News & Announcements

From the President: You're Invited to CHQ Assembly

CHQ Assembly

Chautauqua Proudly Launches the New Online Expression of Its Mission

Dear Chautauquans,

It is with great enthusiasm that I invite you to join us for CHQ Assembly, the online expression of Chautauqua’s mission that will host our 2020 Summer Assembly programs and experiences — and keep us connected and engaged year-round.

CHQ Assembly creates a way for us to gather and engage this summer for the 147th Chautauqua Assembly, when we are unable to attend Chautauqua face-to-face due to COVID-19 concerns. It is composed of five separate but interconnected digital properties — think of them as online venues — where video content, online conversations, master and enrichment classes, and virtual experiences will be offered and presented.

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Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2020 New Play Workshop Series to be Broadcast Online

Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2020 New Play Workshop Series to be Broadcast Online

Chautauqua Institution’s New CHQ Assembly Platform to Feature Works by Charly Evon Simpson and Heather Raffo

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Borba and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, will preserve its commitment to new work development by presenting virtual workshops of Charly Evon Simpson’s it’s not a trip it’s a journey, directed by Nicole A. Watson, on July 15, and Heather Raffo’s Tomorrow Will Be Sunday (working title), directed by Jenny Koons, on July 22. Both New Play Workshop performances will be offered at no cost; viewers will be encouraged to provide a donation to benefit Chautauqua Institution’s Arts Education initiatives in local schools.

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Chautauqua Opera Company reinvents 2020 season to live on CHQ Assembly

Chautauqua Opera Company 2020 Season

Virtual Young Artist Program and nine weeks of digital operatic content to be released on Chautauqua Institution’s new online platform

The Chautauqua Opera Company, following the suspension of all face-to-face programming at Chautauqua Institution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been working diligently to rebuild a socially distanced 2020 company this summer. Honoring the company’s commitment to support the artists and artisans who were to make up the physical 2020 company, Chautauqua Opera has engaged more than 40 company members who will come together virtually to create nine weeks of digital operatic content. In addition to creating digital content, Chautauqua Opera will support and foster the growth of the 20 Young Artists who were engaged for the 2020 season by creating a virtual Young Artist Program, which will provide these artists with opportunities for connection, coaching, and mentorship with professionals in the field and Chautauqua Opera staff.

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Online Opera Chat: Tosca

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On April 28, Chautauqua Opera held their third online preview event for the 2020 Season, which they are calling Opera Chats. This conversation featured Steven Osgood (General and Artistic Director) and Sarah Ina Meyers (stage director) talking about the opera Tosca.

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Chautauqua Institution to Offer Online Programs in Lieu of In-Person Programming

Chautauqua Institution’s Board of Trustees Friday voted unanimously to approve a resolution that calls for no in-person programming on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution for the summer of 2020. Depending on government and public health regulations and guidelines, the Institution may operate a limited range of facilities and services, such as dock installation and service, recreation facilities, and food service, targeted for property owners. 

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Online Opera Chat: Thumbprint

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On April 14, Chautauqua Opera held their second of four online preview events for the 2020 Season, which they are calling Opera Chats. This conversation featured Steven Osgood (General and Artistic Director), Omer Ben Seadia (stage director), Kamala Sankaram (composer) and Susan Yankowitz (librettist) talking about the opera Thumbprint. Two more Opera Chats are scheduled during April and May, and more information can be found at chq.org/opera-chats

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Online Opera Chats: The Mother of Us All

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On March 24, Chautauqua Opera held their first of four online preview events for the 2020 Season, which they are calling Opera Chats. The first conversation featured Steven Osgood, General and Artistic Director, and Keturah Stickann, stage director, talking about the opera The Mother of Us All, by Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein. Three more Opera Chats are scheduled during April and May, and more information can be found at chq.org/opera-chats.

