The Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment was established by Jane Crowell Rieffel in memory of her parents to recognize their interest in literature and the performing arts. Through this gift, Ms. Rieffel has expressed her personal commitment to UCSB's academic excellence and to the advancement of interdisciplinary scholarship and education. The Crowell Endowment is intended to support the mission and programs of the IHC by providing support for public lectures and conferences. It has made possible a series of highly successful conferences: Acts of Reconstruction: Shakespeare's Globe (May,1997); Acts of Reconstruction: Museums, Theme Parks and City Centers (February, 1998); Authorship (November, 1998); Dresden: Reconstructing a Culture (February, 2000); The Genius of Shakespeare (May, 2000), Narrative at the Outer Limits (May, 2001), Florence: Reconsidered (November, 2001) and A Symposium On Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (May, 2002) and Terry Gross (March, 2003).

Past Events

2014 - 2015

reading: Eden Falls, A LAUNCH PAD reading of a new play

Written by Brian Granger (Lecturer, Theatre, Vanderbilt University)
Directed by Risa Brainin (Theater and Dance, UCSB)
Tuesday, May 26 / 5:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Eden Falls is a darkly comic allegory about two neighboring families, divided by a huge privacy fence and different values, whose lives are brought into sudden conflict with one another when a massive sinkhole opens up in their adjoining yards, swallowing the fence, most of their yards, and expanding throughout the play to engulf nearly the entire fictional town of Eden Heights, Ohio. As their homes become the epicenter for media coverage of this catastrophe, and their neighborhood a  camp for the town’s newly-made refugee citizens, these two families must learn how to share resources, support each other, and rise together, or fall into a dark and sinking future.

Ishmael Harris: BRIAN GRANGER
Treneisha Martinez-Harris: STEPHANIE BATISTE
Takoda Harris: CHARLES GRANT
Bob Brockley, CEO: JEFF MILLS
Monica Hardy, Reporter (and other roles): KELLI COLEMAN
Various Townsfolk: DILLON FRANCIS

Dr. Brian Granger (UCSB Department of Theater and Dance ’14) is a playwright-performer and musical theater scholar currently teaching in the Department of Theatre at Vanderbilt University. His research interests include North American playwriting and Africana musicals on Broadway. His ecological awareness has grown in recent years through past work as a “wilderness” trip leader for the Besant Hill School of Happy Valley in Ojai, California, and as a former member of the Santa Barbara Student Housing Co-Op. In his dramatic writing, he remains interested in how we treat one another across lines of race, gender, and class. His works for the stage include Dierdre: an a cappella rock opera; Medicine Show (with composer Robert Nafarrete), a musical satire of American racial stereotypes that premiered at Dixon Place in New York City as part of their Not For Broadway: Festival of New Musicals; Baby Wolf (with composer Christian Imboden), an urban re-telling of the epic of Beowulf; Rebel Moon, which was staged here at UCSB as part of the New Plays Festival; an in-progress trilogy of plays exploring the relationship in American/European culture between homosexuality and the Christian Church, of which two parts have been completed (Army of Lovers – part 1, and God Loves Gays – part 3); and most recently, Eden Falls. A scene from Rebel Moon appears in print in Duo: the Best Scenes for Two for the 21st Century (Applause Books, 2009).

Risa Brainin is a freelance director, Chair and Director of Performance of the Department of Theater and Dance at University of California, Santa Barbara. Through her program LAUNCH PAD at UCSB, she has developed and directed nine plays with the playwright in residence: Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play, John Walch’s The Dinosaur Within, Barbara Lebow’s Plumfield, Iraq and La Niñera: The Nursemaid, Sheri Wilner’s Kingdom City, Biederman’s Match (based on Max Frisch’s Biederman and the Firebugs) by Beau Willimon, music by Michelle DiBucci, lyrics by Portia Kamons, Entangled by Lila Rose Kaplan, Untitled IV by Ruth Markofsky by Alison Tatlock, and Appoggiatura by James Still which was workshopped at the Perry Mansfield New Works Festival last June, featured in the Denver Center Theatre’s Colorado New Play Summit in February and is premiering at DCT in January, 2015.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Anthropocene: Views from the Humanities, the IHC’s Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment and the Department of Theater and Dance’s LAUNCH PAD series.


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2013 - 2014

Reading: Stand By (Meditations on Africa and the Afterlife)

A LAUNCH PAD reading of a new play
Written by Christina McMahon (Theater and Dance, UCSB)
Directed by Risa Brainin (Theater and Dance, UCSB)
Thursday, May 22, 2014 / 5:00 – 7:30 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

A closet. A cry for help. Body broken, mind broken, a young woman fights herself as she struggles to finish writing her book. Across an ocean, an older man spirals into darkness and dances with death. What connects them is Africa, a memory, an imagination, a dream devastated. Together they breathe deeply, and search for the truth in the trauma.

Sponsored by the Department of Theater and Dance’s LAUNCH PAD program, the IHC’s African Studies RFG, the IHC’s Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment, and the IHC’s The Value of Care series.

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2012 - 2013

Performance: Theater of War

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 / 7:00 PM
Marjorie Luke Theatre, Santa Barbara Junior High School
Thursday, January 31, 2013 / 4:00 PM
Hatlen Theater, UCSB

Theater of War is an innovative project that presents professional actors reading scenes from ancient Greek drama about soldiers returning from war. Following the reading, a panel of veterans and community members will offer their personal responses to the play in order to initiate an audience discussion about the psychological, physical, emotional and social challenges facing veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Note:  the Theater of War cast will include Evan Parke (Django Unchained, King Kong), in lieu of Keith David.

This event is supported in part by The Marjorie Luke Theatre’s Dreier Family Rent Subsidy Fund.

