Monthly Archives: January 2015

Meet Janet Haley, Associate Professor of Theatre!


Janet Haley at the Flint Farmer’s Market during work on 9x Nourished

Name: Janet Haley
Title: Associate Professor of Theatre
Department: Theatre & Dance

Classes I teach: Directing, Acting 1, Improvisation, Voice and Movement, Dramatic Literature, Senior Seminar; Advisor for Acting and Directing Capstone projects, Coordinator of BFA in Performance degree program.

Activities, Publications or Productions:
• Director/co-creator of place-based, collaboratively created, original productions (public scholarship): 2010’s “Glen-wood” The Glenwood Cemetery Site-specific Theatre Project (Flint); 2014’s “9xNourished” at the Flint Farmers’ Market, with Flint Youth Theatre. Note: This type of civically engaged art making is theatre made with and for community.
• Actor: Michigan Shakespeare Festival, including: Portia in Merchant of Venice, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Gertrude in Hamlet, Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream, Paulina in The Winter’s Tale, Constance in King John, Portia in Julius Caesar.
• Performance Network in Ann Arbor, 2014: Queen Elizabeth in Richard III
• Director: University of Michigan-Flint Department of Theatre, Main season productions of Metamorphoses, The Cherry Orchard, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Women of Lockerbie, Moliere’s The Learned Ladies, The Ash Girl, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, and Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard.
• Director: Flint Youth Theatre, A Year With Frog and Toad, 9xNourished
• Upcoming:
Will perform in Flint Youth Theatre’s production of Diary of Anne Frank in Spring 2015; Will perform with Michigan Shakespeare Festival, summer 2015, in THE RIVALS, HENRY IV Parts 1 and 2, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directing Eurydice at UM-Flint, Jan/Feb 2015.

Research or Specific Areas of Interest:
Twelve years of ongoing training and research in physical approaches to actor training (Suzuki, Viewpoints, Slow Tempo of Shogo Ota). SITI Company, Pacific Performance Project/east, Peter Kyle
Collaborative/ensemble-created performance projects, using interdisciplinary methods, as well as improvisation and collective dialogue.
Site-specific / place-based performance for the purpose of engaging people with places and each other in a community.
Advocate/contributor to the developing alliance between UM-Flint Department of Theatre & Dance and Flint Youth Theatre.

Awards: Faculty Fellow, Arts of Citizenship, UM-Ann Arbor 2010; Boyer Fellow in Public Scholarship, UM-Flint; 2011 Heritage Award, given by Genesee County Historical Society for the Glenwood Cemetery Site-specific Theatre Project; numerous nominations for performance from Michigan professional theatre’s Wilde Awards, including Best Actress in a Comedy (Tartuffe), Best Actor in Shakespeare (The Winter’s Tale). I directed Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard in 2002, and it was invited to perform (and did perform), at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival, Region III’s 2003 Festival in Indiana. This was one of 5 productions picked to perform at the region festival from the 5-state region.

• MFA in Acting, The University of Texas at Austin, 1996.
• BA (double major) in Theatre, English, University of Michigan-Flint 1991.
• Alumna of Cornerstone Theater, Los Angeles, Summer Institute in Community-Engaged Theatre 2010.
• Public Conversations Project training (2011)

Michigan Shakespeare Festival Artistic Associate/Resident Actor; Member of Actors’ Equity Association (the national union for professional actors), member of Theatre Communications Group, member of Imagining America: the consortium for artists and scholars in public life. (IA’s primary focus lies in the recognition that humanities, arts, and design are indispensable to realizing the democratic, public, and civic purposes of American higher education.)

