Arts in the Gap: Appalachian Shakespeare Project

My classes for Fall 2015 are about to start, and I have finished my job as an Arts in the Gap intern. However, my work is not quite done yet. Before the Spring 2015 semester ended, I agreed to ASPLogoparticipate in another project through Arts in the Gap called the Appalachian Shakespeare Project. Before I even moved on to campus for my AitG internship, I was hard at work on this project. I along with two other student interns and two LMU professors adapted Shakespeare’s comedy, As You Like it, to an Appalachian version of the play. In today’s post, I will tell you more about this project.


As I stated before, I was part of a small team that adapted this play. Under the direction of Dr. Natalie Spar and Mark McGinley, we changed the vernacular and setting of this play to fit the Appalachia, specifically East Tennessee. Though it could be tedious at times, it was not as difficult as I initially thought. We kept a lot of the play’s original meter, but changed a few words and phrases so that the audience could better relate to the play. We also set the play during the pioneer era. The first part of the play is based in Knoxville, Tennessee and the rest takes place in the Cumberland Gap. Though we have changed quite a bit of the play, the writers and actors have made it a point to stay as true to Shakespeare’s original plot as much as we possibly can.

Try Outs:

After the interns sent the play to Dr. Spar for the final edit, we had tryouts. All actors, actresses, and musicians were welcomed to come and tryout for the play. The interns decided to try out for the play too, and we all got a part! I was a nervous wreck when I tried out because I had never tried out for a play before. I memorized a short monologue and presented it to the director (Mark McGinley) and everyone else trying out. After I made it through the monologue, I read for a few different parts and got a part as a country girl named Audrey. It is a small part, but I am excited that I am in the play. I have had a great time at all the rehearsals and am confident that I will do well for the performances.

Set and Rehearsals:

The interns and the other actors put a lot of effort into building and painting the set. Many of the set Museum of Appalachiaideas stem from clothing, buildings, and art from the Museum of the Appalachia. I helped more with writing than I did with putting the set together, but I helped when I could. Painting the set has been a heavy load of work, and I am definitely not an artist, but I like the way it has turned out. The rehearsals have also been a lot of work, and they are even harder when you have spent all day painting! But I have always enjoyed myself, and I can tell that we have all come a long way. I am confident that we are all ready for our performances.


The performances are August 13-15 and August 20-22 at 7 P.M. They will take place in the Berkau Park in the Cumberland Gap. This is an outdoor play so make sure to bring a chair! Everyone involved with the play has worked hard, and we have all come such a long way since day one. I have had the privilege to participate in this project and to work with such skilled writers, artists, musicians, and actors/actresses. I am excited to share this play with the public! So if you are in the area, come and see it. Admission is free!

My internship with Arts in the Gap is now over except for the play performances. Starting Monday, I start classes for my final semester at LMU. It is hard to believe that the summer is almost over. It is even harder for me to believe that my student career at LMU is almost over! I think it went by way too quickly, but I am excited to start my final semester as an undergrad student. I can’t wait to share it with you!

If you want to know more about the play or Arts in the Gap leave me a comment, and I will get back with you as soon as I can. Thank you for reading my blog! Remember to like this post and check back every other Wednesday for a new one.


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Arts in the Gap: Writers Workshops

My summer as an Arts in the Gap intern is now officially over. It is so hard to believe that break is almost over! I have had a great summer and am glad to have had the chance to work at LMU over the break. Arts in the Gap is a wonderful program, and I am glad to have participated in promoting the fine arts in this area. These last few weeks, I have participated in a variety of writing workshops that have taught me skills that I can use to improve my own writing. The last two workshops that I will to share with you in this post are the Cumberland Gap Writers Studio and the Appalachian Young Writers Workshop.

Cumberland Gap Writers Studio:

Michael Chitwood

Michael Chitwood

The Writers Studio was fantastic! It was by far one of my favorite workshops I have participated in this summer. In this workshop, the writers spent the days writing and spent the evenings sharing what they had written. I had the privilege to hear a lot of different work and several different voices. I also got the chance to share my   own work in this workshop. There were three faculty writers to give feedback on the readings. These writers  were Aaron Smith, Michael Chitwood, and Darnell Arnoult. I was in Michael Chitwood’s class. I was glad for his feedback and everyone else’s on my stories. My favorite part about these workshops was the relaxed environment we shared our work in. There were writers there at all skill levels so the classes were not stressful or overwhelming.