Sponsored by the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life, the Department of Theater and Dance, the IHC’s Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment, and the IHC series Fallout: In the Aftermath of War.

Presented by Outside the Wire: http://www.outsidethewirellc.com
33 Flatbush Avenue, 5th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: 718-624-0350
Fax: 718-624-0354
Email: info@outsidethewirellc.com


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2011 - 2012

SYMPOSIUM: Renaissance Publics, Material Goods

Patricia Fumerton (English, UCSB)
Ann Rosalind Jones (Comparative Literature, Smith College)
Julia Reinhard Lupton (English, UC Irvine)
Peter Stallybrass (English, University of Pennsylvania)
Friday, May 4, 2012 / 1:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

This symposium will contribute to the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s “Public Goods” theme by looking at the dynamic interplay of material goods and emergent publics in Renaissance Europe.  Our four speakers will address the role played by furniture and affordances, costumes and conduct manuals, trinkets and ballad sheets, and the gathering and circulation of news in the creation and constitution of publics in the early modern period.

1:00: Panel 1
Peter Stallybrass:  “Gathering and Circulating News”
Patricia Fumerton:  “The Pack of Autolycus”

3:00: Panel 2
Ann Rosalind Jones: “The Emperor’s Clothes: Costume Books as Conduct Manuals, 1560-1600”
Julia Reinhard Lupton: “Furnitura: Reading Shakespearean Affordances”

5:00 Reception

Sponsored by the IHC’s Hester and Cedric Crowell endowment as part of its Public Goods Series, the Early Modern Center, Renaissance Studies, and the IHC’s History of Books and Material Texts RFG.

Click here to listen to a recording of this symposium from the IHC series Public Goods.

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2010 - 2011

Talk: Campfire Talk: The Los Angeles Urban Rangers Enact the Megalopolis!

LA Urban Rangers (Art Collective, Los Angeles)
Thursday, April 28, 2011 / 4:00 PM

McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Join Ranger Jenny of the LA Urban Rangers for a campfire program about their past and current projects. An interdisciplinary art collective, the Rangers explore the complex human and natural workings of their home megalopolis, through projects that have included a field guide to the L.A. County Fair, a guided hike on Hollywood Boulevard, their Downtown L.A. Trail System, and their Malibu Public Beaches safaris, which imparted the advanced skills required to find and use a Malibu beach.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment, the IHC’s Geographies of Place series and the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA).

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2009 - 2010

Talk: Black Sea Files: A Territorial Research and Art Project on the Caspian Oil Geography

Ursula Biemann
Tuesday, March 2, 2010 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

The artist speaks about her video essay investigating the transformations activated by a new transnational infrastructure, the BTC oil pipeline, which pumps the Caspian Crude from Baku passing through the Caucasus and Turkey. The pipeline is a geo-strategic project of some political impact, not only for the powerful players in the region, but also for a great number of locals: farmers, oil workers, migrants, and prostitutes.

Sponsored by the Department of Film & Media Studies, IHC’s Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment, IHC’s Oil + Water Series, and the Community Environmental Council.

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2008 - 2009

NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters

CANCELLED: NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters
This event is cancelled due to the Jesusita Fire

Peabody Award-winning radio producers The Kitchen Sisters come the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center to present an afternoon of radio, readings and some fine Hidden Kitchen cooking. Hidden Kitchens, heard on NPR’s Morning Edition, explores secret, unexpected, below-the-radar cooking across America.  The Kitchen Sisters show how communities come together through food: midnight cabyard kitchens, prison rodeo kitchens, a secret civil rights kitchen, food traditions and rituals from across the country. The series inspired two books, Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes and More from NPR’s Kitchen Sisters and Hidden Kitchens Texas. Please join The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, to hear some radio stories–and the stories behind them–and tell some of your own.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment as part of the IHC’s Food Matters series.

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2007 - 2008

Talk: A Little Night Conversation

Stephen Sondheim & Frank Rich
Saturday, March 8 / 4:00 PM
The Granada
General public $48.00 – $68.00 / UCSB Students $22.00

Legendary theatrical composer Stephen Sondheim will appear in an on-stage interview with author and New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Rich. Together they will engage in a rare conversation about Sondheim’s epic career.
Sponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures, Rubicon Theater, PCPA Theaterfest and the IHC’s Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment.

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SCREENING & TALK: Il Postino: The World of Antonio Skármeta

Antonio Skármeta
Monday, March 3 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020

The acclaimed Chilean writer Antonio Skarmeta whose novel Burning Patience was made into the award-winning film Il Postino, based on an episode in the life of the famous poet Pablo Neruda, will show a film and speak about his life and work including his latest novel.

Sponsored by the Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, Spanish & Portuguese, College of Creative Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Latin American and Iberian Studies.

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2004 - 2005

Panel: On the Verge: how new plays and playwrights emerge in the American Theatre

John Walch, Pier Carlo Talenti, and Risa Brainin
Friday, May 25 / 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Hatlen Theatre

Preceding the West Coast Premiere of The Dinosaur Within presented by Dramatic Art, UCSB at 8:00 PM, join a panel discussion with John Walch (Playwright of The Dinosaur Within), Pier Carlo Talenti (Literary Manager at the Center Theatre Group) and Risa Brainin (Director of The Dinosaur Within / Assistant Professor of Dramatic Art, UCSB). Tickets for the performance are available from Arts & Lectures, (805) 893-3535

The Dinosaur Within plays, MAY 26th-27th @ 8:00 PM, JUNE 1st-3rd @ 8:00 PM, & JUNE 3rd 2:00PM

Box Office 805-893-3535
$17.00 General & $13.00 Student/Senior/UCSB Staff

This program is sponsored by the Hester and Cedric Crowell endowment, a program of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at UCSB.

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