24th annual Telluride Academy's Mudd Butts: "1001 Arabian Nights"

24th annual Telluride Academy's Mudd Butts: "1001 Arabian Nights"

[click “Play” for an interview with several Mudd Butts principals]

Mudd Butt Poster 2010 The Telluride Academy’s Mudd Butts is a four-week theater intensive covering all aspects of what it takes to make a play happen. Through the Mudd Butts, kids aged 10 – 14 get to explore theater games, script and songwriting, improvisation, dance, voice, even marketing. But that’s only what’s described in the Academy’s brochure.

Read between the lines and it becomes clear the young people fortunate enough to participate in the Mudd Butts wind up acquiring invaluable and indelible life tools. Kids meet their inner artist while developing confidence and discovering ways to laugh at themselves and navigate the mine field of group dynamics. What the directors are after is broadening kids’ horizons about social, political and environmental issues. Through the Mudd Butts experience, kids travel from a local address on to the world stage. (Literally at times. There is a Mudd Butts International program.)

The heart and soul of the Mudd Butts, its guiding angels, are Sally Davis, a musician, theater director, performer and arts educator and Kim Epifano, an award-winning choreographer, director, performer, vocalists, educator. Sally and Kim have partners in crime, among them prop master/sculptor Mike Stasiuk and co-writer Pamela Zoline. Collectively they are nothing if not topical.

Like Mudd Butts past, the 24th Mudd Butts’ “Arabian NIghts” celebrates art as an effective tool for global awareness and change.

“Arabian Nights” is a collection of stories drawn from a variety of sources: Arabia, Persia, Turkey, India, and China. The foundational tale, that of Scheherazade transforming the Sultan’s evil disposition through her artful story telling, is the oldest written work in the collection, recorded in Persia around 950 A.D. The Mudd Butts version of “1001 Arabian Nights”  is set in the ancient city of Samarkand, now Uzbekistan. Samarkand was established as an Islamic Center in the 10th century. It was located on the chief trade route between Baghdad and China.

“Arabian Nights” is scheduled to take place at The Palm Theatre, Friday, August 13 and Saturday, August 14 @ 7 p.m. The Sunday program, a matinee @ 2 p.m., is followed by an auction of Stasiuk’s incredible props.

To learn more about the Mudd Butts and “1001 Arabian Nights,” click the “play” button and listen an interview with Sally, Kim, Mike, and Victoria Groner, who plays Scheherazade.

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