Theatre professor Julia Listengarten has been appointed the artistic director for Theatre UCF. The artistic director is typically responsible for conceiving, developing and implementing the artistic vision of a theatre company.
Listengarten envisions her role as working with the theatre faculty to reimagine artistic goals of the department and develop a vision for upcoming seasons. Theatre associate professor Bert Scott, as director of production, will facilitate the technical production needs of the season.
“One of the exciting parts of this position for me is the fact that now we’re a School of Performing Arts—so there are theatre and music,” said Listengarten. While Listengarten’s position does not directly impact the music department, she looks forward to bringing the two areas closer together. “I’ve always tried to collaborate with musicians in the productions that I’ve directed, and I see artistic collaboration as a very important part of the merger.”
Collaboration is important to Listengarten, and she not only hopes to work with her fellow faculty members, but also to guide students in learning how to develop interdisciplinary projects.
“When you put students who are theatre and music majors in the same room, they don’t necessarily have a shared vocabulary,” says Listengarten. “I’d like to continue to build collaboration between theatre and music, and also involve other disciplines such as visual arts.”
A goal of Listengarten is to bridge the gap between innovation and tradition. “I value tradition, and I think traditional theatre is important, but at the same time, innovation is what moves us forward,” said Listengarten. “We look at classics in order to learn from them but we also try to bring classical works into our contemporary contexts.”
Listengarten says she is inspired by the works of early 20th century avant-garde artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. “We have a social responsibility as artists,” she said. “I hope because of my background and sensibility I can strengthen global awareness and diversity on campus.”
Listengarten begins her new role in the fall semester, during which she will also be directing Theatre UCF’s production of Cloud 9.