The Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival is holding the Katy Morris Memorial Institute for Shakespearean and Renaissance Studies on July 18 and 19 on Southeastern’s campus.
This is a new institute in memory of Katy Morris who was an active board member of OSF since the beginning of the program until her recent deathon Nov. 26, 2011. She also taught English and theatre for many years at multiple schools in Oklahoma.
Mary Kathryn Hodge, President of the OSF Board and long-time friend of Morris, said, “In just two days,participants will attend workshops on fight choreography, Renaissance festivals, music, and much more.”
The Institute was created to provide teachers resources, different approaches and ideas on how to bring Shakespeare and the Renaissance alive in their classrooms. Teachers from districts where students have minimal access to arts and humanities are the targeted audience for this institute.
Hodge said, “This was the kind of school Katy taught at and we want to help these teachers inspire their students.”
Kathleen Hardgrove,Coordinator of the Institute said, “This is an inaugural event that is at its beginning stages, but we have faith that it is going to grow with the coming years.”
This institute was thought of by Mary Kathryn Hodge, Riley Risso Coker and Dell McLain. After the idea was thought of, these three came up with a list of professionals in Shakespeare and Renaissance studies to present the workshops.
These professionals include Paul Crook from Louisiana Tech University presenting three workshops, one of which will help inform students on how to approach tragedy.
Dr. John Mischo from the Department of English, Humanities and Languages from Southeastern Oklahoma State University will be leading one of the sessions,and Dr. Stacy Weger the Director of the SE Chorale will be presenting a workshop about vocal music.
Another presenter is Dr. Teresa Rothrock from East Central University,who will be presenting a workshop on how to put on a Renaissance festival, and Sharla Cowden from the University of Evansville in Indiana will be leading a session about marketing theatre.
Hardgrove said, “All of these presenters are volunteering their time to help with this institute, with no pay at all.”
Riley Risso Coker, Producing Director of OSF said “Katy inspired generations of Oklahoma high school students with her passion for theatre and humanities. She gave the gift of literature, art, music, dance and theatre to students who had no real access to them. She introduced them to a world of imagination and possibilities and made those students appreciate the arts for life.”
The Institute will take place over a two-day period where participants will attend workshops and classes and have meals and hotel provided. Also, they will get tickets to attend OSF’s performance of “Once Upon a Mattress” and “Romeo and Juliet.”
There is a reception at the Magnolia House before the “Once Upon a Mattress” performance and dinner at Roma’s before the “Romeo and Juliet” performance. Also during their stay, the participants will be having lunch at the Hollow Tree which was one of Morris’ favorite places to eat.
Coker said,“We want the participants to get to see Durant while they are in town, and go to local restaurants, venues and sites.”
Currently there are five participants that were selected and received a scholarship for this institute. For anyone else who would like to participate, it is $100 for this two day event.
The workshops for the Institute will be held in the Glenn D. Johnson Student Union, the Tignert Shakespearean Room in the Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library, the Visual and Performing Arts Center, the Playhouse and other locations around the campus of a thousand magnolias.
Hardgrove said, “We want to show off and use multiple venues on our campus.”
The Tignert Shakespearean Room in the Henry G. Bennett Library was donated by Evert Tignert who graduated Southeastern in 1952 with an English degree. This room is dedicated to Shakespearean studies with many antiques and artifacts donated by Tignert.
Hardgrove said, “The participants will get the chance to tour the Tignert Shakespearean Room as well as the entire SE library”.
Hodge said,“We are hoping for this to become an annual event and grow each year”.
“There is already a list of people hoping to receive a scholarship to attend the institute next year, as well as a list of new presenters and new topics,” said Hardgrove.
Coker said, “The Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival would not be where we are today without the vision and passion Katy gave so selflessly. I miss her every day, but know she would be so proud of the institute that has been created in her name”.
“I am grateful to be able to do this in Katy’s memory with sadness and excitement” said Hodge. “Besides her family, OSF was the most important thing in Katy’s life and we are doing this institute to honor Katy.”
Hodge and Morris attended SOSU togetherbut lost touch until they both became members of the OSF Board. “I learned so much about theatre from Katy. She had such a love and passion about the arts,” said Hodge. “This was my first season to buy a ticket without Katy, but I still feel her presence each time I am at a show this season. Just like how Katy used to always say she could feel Molly Risso’s(the founder of OSF) presence with every performance after her death.”
To find out more information about the Katy Morris Institute for Shakespearean and Renaissance Studies, to donate or to register as a participant call 580-745-2696 or visit our website at www.oklahomashakes.com.