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DPAC faculty aim to inspire

Marisa Iati | Friday, September 9, 2011

This year, faculty at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center chose a schedule of events aimed at not only enhancing student’s education outside the classroom, but also inspiring audience members to develop a different view on life.

“The majority of things we’re presenting are things that are designed to educate, inform, enlighten and inspire people to think about the world in a new perspective,” Senior Associate Director Ted Barron said. “And that’s always the best feedback that I get.”

Barron said DPAC works in conjunction with campus offices and faculty to provide music, theater, dance and cinematography that reflect the University’s mission.

“We’ve been doing a lot to make connections with courses, faculty interests, general campus interests so we know that our program isn’t just a program for its own sake but connected to other interests on campus,” Barron said.

Barron said he periodically reviews course listings and considers whether DPAC’s projects might be relevant to any of the classes. If they are relevant, he contacts faculty directly, or faculty contact him.

“I got a call today from the folks at the Medieval Institute because they’re really excited that we’re going to be showing ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ at midnight [the evening of Oct. 1], so we’re trying to figure out a way to work together on that,” he said.

This semester, the Center will also screen several films that relate to the University’s liberal arts courses.

“We have our sci-fi series, which is actually a course that’s taught by [Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Letters] Paulette Curtis and [it] kind of builds [on] things she’s showing in her class,” Barron said. “There’s [also] a history class that’s looking at the actor Daniel Day Lewis because he has all these films that are American historical films.”

The Center also shows films that follow in the faith of the University.

“We do events that have a very obvious Catholic element to them,” Barron said. “We have the ‘Films and Faith’ series that we present every year with FTT [Film, Television and Theatre] and Theology. Those are films that specifically deal with religious issues.”

Barron said the University’s Catholic character also influences which non-religious movies DPAC screens.

“It also extends to thinking about how film can espouse certain values and particularly issues of public service,” he said. “The ‘Screen Peace’ series (organized in conjunction with the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies) is a really good example of that. It’s not specifically about Catholicism, but I think it’s in line with Catholic teaching in terms of providing service to those in need.”

DPAC also hosts the film series “Europe Beyond Borders” with the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the “Worldview” series with the Office of the President.

Barron said DPAC also aims to show premier and Indie films that are not screened at local cinemas.

“We try to do these things that have obvious academic connections, but we try to do fun things as well,” Barron said. “We started our ‘Midnight [Movies]’ series last year. We kicked off with a screening of ‘[The] Rocky Horror Picture Show,’ which was a lot of fun. People threw things. It was a great night.”

Barron said he is happy with the audience participation, and he hopes to find ways to deepen student interest and involvement in the Center’s offerings.

“We’ve been really happy with the level of student interest so far this year,” Barron said. “There seems to be increased awareness and enthusiasm, because it’s not just about getting people to buy tickets to things, but really creating an atmosphere where people want to be here. So the more we can do that, the better for everybody involved.”