Jess Prichard

By Shelby K. Grimes
College of Fine Arts and Communication Media Office

Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre (AST), in conjunction with the University of Central Arkansas, will host actor and writer Jess Prichard as an artist-in-residence from Thursday, Jan. 30, to Sunday, Feb. 9, on the UCA campus.

Prichard is an American actor and educator who has worked with regional theatres throughout the United States. In addition to acting, Prichard has directed at Lehman College, where he received multiple nominations from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

As an acting coach, Prichard has assisted in the admission of students into programs with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Conservatory of Theatre Art at Webster University and London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

During his residency at UCA, Prichard will work on developing his play “Speak Daggers,” with the help of UCA students. “Speak Daggers” is a coming-of-age story that is based on real-life events. Throughout the story, Prichard weaves everyday speech with Shakespeare verse.

“This is a very unique opportunity for our UCA theatre students,” said Rebekah Scallet, producing artistic director at AST. “It’s excellent preparation for projects beyond UCA, where this style of workshop production is more common.”

Prichard will serve as the emcee for AST’s Bard Ball on Saturday, Feb. 1, and will then be in rehearsal for “Speak Daggers” Feb. 3-7, with public performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7 and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. Both performances will be held in the Black Box Theatre in UCA’s Snow Fine Arts Center.

Prichard’s workshop schedule spans three days and begins with a lesson on “using Shakespeare to tell your story” Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. His second workshop, on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 7 to 9 p.m., will cover “mastering the audition monologue.” The final event will be a roundtable discussion on Friday, Feb. 7, from noon to 1 p.m. The workshop will cover “Shakespeare’s relevance in contemporary America,” and participants are urged to bring a lunch and join in the discussion. All workshop sessions will take place at the Snow Fine Arts Center Black Box Theatre.

The artist-in-residence program is funded by UCA’s arts fee and is administered by the College of Fine Arts and Communication. For more information, contact Scallet at rscallet@arkshakes.com.