President Richard Nixon required the Federal Register to be written in “layman’s terms” rather than government-ese, followed by an executive order from President Jimmy Carter that told federal agencies to solicit information “in a simple, straightforward fashion.” Though President Reagan revoked Carter’s order, President Bill Clinton issued an executive order in 1998 requiring all federal employees to use short sentences, the active voice and “common, everyday words.”

But such executive actions haven’t been enough to stem the tide of bureaucratic jargon. Even the 2010 Plain Writing Act has no penalties for unplain writing, and the federal government has yet to appoint its own editor in chief to monitor the agencies’ efforts.

Connecting good governance with plain language has been a long struggle. In his famous 1946 essay, “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell argued that government’s “lifeless, imitative style” produced groupthink. “In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing,” Orwell wrote. “One can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. . . . Never use a long word where a short one will do.”

But it’s been no simple task to convince the entire federal bureaucracy to follow Orwell’s edict, let alone Obama’s. Left to their own devices, agencies have a tendency to develop inscrutably dense vocabularies. “Smart people with great educations feel they have to demonstrate that they know what they’re doing by writing in complex, impossible-to-understand language with lots of clauses and subparagraphs,” Braley says.

He singles out a certain class of bureaucrats as the movement’s most stubborn foe: lawyers. “Anything that grew out of legal training that has ‘wherefores,’ ‘hereinafter,’ ‘party of the first part, party of the second part,’ ‘as referenced in subclauses A, B and C’ — those types of things are impossible to follow,” says Braley, himself a lawyer.

Often, Cheek says, it’s possible to use plain language in such documents without diluting or diminishing their legal meaning. “It’s a very common excuse,” she explains. “Some people try to tell you that it’s dumbing down.”

A few departments and agencies have taken the early lead in the war against bureaucrat-speak. Veterans Affairs, for instance, began a massive effort to rewrite its benefits rules in the early 2000s after an internal review — and more than a dozen court decisions — cited the need to clarify its confusing, ponderous government writing style, as two officials wrote in a 2004 report. The VA’s Regulation Rewrite Project has taken years, but preliminary feedback has been positive: After recasting one benefits form in plain language, the response rate to that form rose from 35 percent to more than 55 percent, saving the agency $8 million every time it mailed the letter out.

Convincing the rest of the government to follow suit may seem like its own bureaucratic nightmare: Every agency must appoint plain-language “officers,” post guides and issue reports to comply with the 2010 act.

One agency that has openly embraced the movement is among the most loathed institutions in Washington: the Internal Revenue Service. This year, the IRS won the Center for Plain Language’s top prize for intelligible writing in public life, the 2011 ClearMark Award.

Receiving the award in late May, Jodi Patterson, who runs the IRS office for taxpayer correspondence, gave a speech that distilled the essence of the plain-language movement. “They might not like hearing from us. They may not want to hear from us,” she said. “But at least they’ll understand what it is we want them to do.”

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