How I fell in love with my field:
I never wanted to be famous. I just wanted to make Theatre that was full of beautiful things, exciting things, fun things, important things, WITH PEOPLE and for people. I grew up in Flint public schools, and was involved in the “Magnet Programs” for the arts and humanities in grades K-12. I was a student at Flint Youth Theatre. I danced for 8 years. I played the piano for 8 years. In school, I was always making things with my peers – plays, concerts, poetry. Indoors and outdoors – nature was very important to me – places in nature and the outdoors. I liked making things that told stories and made us feel and think. At home my father and mother liked to have conversations with us; talking about our world, the news, our dreams, our thoughts and feelings about our experiences. My grandmother was a great storyteller, and all my elders were patrons of the arts. Conversation, learning for learning sake, the arts, places, and making and sharing things with people were primary values in my growing up years…and still are today. My senior year of high school at Flint Central, my drama teacher insisted I audition for a theatre scholarship at UM-Flint…I was planning on going into nursing; I never thought I could actually make a living making theatre. I was awarded a 4-year scholarship in Theatre…and my life’s course was changed. Carolyn Gillespie, UM-Flint Professor Emerita of Theatre, was my Theatre professor at UM-Flint, and my mentor. I wanted to make powerful experiences in Theatre with students and for our Flint community. As I proceeded to my MFA professional actor training at UT-Austin, and had a career as an employed actor in Theatre, I had it in my heart I wanted to return to UM-Flint, to make Theatre with and for Flint.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint:
I hope to continue to work in the realm of engaging the arts and humanities programs of UM-Flint with the community beyond the campus boundaries. I hope to work toward developing civically engaged courses, deepening civically engaged curriculum elements that are inclusive of physical places within reach of our campus landscape, as well as students and community members from a multiple disciplines and perspectives. Celebrating diversity is a primary value in my creative activity endeavors – engaging diverse perspectives, experiences, backgrounds, ages, genders, cultures, etc., in making Theatre experiences with and for the communities UM-Flint serves.

What I hope for students in my field:
I hope the students I work with hold on to the values of collaboration, willingness, positivity, and imagination by doing and sharing with others. I hope their experiences with the wide variety of narratives that Theatre provides inspires them to live their lives mindfully, empathically, creatively, and with kindness to others. I hope that students gain from the process of making live performance can ignite their wellness and capacity for communication and compassion; it can deepen their value of real time exchanges; it can cultivate a value and need for 3-D experiences in physical places (on stage and in their communities), balancing the pull of the solitary “digital life” of the internet, social media, and “the screens on our laps and in our hands.” I hope live performance experiences help people feel well, empowered, and connected to the pulse in their lives in the 3-D world.

Three things you should know about me:
• I am ignited by finding the opportunities in the obstacles.
• I believe that finding solutions and choices together is far superior to the plan in any one person’s head.
• I embrace the creatively constructive potential in the chaos of YES.

See Ms. Haley’s work at the upcoming production of Eurydice opening January 30th at the UM-Flint Theatre! Visit the Theatre & Dance website for more info!


AFRICA WEEK: February 1-7, 2015

AfricaWeek_CalendarOfEvents_2015As part of African American History & Heritage Month, the department of Africana Studies at UM-Flint, along with the Office of Educational Opportunity Initiatives and with generous support from the College of Arts & Sciences, presents AFRICA WEEK.

From February 1st through 7th, there will be a series of celebrations and activities which explore the vibrant ties that exist between Africa and its Diaspora. By showcasing artists, experts, and works from across the city, state, country, and world, they hope to give individuals from the campus and community an opportunity to come together and share in the learning of culture, history, and experience. All of the events are free and open to the public.

Following are details on each of the AFRICA WEEK events:

Sunday, February 1st:
Unity March: leaving from the UM-Flint Theatre at 11am, join students, faculty, staff, and community members as they walk to Hand of God Ministries for their AFRICA WEEK service.
Special Service & Kick Off Event: Hand of God Ministries, 1600 S. Saginaw Street, Flint, will hold a special service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement. The service starts at noon.

Monday, February 2nd:
Presentation, Conversation & Lunch: Professor Nwando Achebe of MSU’s Department of History will present “Women’s History in the African Tradition.” Dr. Achebe’s research involves the use of oral history in the study of women, gender, and sexuality in Nigeria. Lunch will be provided. Held in the Northbank Center’s Grand Ballroom, noon-2pm. Please RSVP.

Tuesday, February 3rd:
Nollywood Night: Join us for a film and refreshments! The film shown will be from Nigeria’s Nollywood genre as part of African cultural awareness. Held in the UCEN’s Michigan Rooms A & B, 6-8pm.

Wednesday, February 4th: 
Evolution of African Dance: A program that traces the patterns and forms of African dance and its connections to the Diaspora. Lunch will be provided. Held in the Northbank Center’s Grand Ballroom, noon-2pm.

