Three former students of SMU's Meadows School of the Arts have joined forces to found a new Dallas-based theater company. Called Fair Assembly, it's the brainchild of Joshua L. Peugh (founder and artistic director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance), Emily Ernst (associate director of Flatwater Shakespeare Company in Nebraska), and Baltimore-based actor Chris Rutherford.
Their first production will be a brisk, two-hour version of Romeo and Juliet, running January 30-February 2 at Arts Mission Oak Cliff. With a cast of 10 and minimal production, the show will "deliberately focus on the physical storytelling, textual clarity, and acting."
"It is our hope and intention that with this initial modest production, we are beginning what could become an annual project involving Meadows alumni from across the country, across generations, and across artistic disciplines," says Ernst. "The benefits from a program like this include a stronger alumni network, and an opportunity to give current students an idea of the type of work past graduates are creating."
The cast will feature Flip Croft-Caderao, Emily Ernst, Michael Federico, Joan Korte, Ian Ferguson, Alexander MacAlpine, Scott Shomaker, Christopher Rutherford, Jaquai Wade Pearson, and Brandon Walker, with original music from Ferguson and Meadows music composition alumnus Ivan Dillard.
Rutherford and Walker are providing the lighting and sound design, with current SMU associate professor Sara Romersberger serving as fight director and movement coach.
An Indiegogo campaign has already raised more than half of its $8,000 goal. Once expenses are covered, the company plans to donate all remaining funds to Paranormal Activity actress Katie Featherston's Meadows Alumni Award, which helps graduating students begin their transition into professional life.
"We hope this coming-together of alumni can continue to be a source of support for Meadows graduates, as well as an inspiring and affordable way for graduates to collaborate," says Ernst.
Tickets to Romeo and Juliet are $20, with the option to sponsor a student's ticket for $15.