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2010.02.17 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

UNO Television and Department of Theatre to Broadcast Forum Theatre-Live!

Omaha - Forum Theatre-Live!, an hour-long, live call-in program produced by UNO Television and Department of Theatre faculty and students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), will be cablecast Friday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. on The Knowledge Network (TKN) of Greater Omaha, Cox Communications Channel 17.

It is believed to be the first televised forum theatre production in the U.S. The program joins Inside Art as College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media cultural arts programs produced in conjunction with UNO Television now broadcast on TKN.

Forum theatre students will act out different situations according to suggestions phoned in from cable television viewers and offered by members in the live studio audience.

“Forum theatre asks its audiences to view a short scene that represents the struggle of a good person—the protagonist – to get something they want, and that we, the audience, want for them too,” said Doug Paterson, professor of theatre at UNO. “The scene ends with the protagonist having made some bad choices, but still having tried valiantly to realize the desire. Having seen this, the audience is then asked to watch the scene again and literally to ‘stop!’ the scene if anyone would like to make a proposal for something the protagonist could do differently.”

Audience members are asked to replace the protagonist so as to show the proposal. The titles of the two scenes to be presented are: “Wasted on the Young” and “I Do, You Don’t.” Dr. Paterson has directed and will emcee the event. Phone numbers that the audience at home can call will be visible on-screen. A theatre company member, visible to all audiences, will answer the phone and ask the called about his or her idea. An actor from the company will then perform the intervention for the home audience.

Since his arrival in July 2008, Dr. Robert Franklin, director of Media Operations for UNO Television and Classical 90.7 KVNO, has made extending the reach of UNO Television productions a priority. Dr. Franklin is also an assistant professor in the UNO School of Communication. He said UNO Television and the Department of Theatre have been producing great work for a long time. To bring this to the attention of a broader audience meant working to enhance the collaborative relationship between the units.

"I believe TKN broadcasts of Forum Theatre will provide a metropolitan audience a window through which to view some of the Department of Theatre's brightest students working side-by-side with UNO Television professionals," Franklin said.

UNO Television, in the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media (CFAM), provides television production, program distribution and educational services to a diverse group of users on a local, regional and national level. It operates the Omaha Production Center for Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET), one of the country's foremost state networks, and serves and enriches the community through television programming that educates, entertains and informs. UNO Television provides unique educational opportunities to students through training and employment in a professional environment. Professional staff respond to the varying needs of the UNO community and our viewers through distinctive, high quality programs and the innovative application of technology. UNO Television-produced programs are cablecast locally on TKN and broadcast statewide on NET.

The UNO Department of Theatre has designed course work to develop an understanding of the theatre-making process in each of the areas of the art. Keeping this in mind, the production program offers its students broadly varied and representative seasons of plays with opportunities for technical work, design, and acting as fundamental considerations. Above all, we are committed to the students' individual development and their artistic and cultural maturity. Its mission is to ignite in the student, teacher, and community: critical thinking, compassionate feeling, collaborative vision and the capacity to delight.

TKN programming may be viewed on Cox Communications channels 17 and 18 and on Qwest Choice TV channels 25 and 74. Information on broadcasts of all UNO Television programs is available at http://tknomaha.org/program_guides/calendar.html and www.netnebraska.org/television/sched/.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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