Zoë Jackson ’16 is choreographing “The Counter Factual: A Dance Concert,” to be performed in October at the Schwartz Center.

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ITHACA, N.Y. — Following last year’s successful 150 Events series, Cornell’s Department of Performing and Media Arts will continue its new tradition of student-led theatre, film and dance performances, with students serving as directors, writers and choreographers, as well as artists, in its 2015-16 season shows.

The season begins with the traditional FESTIVAL24 Aug. 29, where students spend 24 hours writing and rehearsing a film, a dance and three plays, which will be performed the next night.

A highlight of the fall season will be Zoë Jackson’s ’16 “The Counter Factual: A Dance Concert,” Oct. 22-24, a culmination of Jackson’s coursework in choreography design. Only students who have exhibited the highest competency in dance designed are asked to choreograph such a concert, said Byron Suber, senior lecturer in dance.

“I’ve never directed a dance concert before, presented so much of my own work in one sitting or worked with another choreographer,” Jackson said, “so this project will bring a lot of new experiences for me.”

Zoë Jackson ’16 is choreographing “The Counter Factual: A Dance Concert,” to be performed in October at the Schwartz Center.

Also on screen this fall will be the new series, “Voices and Visions in Black Cinema,” organized by Samantha Sheppard, assistant professor of cinema and media studies. The speaker and screening series will survey black media practices and scholarship.

“I look forward to exposing Cornell students, faculty, staff and the larger community to important and groundbreaking films by black filmmakers,” Sheppard said. “As well, I look forward to the speakers providing rich, invigorating and new scholarship on black cinema studies.”

Another highly anticipated event this season will be “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged,” a comedy for those who love and hate the Bard. Directed by Jeffrey Guyton, visiting lecturer of theatre, the comedy pokes fun at Shakespeare’s plays.

“I love the idea of a small group of friends with limited experience in acting, Shakespeare, or theater, telling the story of every Shakespeare play in a rough and tumble, improvisational way in less than two hours,” Guyton said. “It is a brilliant excuse to play, to be outrageous, inventive, and bawdy.”

The spring season will also include a theatrical collaboration with Ithaca’s Civic Ensemble, when visiting artist Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. directs Eugene O’Neill’s “All God’s Chillun Got Wings.”

“This production puts at the center of this year’s programming our commitments to community engagement and to dialogue about challenging issues, including the North American history of racism and violence and the ongoing importance of that history to our understandings of the present,” said Nick Salvato, associate professor and chair of the Department of Performing and Media Arts.

Here’s a rundown of the 2015-16 season at the Schwartz Center:

  •  “Voices & Visions in Black Cinema,” various dates; film screenings at Cornell Cinema, speakers at Film Forum  FESTIVAL24, Aug. 29, Flexible Theater
  • Caochangdi Work Station, Sept. 14-26, in residence with performance in Kiplinger Theater and workshop presentation Sept. 26.
  • Ten-Minute Playfest, Oct. 1-3, Black Box Theater
  • The Counter-Factual: A Dance Concert, Oct. 22-24, Black Box Theater
  • “TWENTYHOOD,” by Anna Brenner ’16 (directed by Andrea Fiorentini ‘16), Nov. 5-7, Black Box Theater
  • “On the Verge,” by Eric Overmyer (directed by David Feldshuh), Nov.12-14, 20-21, Flexible Theater.
  • Mini Locally Grown Dance Festival, Dec. 3-5, Class of ’56 Dance Studio Theater
  • “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged,” by Adam Lon, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield (directed by Jeffrey Guyton), Feb. 25-27, Mar. 4-5, 2016, Flexible Theater
  • “Secret in the Wings,” by Mary Zimmerman (directed by Brian Murphy ‘16), March 10-12, 2016, Black Box Theater
  • Locally Grown Dance Festival, March 17-20, Kiplinger Theatre
  • Heermans-McCalmon Staged Reading, March 18, 2016, Class of ’56 Dance Studio Theater
  • CIFF (Centrally Isolated Film Festival), April 8-9, 2016, Film Forum
  • AGIT (Association of Graduates in Theatre), April 14-16, 2016
  • “All God’s Chillun Got Wings,” by Eugene O’Neill (directed by Godfrey Simmons), April 29-30, May 6-7, 2016, Kiplinger Theatre
  • SLTC (Student Lab Theater Company), May 11, 2016, Black Box Theatre
  • Sub-Basement Student Film Screenings, December 2015 & May 2016, Kiplinger Theater

For more details, visit pma.cornell.edu. To buy tickets, visit http://schwartztickets.com.

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