Artist-In-Residence Program offers students and faculty expert collaboration in theatre

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Fairmont State University is hosting Mara Newbery Greer as the artist-in-residence for the 2018-2019 academic year for the Theatre Program in the School of Fine Arts.

The Artist-In-Residence program is designed to enhance the academic and curricular arts programs of the University. It provides the opportunity for faculty development and growth as well as a valuable intellectual and cultural resource for the community. 

Mara is a director/choreographer originally from Louisville, KY. She received her BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan and continued her career in New York City for almost a decade. She’s performed on Broadway, national tours and regional theaters across the country. 

“The Artist-in-Residence program brings in an outside director/choreographer who is currently working in the industry to direct and choreograph a show for the Fairmont State students and community,” she said. “It gives them a chance to work with someone on creating a show as well as master classes in their field of study.” 

While most shows she has directed or choreographed have about a two week rehearsal process, the program allows nearly two months. 

“As a director, this is tremendously exciting. We can really dive into the text and storytelling of these characters,” she said.  "We have time to perfect moments in the show that normally get rushed through.”

Mara noted she had great mentors that helped to shape her into the director and choreographer she is today. 

"I’m excited to pass on and share all of the knowledge and wisdom they gave me to this future group of performers,” she said. "After holding a week of auditions for a show I’m doing later this year, many of the people that I auditioned this week were college students I have worked with over the years that have since moved to New York and are now doing this for a living. I hope that one day, those will be some of the Fairmont State students!"

“I am incredibly honored to fill the position of Artist-in-Residence at Fairmont State. I live in Pittsburgh and I travel a lot doing theatre, so I am thrilled to be working on a project so close to home!” 

As a director and/or choreographer, Mara has worked at Paper Mill Playhouse, Music Theatre Wichita, Sacramento Music Circus, Seattle 5th Avenue, North Shore Music Theatre, Lexington Theatre Company, Fulton Theatre, Gateway Playhouse, and Pittsburgh CLO.  Her work has included Legally Blonde, The Drowsy Chaperone, Guys and Dolls, Thoroughly Modern Millie, A Christmas Story, Shrek, The Music Man, Toxic Avenger, 9 to 5, and Matilda. 

Successful residency programs have been provided in recent years by British musician Emma Peake, stage director Jeffrey Ingman, poet Maggie Anderson, sculptor Wayne Trapp; the late local jazz legend, Johnnie Johnson. Residencies have included mentoring of Fairmont State University students, well-received performances and exhibitions for the college and community and workshops for public school students and teachers.