Thursday, February 5th:
Film Screening & Discussion: Join us for a film screening that focuses on the African American and Diasporan experience. The award winning film Fruitvale Station will be shown. This movie is based on events leading to the death of Oscar Grant, a young man who was killed by BART police at the Fruitvale Bay Area Rapid Transit Station in Oakland, California. A panel discussion with campus and community experts will follow. Refreshments provided. Held in the UCEN KIVA, 12:30-2:30pm.

Friday, February 6th:
The Marie Plays, Part 1: When Marie Took the Power. An original play written by UM-Flint CAS faculty member Carolyn Nur Wistrand, this play tells the story of a young free woman of color, Marie Catherine, as she discovers how to awake spiritual and emotional power within herself using African cultural practices in antebellum New Orleans. The show is produced in conjunction with Players by the Sea, Savannah State University’s Theatre Department. More information can be found on the production website. This free performance will take place in the UCEN KIVA at 7:30pm.
High School Poetry Contest: Writing on the theme of “What Africa Means to Me,”students are invited to submit original works of poetry for cash prizes. Students must be enrolled in a public or alternative high school, grades 9-12; all poems must be at least 20 lines. The deadline for submissions is January 30th. Poems should be emailed as a PDF or Word document to Please email for full submission guidelines. The poems will be performed as part of AFRICA WEEK on Friday evening.

Saturday, February 7th:
Fashion Fare & African Drum/Dance: A presentation of African and African American cultural diversity through fashion, dance, and spoken word, including Kuungana African drum and dance. Held in the UCEN Michigan Rooms C & D, noon-4pm.

For more information on each of these events, or AFRICA WEEK as a whole, please visit or call 810.762.3353.

UM-Flint Theatre Major Headed to NYC


UM-Flint Theatre Major Michaela Nogaj

At this year’s 47th annual Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, hundreds of students from across the great lakes region gathered to celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs. During the festival, participating students also compete for scholarships and audition/interview for professional theatre companies and/or training programs. This year, UM-Flint Theatre major Michaela Nogaj (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance) auditioned for one of New York City’s most Broadway-integrated actor training programs in attendance at KC/ACTF, The Open Jar Institute.

We are pleased to announce that Michaela has received an invite to study with them this August! As a student in this program, Michaela will travel to New York City and train in concentrated master classes with some of Broadway’s elite for one week. In addition, she will see a Broadway production every night, take backstage tours, and interact with cast members, all in preparation for her goal to one day work on Broadway.  Michaela noted, “I’m overwhelmed with joy. I burst into tears–as any person would who dreams of being on Broadway.”

William Irwin, Chair of Theatre & Dance stated, “This is a great opportunity for Michaela to explore the craft and industry of theatre in NYC. We’re all incredibly excited for her and very proud. This experience will no doubt reinforce and evolve her training at UM-Flint while also putting her closer towards achieving her goals of working professionally on Broadway.”

Congratulations, Michaela! 

UM-Flint Theatre Presents “Eurydice” – Opens January 30th; Runs Through February 8th

PosterEurydice, written by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Janet Haley

When: January 30, 31, February 1, 6, 7, 8, 2015.
Friday and Saturday performances start at 7:30pm; Sunday matinees at 2:00pm.

Where: UM-Flint Theatre, 303 E. Kearsley St., Flint, 48502

Tickets: $10; $8 for students, seniors, alumni, faculty, staff, veterans. Box Office: 810-237-6520 or purchase tickets online.

Synopsis: Based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice” explores the myth in a new light, focusing on Eurydice’s perspective. Eurydice dies, shortly after her wedding to her lover Orpheus. Eurydice enters the Underworld, and is greeted by her father, who she doesn’t recognize because her memory of earthly life is gone. With devoted and loving conversations, her father is able to revive her memory. Meanwhile, Orpheus devises a way to see her in the Underworld…and Eurydice realizes she has a difficult decision to make regarding her life’s next step. The New York Times describes the play as “an inexpressibly moving theatrical fable about love, loss, and the pleasures and pains of memory.”


Eurydice, played by Christine Michaela-Kay Nogaj and Orpheus, played by Joshua Cornea


Eurydice: Christine Michaela-Kay Nogaj (Flint, MI)

Orpheus: Joshua Cornea (Ortonville, MI)

Father: Connor Klee (Clio, MI)

Interesting Man: George Marzonie (Flushing, MI)

Loud Stone: Madaline Harkema (Owosso, MI)

Big Stones: RuSharra Euwing, Alexis Harvey (Flint, MI)

Little Stones: Dominique Hinde (Flint, MI), Shekinah Tapplin (Clio, MI)

Photo by: Shelby Newport

For more information on the UM-Flint Theatre & Dance Department, including their other upcoming productions, visit their website.

