Visionbox Vail preps for summer acting intensives with private cocktail party
On Saturday in a private home in East Vail, a group of theater enthusiasts and visionaries came together to learn more about Visionbox Vail Summer Theatre Institute 2020 from none other than co-artistic directors Bill Pullman and Jennifer McCray Rincon.
The mission of Visionbox Vail is to provide theater training and contemporary production development in residence at Vail Mountain School for high school and college-age students. Visionbox Studio’s hopes to help raise the overall level of performing arts in Colorado by providing student and professional actors with training rooted in graduate-level curriculum, taught by theater professionals. Visionbox collaborates with writers, directors and designers in the development of new, multimedia performance work as a nonprofit Rincon founded in 2010. After a trial initial run this summer, Rincon is excited to bring more summer intensives to Vail.
“All throughout theater history, summer theater companies have been a really unique thing … something happens to artists and students that doesn’t happen during the school year. People are freer and more open. There is a kind of exploration and relaxation out of which comes a whole lot of other kinds of energy. I have seen some of the best work of my life in summer theater,” Rincon said.
The idea is to invite artists to retreat and teach here in Vail and to experience something extraordinary.
“There is a big history of apprenticeship that happens in the summer. We are starting an apprentice program where young people can work with people like Bill Pullman and other theater artists. The classes will be taught by people that are working in the theater and film industry,” Rincon said.
There is a strong draw for instructors and professionals to come to the Vail Valley and enjoy a world-class destination.
“When we get on the phone and call friends and people we know and ask, ‘would you come to Vail?’ they say, ‘sign me up.’ We have an incredible faculty coming together from all over,” Rincon said.
Actor Bill Pullman took the floor and dazzled the crowd with his mesmerizing style of storytelling, from tales of being a rancher in Montana to comparing Vail to Shakespeare’s Arcadia and conjuring up visions of the artistry of Western painter and sculptor Charlie Russell. Written and performed by Pullman, “Seeking Charlie Russell” is a new solo piece. In this unique multimedia production, Pullman explores the life and times of Russell, as well as his own relationship to Russell’s art and time in history. He also asks important questions about the role of an artist in today’s society and the challenges we face in the age of technology, global crisis and disconnection.
Pullman wants to “join the national conversation about what it is that we can do to prepare our young hope and give them resiliency.” Pullman complemented Vail Mountain School theater director Tony Bender for his commitment to Visionbox Vail Summer Theatre Institute and his willingness to collaborate with other professionals and help students build connection and resiliency.
“I think that the urgency of doing this is exciting to me, we sense that Vail is the place … to give students a safe place to find their provisional egos … and find that way to say something deeply personal,” Pullman said.
There will be two training intensives for students: “Contemporary Production Intensive,” July 13-24, and “Acting Intensive,” July 27 to Aug. 24. Performances of “Seeking Charlie Russell” are scheduled for at 7 p.m. July 21 and 22 in the Peter Abuisi Theatre at Vail Mountain School.
To learn more about Visionbox Vail Summer Theatre Institute 2020 leadership, programming, faculty and ways to support, please visit http://www.visionbox.org.
Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.