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One Man, Two Names: Commedia dell’Arte Archetypes in One Man, Two Guvnors

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One Man, Two Guvnors, directed by Andrew Borba, is playing July 26-August 11 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnors reimagines Carlo Goldoni’s commedia dell’arte masterpiece, A Servant of Two Masters, setting the story in Britain in the 1960s. Though the characters in One Man, Two Guvnors have different names than their commedia counterparts, they serve a similar function within the story. Commedia characters were based on archetypes, making them recognizable to audiences from show to show. Below is a selection of One Man, Two Guvnors characters, and their commedia analogs.

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One Man, Two Guvnors Dramaturgy: Skiffle & The Rise of the Beatles

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One Man, Two Guvnors, directed by Andrew Borba, is playing July 26–August 11 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

One Man Two Guvnors features a number of standard farce elements — slamming doors, mistaken identities, aggressive horseplay. Perhaps its most distinguishing feature is that it features a live four-piece skiffle band. In fact, the plot centers on the show’s protagonist, Francis, looking for work after he’s booted as the band’s trombone player. If misery loves company, Francis is in good hands as Pete Best was famously fired from the skiffle band that went on to become The Beatles. But what is skiffle anyway.

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How the Light Gets In Dramaturgy: The Art of Japanese Gardens

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How the Light Gets In, directed by Emilie Beck, is playing July 18-20 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

How the Light Gets In is set in a Japanese style garden in America. First developed as a place of reflection in the 6th century, gardens have long been a staple of Japanese art. The garden tradition has roots in the Shinto faith and was later influenced by the rise of Buddhism as well as by Chinese gardening techniques.

Over time, Japanese gardens evolved to take on many different forms. Tea gardens were first introduced in the Momoyama period (1185-1573), while larger Zen rock gardens became popular during the Edo period (1615-1867). Today, the three main styles of traditional Japanese gardens are the Karesansui (rock/dry/Zen garden), Tsukiyama (hill and pond garden), and Chaniwa (tea garden), each of which carries meaning. The garden in How the Light Gets In is a chaniwa; one of the play’s central conflicts involves the construction of a chashitsu, or tea ceremony house, in the garden.

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How the Light Gets In: An Interview with Playwright E. M. Lewis

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How the Light Gets In, by directed by Emilie Beck will play July 18-20 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

What was your original inspiration for this piece?                                                                       

How the Light Gets In is a very personal play. I was writing Grace’s journey through the crisis she faces as I was taking my own.                                                               

Do you have a defined process for how you write a new play or is it different for every piece?                                                                       

Every play I’ve written has had its own process. Some have taken years to research and write (like my Antarctic epic Magellanica). Others force me to carry a notebook everywhere, because the words are clamoring in my head so loudly and I can’t write fast enough! Some of my plays are big and socio-political, some are more intimate and personal.... I try to figure out what each play needs.

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The Christians: June 28–July 14

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Behind the Curtain: Five Questions with Taibi Magar, Director of The Christians

We sat down with Taibi Magar, director of The Christians, to discuss faith and belief, her rehearsal process, and the Chautauqua Motet Choir. 

 

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History of Faith at Chautauqua Institution

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Pictured: A map of the Burned-over District. Counties in red are part of the district.

It should surprise no Chautauquan that Western New York has a long, rich history of cultural activity and intellectual, interfaith dialogue. Chautauqua Institution embodies these values, which appeared to emerge with the arrival of various religious sects to the area. Western New York earned the name “the Burned-Over District” for the way it was spiritually transformed — set ablaze, one might say — by the religious movements that swept across it from the 1790s through the following century.

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Interfaith Moments of Change

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The Christians, directed by Taibi Magar, will play June 28-July 14 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

The Christians’ Pastor Paul is not the only faith leader who has come under fire for a change in belief. Here’s a look at historical faith leaders who have advocated for an evolution of belief within their community.