Meet Tim Kranz – Artist and Lecturer II at the University of Michigan-Flint!

Kranz_Spotlight_blogTim Kranz Art Dept.Name: Tim Kranz
Title: Lecturer II
Department: Visual Arts and Communication

Classes I teach: Currently, I am teaching Drawing I-Art 131-02, Two-dimensional design-Art 141, Painting-Art 263, Painting or Drawing Processes and Properties-Art 364, Water-based Painting-Art 307, and Oil Painting-Art 309. I have also taught various other drawing and painting courses as well as a general art course (Art 100).

Professional Interests, Activities, Publications or Exhibitions:
Artist Member of Buckham Gallery, Flint, MI. I am also a former member of Buckham’s Board of Directors. I am beginning to show my work frequently again after a couple of years off. Most of my exhibitions have been in Michigan, one in Chicago. I would like to start showing more regionally and nationally.

You can view Tim’s artwork online at

Research or Specific Areas of Interest:
Human psychology, particularly anthropomorphism. I am also interested in how people view artwork; what they take from it, what it takes to make them slow down and appreciate it, etc.

No recent, significant awards. Several Golden Apples and voted as one of the Flint area’s favorite artists by My City Magazine.

B.F.A – The University of Michigan-Flint 2001.
M.F.A. – Kendall College of Art and Design 2010.

Artist Member of Buckham Gallery, Flint, MI. I am also a former member of Buckham’s Board of Directors.

How I fell in love with my field:
I took painting as an Art Education elective here at UM-Flint with Mike Sevick in 1998. Everything about it has appealed to me since; the history, craft, approaches, pushing myself, different ways of conveying messages, etc.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint:
To reach as many students as possible and inspire them while continually being inspired by them as well.

What I hope for students in my field:
I want them to learn that hard work, dedication, and perseverance can allow them to be successful in any field. I also want them to feel like the things I teach them had an impact on their careers, lives, and ways of seeing the world.

Three things you should know about me:
I am a UM-Flint alum, with a minor in Art History. I have a painting studio in Buckham Alley in downtown Flint. My teaching and art making are starting to affect each other.

Tim will be exhibiting his works in a solo exhibition of his past, present, and future works at the UCEN Fine Art Gallery at UM-Flint. The exhibit opens on Friday, January 9th from 5pm-8pm and will remain open weekdays until January 23rd. For more information, email

UM-Flint Theatre & Dance Dept. Attends Region III KCACTF


UM-Flint Theatre & Dance Dept. students attend the KCACTF in Milwaukee, WI

The week of January 6th-10th marks the Kennedy Center’s 47th Annual Region III American College Theatre Festival.

According to their website:

“Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.

Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another’s work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists. The KCACTF honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing, and design.”

UM-Flint’s Department of Theatre & Dance is well represented as their students and faculty join others from colleges across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. This year’s festival is being held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Following is a list of our accomplished department members attending the festival:

• Elisa Taylor – competing for the National Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship (students are nominated for this based on their performances in main stage roles at UMF)
• Zachary Kentala
• Jessica Wilkowski – presenting regional design work (scenic design)
• Jordan Kinney
• Shelby Coleman
• Britton Paige
• Ashley Kok – presenting regional design work and prop construction for God of Carnage
• Kaitlyn Pitcher – presenting regional design work and stage management for She Loves Me 
• Michelle Hathaway – presenting regional design work and realized makeup and hair design for She Loves Me
• Amanda Velasquez
• Kendra Babcock – presenting regional design work
• Paul Docter
• Matt Coggins – competing for the National Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship (students are nominated for this based on their performances in main stage roles at UMF)
• Connor Klee
• Danielle Verkennes – presenting stage management work for Ash Girl 
• Tyler Rankin – presenting regional design work
• Allison Kimber – competing for the National Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship (students are nominated for this based on their performances in main stage roles at UMF)
• Dominique Hinde
• Deanna Satkowiak – presenting regional design work
• Farrell Tatum – competing for the National Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship (students are nominated for this based on their performances in main stage roles at UMF)
• Alexis Harvey – modeling Ash Girl costume in Costume Parade
• Michaela Nogaj
• Shekinah Tapplin
• Justin Brown
• Seth Hart
• Kyle Clark – 1 Act play selected for presentation, In the Bloom of the Buried
• Lydia Parker – presenting regional design work
• Aaron Snider – presenting regional design work

