Reclaiming Play: Nontraditional Voices and Space in Theater

October 11, 2017 | Betty Proctor | Internal Press Release


The Humanities and Fine Arts Division of Chattanooga State Community College will host the second lecture of its 4th annual Chautauqua Lecture Series on Thursday, October 19.

Named after the lake in upstate New York where the first of its kind was held in 1874, a Chautauqua brings members of the community together to enjoy inspirational performances and lectures. The gatherings aimed to bring communities together in an environment of cultural enrichment and questioning. The Humanities and Fine Arts Division invites you to join in this tradition with its slate of presentations and performances for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Chattanooga State’s Chautauqua Series will feature the informative and unique research of five ChattState Humanities & Fine Arts faculty as well as the series finale with Writers@Work 2018 visiting author George Singleton and his special guest Clyde Edgerton. The first of these lectures, a talk on Jane Austen’s Regency England, was held in September and attracted a large crowd of interested participants.

The next Chautauqua lecture will take place on October 19 at 4 p.m. Theater Professor Evans Jarnefeldt will present “Reclaiming Play: Nontraditional Voices and Space in Theater,” an exploration of unconventional theatrical space and some of the 20th century artists, such as Adrienne Kennedy, Ana Margineanu, and Basil Twist, who have redefined the relationship between performer and audience.

Jarnefeldt is no stranger to the Chautauqua concept, having previously participated in the Chautauqua Theatre Company. “After my first year at grad school, I was cast in the Chautauqua Theatre Company (CTC), a summer theatre conservatory at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York. As a graduate Acting student, with an undergraduate degree in English, Chautauqua provided me the opportunity to immerse myself in both scholarly and artistic realms,” said Jarnefeldt.

Jarnefeldt’s experiences at the Chautauqua Institution, which locals refer to as a “Disneyland for nerds,” helped shape his academic and theatrical interests, and where Jarnefeldt was once the student, he is now the teacher. “‘Reclaiming Play: Nontraditional Voices and Space in Theatre’ draws from my experience as artist and nerd. As an artist, I love electric performances that skirt the line between audience entertainment and engagement. As a nerd, I want to understand the historical models that set the stage for our current revolutions in the audience experience,” said Jarnefeldt.

Following Jarnefeldt’s October lecture, three other ChattState faculty will present lectures in their field of study. The final installment in the 2017-2018 Chautauqua Lecture Series will be a special event offered in partnership with the Humanities Department’s Writers@Work program, entitled “Writers@Work: Banter and Banjos.” This special event on April 5 will feature authors George Singleton and Clyde Edgerton as they discuss writing, read from their works, swap stories, and perhaps play some music.

Each Chautauqua lecture lasts approximately 60 minutes and includes a Q&A period. All sessions are offered free of charge to interested members of the Chattanooga community, and each presentation will start at 4 p.m. in the mobile classroom of the Augusta Kolwyck Library on the main campus of Chattanooga State Community College located at 4501 Amnicola Highway. A complete schedule, including dates, times, and additional information on each lecture can be found on Facebook as “Chattanooga State’s Chautauqua Series”, Instagram as “chautauqua_series”, and Twitter as “@ChautauquaSeries.” Contact Associate Professor Keri Lamb for more information at or 423-697-2546.