Fanfare to offer comedy, drama and music

Students with a love for the arts will have plenty of options to choose from during Fanfare. Put on by the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, Fanfare is an annual event for Southeastern during the fall semester. Its purpose is to celebrate the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Each October, the month-long affair consists of a program with over 50 events, such as art exhibits, theatrical productions, concerts, films, workshops, literary readings and lectures. These emerging and established artists, scholars and companies come from all over the world to perform.

“The main thing is value,” said Roy Blackwood, interim director for the Columbia Theatre. “For students, most everything is free. We’re offering them something for no cost, or very modest cost, and they can see performances from out of the area. For a student to miss this opportunity is to waste their education.”

One headline event for Fanfare this year will be a performance in the Columbia Theatre by stand-up comedian Larry Miller on Thursday, Oct. 27.

“He’s hysterical, he’s been all over the country,” said Blackwood.

In addition, the Southeastern theatre program will be staging Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” in the Vonnie Borden Theatre from Oct. 12-15. Acting and directing instructor Chad Winters will direct the show.

“‘All My Sons’ is a great fit for Fanfare because it was written by one of America’s great playwrights, Arthur Miller,” said Winters. “It’s a timeless piece that examines greed and capitalism in the journey to have the ‘American Dream.’ The play is still as important as when it was written in the ‘40s. Older generations know it well and a new audience can enjoy it and learn from it.”

The fourth annual JamFest Indie Film Festival, another main attraction, will be presenting several different screenings on Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29. This project, put together by English instructor Alan Marsh and dance professor Dr. Martie Fellom, is sponsored by the Northshore Regional Endowment for the Arts.

“I like the idea of the independent film maker,” said Marsh. “The independent film maker usually doesn’t have much of a budget, but they also aren’t reigned in by the usual Hollywood formulas.”

Fellom will also direct this year’s production of “The Firebird,” which was written by Marsh. The Southeastern dance program will present this performance in the Vonnie Borden Theatre on Friday, Oct. 21.

“Southeastern Louisiana University has a history of bringing the arts to the community, and I am delighted to be part of this continued tradition with helping to present two events for Fanfare 2011,” said Fellom. “My life is rich because of the arts and I want others to journey with the arts as well.”

Throughout the entire month, other events will be available to attend for students including public readings, film viewings, art openings and concerts.

“I was one of the founders of Fanfare,” said Blackwood. “It’s grown to be a very large and prestigious event of which we are very proud.”

According to Blackwood, the variety of cultural experiences is meant to enlighten the event attendees and to appeal to a myriad of diverse tastes. In its past 25 seasons, a goal of Fanfare has been to give people of all ages the opportunity to experience the arts firsthand and to gain an appreciation for it. Because art programs are becoming more and more limited in schools, another major goal is to expose students to many genres of art and to encourage them to make the arts a part of their lives.

The Student Government Association (SGA) is the exclusive sponsor of Fanfare this year, as they have been for several years.

“That’s a really big deal to us and we really want to thank them,” said Blackwood, who also mentioned gratitude for the continued support of President John L. Crain.

Not every event of Fanfare requires a ticket, but several do, and these tickets can be purchased at the Columbia Theatre Box Office. Students will also be given the benefit of special lower prices, if not free admission. For more information about tickets, call the Box Office at 985-543-4371 or visit the Columbia Theatre.

For a complete schedule of Fanfare events, visit the Columbia Theatre’s Web site at www.columbiatheatre.org/fanfareSchedule.php.