• Stephanie Dean – presenting a session
• Bill Irwin – responding to regional student design work, judging Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition
• Lisa Borton – co-presenting a session titled “Searching for Summer Work in Theatre”
• Andrew Morton – Region III Vice Chair: New Play Program
• Adam M. Dill – responding to regional design work
• Shelby Newport – co- presenting a session titled “Searching for Summer Work in Theatre”
• Nicole Broughton – coordinator of Stage Management Fellowship

Regional Costume Parade– Costumes from Ash Girl (designed by Shelby Newport) are being presented in the Regional Costume Parade, students will model them. The costumes are one of 10 sets of costumes being presented and were chosen from over 100 entries.


Travel to the Region III KCACTF is one example of the ways in which our Department of Theatre & Dance students are able to take their learning and projects from the local stage to a national venue. In additional to gaining recognition for their hard work, they have the chance to earn scholarships and create important network connections that will be beneficial to their careers after graduation.

For more information on the department, visit their website. For updates and photos from the festival, follow the Theatre & Dance Department’s Facebook page.

1/8/15 – Updates from KCACTF in Milwaukee!

Two students were passed on to the Irene Ryan Semi Finals Round: Elisa Taylor with her partner Paul Docter and Allison Annadelle Kimber with her partner Britton Paige.

E Taylor

Elisa Taylor, one of two students from UM-Flint who were passed on to the Irene Ryan Semi Finals Round at the KCACTF in Milwaukee, WI.

Annadelle Kimber

Allison Annadelle Kimber, one of two students from UM-Flint passed on to the Irene Ryan Semi Finals Round at the KCACTF.

Three design students were passed on to the Final Round of Unrealized Design Projects: Aaron Snider (costumes), Kaitlyn Pitcher (costumes) and Jessica Wilkowski (scenic) 

Jessica W

Jessica Wilkowski pictured presenting her scenic design project.

Congratulations all! Keep up the good work with more presentations today and tomorrow for Props and Makeup Design, Stage Management, 1 Act Play readings and so much more!


All UM-Flint Students Invited to Join Online Course “Understanding and Improving the U.S. Healthcare System”


From: Michelle Ehlers, MSW
University of Michigan Health System Course Administrator

Imagine a learning experience that could bring together students from ALL 3 CAMPUSES of the University of Michigan, about a topic relevant to all of them in their lives…

Just such an opportunity for undergraduate, graduate and professional students at the Flint, Dearborn, and Ann Arbor campuses is coming in January-February 2015!  UM students have a UM-only opportunity to participate in the University’s first all-campus, massive open online course (MOOC) on the U.S. healthcare system.  This non-credit bearing “course” will require considerable commitment, but the pay-off from participating in this unique three-campus learning community is equally large.

The program will be led by Matthew Davis, MD, MAPP, professor of pediatrics and internal medicine/public policy/health management & policy at UM Medical School, School of Public Policy, and School of Public Health.  Dr. Davis also serves as Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan.

For this MOOC entitled “Understanding and Improving the U.S. Healthcare System,” ALL UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN STUDENTS ARE WELCOME.  It will bring principles and challenges of the U.S. healthcare system to learners in an accessible way, and will encourage them to examine their own assumptions and experiences as they learn-through-innovation.

The program launches on January 12 and lasts for 6 weeks.  It is designed for full-time students to be CO-CURRICULAR, to take ALONG WITH their UM course load.  The MOOC format allows for asynchronous learning, so that students can view the content and participate in online discussions at times convenient to them.  There’s no cost to participate.  And for students who participate, a Statement of Accomplishment will be available.

As a unique feature of this learning opportunity, students will participate in small-group discussions regarding the design of health plans during Week 5.  The group discussions will be held on campus at a variety of times to be convenient to students, and will be facilitated by faculty from the UM Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.  The Institute is sponsoring this learning experience along with the Provost’s Office for Digital Education and Innovation.

Please visit for more information, and share this information with any UM students you think may be interested.