Rabbi Abraham Geiger - Reform Judaism 

Abraham Geiger was a 19th-century rabbi and scholar who is today considered the intellectual founder of Reform Judaism. He was the driving force in leading other reform-minded Rabbis in formulating a program of progressive Judaism. However, unlike the relatively more extreme Samuel Holdheim,  he did not want to create a separate community. His goal instead was to “change Judaism from within.”

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Bold Theatricality: A Chat with Taibi Magar, Director of ​The Christians

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The Christians, ​directed by Taibi Magar, will play June 28-July 14 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available ​here​.

Taibi Magar is an Egyptian-American, Obie-winning director based in New York City, who is helming CTC’s production of ​The Christians. ​Artistic Producer Sarah Wansley sat down with Taibi to hear about what drew her to this play and how her approach to the text is fully embracing the theatricality of Lucas Hnath’s play.

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Lucas Hnath Brings The Christians from the Church to the Stage

Lucas Hnath | Photo: Richard Perry, New York Times

The Christians, directed by Taibi Magar, will play June 28-July 14 at Bratton Theater, as part of Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season. Tickets are available here.

In The Christians, playwright Lucas Hnath draws from personal experience and stories about embattled religious leaders to craft a portrait of a church community contending with a doctrinal crisis. In 2015, Hnath spoke to Steve Cosson, Artistic Director of the Civilians, an Off-Broadway theater company, about mining religion for performance and ensuring that the finished product eschews satire. What follows is a shortened version of that interview, which was published on the Civilians website.

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Let the Music Move You!

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Music takes center stage for the first time this year at CTC. Our two mainstage shows and our traveling Shakespeare all feature live music and we are developing our first musical New Play Workshop!

  • We are thrilled to partner with the Chautauqua Choir, who will join us on stage singing heavenly hymns in Lucas Hnath’s The Christians inspiring us to feel the spirit.
  • In One Man, Two Guvnors our very own Beatles-inspired band will keep your toes tapping and the laughs coming as musical hijinks add to the farcical fun.
  • The haunting folk harmonies of our fairy trio will draw you into the magic of love in our outdoor touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; which you can see throughout the summer in Bestor Plaza or in one of our three touring locations in Jamestown, Mayville or Southern Tier Brewery.
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Chautauqua Institution Participates in Carnegie Hall's Link Up Program

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Music Education Program to Culminate with Interactive CSO Concert 

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – In collaboration with Carnegie Hall, Chautauqua Institution Arts Education and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra are participating in Link Up, a music education program provided by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI), during the 2018–2019 season. Chautauqua County students participating in Link Up attend a culminating concert on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at the Chautauqua Amphitheater, where they sing and play the recorder or the violin with the orchestra from their seats. This performance often serves as students’ first concert experience and provides them with the opportunity to apply the musical concepts they have studied.   

“We’re thrilled that Chautauqua Institution can now include an experience that celebrates Chautauqua County young musicians as special guests with our Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts at Chautauqua Institution. “Our current arts education offerings include field trips to Chautauqua, residencies in the schools and professional development for teachers; Link Up will tap into each of these elements. To partner with local schools on a program and curriculum designed by Carnegie Hall is a dream come true. We believe that the culminating concert during the 2019 summer season will provide a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students, teachers, families and visitors alike.” 

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Shannon Rozner Named Chief of Staff, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives

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CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill today announced the appointment of Shannon Rozner to the position of chief of staff and vice president of strategic initiatives, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Currently the president of the financial planning practice Financial-360, LLC, which she co-founded, Rozner is an experienced executive in the fields of law and finance.

In appointing Rozner, Hill elevated the existing role of chief of staff — last held by Matt Ewalt, recently appointed as vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair of Education — to the vice president level, with additional responsibility for internal coordination of the Institution’s strategic plan. Rozner will be a key member of the Institution’s executive leadership and a close adviser to Hill in helping to implement Chautauqua’s vision and goals, in addition to responsibilities for facilitating, coordinating and leading of a broad set of organization-wide initiatives.

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