Creativity and Innovation

Practice, practice, practice. The classic punchline about the best way to get to Carnegie Hall will prove true for 165 Virginia Tech students on April 11, when they perform at the storied concert venue. The students — and several of their professors — will have earned their berths on stage ...
School of Performing Arts rendition of the play Waiting for Godot
Performing arts professor Cara Rawlings has used clown techniques to coach an actor in what iconic role? Was it Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Mute in The Fantasticks, or Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream? None of the above — it was the HokieBird in Lane Stadium. That detail is on...

One-Man Band

Mike Butera sits next to Instrument 1, the first Artiphon product
Mike Butera was always the guy in the band toting multiple instruments: the beat-up banjoes, the ukulele rescued from a dusty shop, the cello that overwhelmed the stage. The classically trained violinist, who played in an Americana-roots band, couldn’t help himself. He was always tinkering with mus...

Creativity Unbounded

Lynda Barry
“The original digital device is this,” cartoonist Lynda Barry said, holding up a hand and waggling her fingers. “Plus! It’s wireless and biofueled.” As part of the Virginia Tech Department of English Visiting Writer Series, Barry gave a presentation at the Moss Arts Center on, as she described it,...
Laptop Orchestra
What if a conductor didn’t have to rely on musicians playing bassoons and violas and timpani? What if the conductor’s very motions—the finger taps and arm flourishes—were what created the symphonic sounds? That question drives my students’ and my own passion for discovery with our unusual ensemble,...
OPERAcraft dress rehearsal
Opera, as a highly complex artform, can teach skills in many areas beyond vocal virtuosity and musical composition: storytelling, character development, scene construction, choreography, stagecraft. Several years ago, I wanted to use the multifaceted nature of opera to create the kind of intensive a...
Bobbie Allen
How should Bobbie Allen’s music be characterized? Stumped, she turns to Wikipedia. “It says here I’m an indie-pop alternative artist,” she says, laughing. “I guess that’s about right.” Allen’s hesitation to define her music may stem from the circuitous path she took to becoming a recording artist...

Storytelling in Motion

For event producer Liz Hart, no challenge is too daunting and no detail too insignificant. Help erect a temporary theme park to entertain 14,000? No problem. Cue an Olympian to light a torch in a packed arena? Got it. In a relatively short time, Hart, who earned her communication degree from Virgin...
Murmuration of starlings
How would science have unfolded differently across the centuries if Galileo had been an ecologist rather than an astronomer? Some researchers believe today’s scientific disciplines would have evolved just as they have; others suspect we might have developed a markedly different view of the world. ...

The Art of Immersive Theatre

Kelly Ryner
A 16th-century Chinese kingdom ruled by a mischievous monkey. An Inca-cursed, fire-breathing temple harboring a legendary treasure. The hidden chambers of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. These are just a few of the imaginative worlds that Kelly Ryner has helped animate for audiences worl...