Appalachian Young Writers Workshop

The Appalachian Young Writers Workshop was another writing workshop that I enjoyed. In this workshop, I had the chance to hear young, talented voices from several high school students. I also had the chance to attend several classes in which I was able to learn from many established writers. I also had another chance to share my own work with other writers. In this writing program, there were many different classes including poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. I participated in non-fiction the most because it is my favorite genre, and I also have a lot of non-fiction pieces I am working on. My favorite part about these classes were the prompts we were given. In the non-fiction class I participated in, we were given prompts from a few different books where we were required to use certain phrases in several free writes. This was useful for me because I was able to use these phrases to model ideas and stories.

Another part of the Appalachian Young Writers Workshop that I enjoyed was the reading by guest author, Robert Gipe, who read from his new book  Trampoline, which is a novel targeted at young adults. I have not finished the book yet, but what I have read so

Trampoline by Robert Gipe

Trampoline by Robert Gipe

far is very intriguing, and I encourage readers at any age to read it. It is such an interesting book, and I am glad I got a free, signed copy!

I liked these past few weeks because I got to work on my writing, hear some unique work, and share some of my own work. I have learned a lot in these past few weeks, and I am glad to have had the chance to participate in all of the workshops at LMU over the summer. My summer as an Arts in the Gap intern is now over, but I still have one more thing to share with my readers before I end this series. It is hard to believe that the summer is almost over. I have had so much fun this summer, and I am a little sad that it is ending. But I am excited for my last semester of college! I am sure that I will have even more to share with you during the school year than I have had over the break! This has been a wonderful summer, and I can’t wait to start an even better school year. I can’t wait to share it with you!

If you want any information about Arts in the Gap, just leave me a comment, and I will try to get back to you as soon as I can. I would also love to hear from you if you have anything you want to share about your summer! Thank you for reading my blog and remember to like this post and check back every other Wednesday for a new one!

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Arts in the Gap: Mountain Heritage Literary Festival

My last summer as a LMU student has consisted of my duties as an Arts in the Gap intern. Though I have put in many hours of hard work, I have also had a lot of fun. My favorite event at LMU this summer has been the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival. At this festival, I took a poetry class with Jane Hicks, had the opportunity to meet my favorite author, and I got to go to a free concert to listen to some great music! In today’s post, I will tell you all I got to do at the Literary Festival.

Classes: Poetry with Jane Hicks

There were many different writing classes for all the attendees to choose from during this festival. The interns were split up to help each teacher in their respective classes and to have the chance to poetrylearn from them. I was put in the poetry class with Jane Hicks. I will admit that I was a little disappointed at first that I was not put in nonfiction, but I don’t think I would have had as much fun in any other class! I was expecting a tedious class over poetry verse and form, but we focused more on prompts and our ideas before we got to any of that. As strange as it sounds, my favorite part of the class was the homework. We were given prompts to work on outside of class that I really enjoyed. My favorite prompt was a photo prompt in which we had to imagine that we were looking through a photo book. In this assignment, we had to put the images together to make a story. The next day, we shared and edited each other’s work. I wrote about my family and plan to edit it for a story or a poem later on. I am really excited to see where I go with it!

Keynote Speaker: Lee Smith

Lee Smith

Lee Smith

Lee Smith was the keynote speaker for the Literary Festival. During her speech to all the attendees, she spoke about her childhood and some of the criticism her books have received. The biggest point in her speech was her love for writing and storytelling, which is something I can definitely relate to. Like Lee Smith, when I write something it becomes a part of my very existence, and sometimes I forget that not all my stories as real. I am still excited that I got to meet Lee Smith, and I was pleased to find that she was very kind and funny. I am glad that I not only got the chance to meet her, but to work with her as well!

Keynote Musician: Scott Miller

The Literary Festival also had a keynote musician, Scott Miller. I had never listened to his music before, but now he is one of my favorite musicians. I thought all his lyrics were well written, and his instrumental skills were outstanding. My favorite song that he performed was “Dear Sarah.”

Scott Miller

Scott Miller

This is a song that Scott Miller based on letters that one of his ancestors wrote to his wife while he fought in the Civil War. I love music and I love stories, but there is nothing I like better than a song that tells a well thought out story. During the song, I could imagine a Civil War soldier going through all the hardships that the war had to offer and dreaming to get back to his family. I loved all his songs, but this one was by far my favorite. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to attend his performance and to buy a new CD!

Overall, the Literary Festival was more than I could have imagined. I had been excited for this event since before the internship started, and I was not disappointed! During the festival, I had the chance to meet my favorite author, listen to some great music, and take a class on poetry. I also got some new material that I’m hoping will turn into a story or piece of poetry. My summer internship and my undergraduate career are coming to an end soon, but it is not over yet. I cannot wait to share what I do in these next few weeks with you!

What do you think about Arts in the Gap so far? If you want any more information about AitG leave me a comment, and I will be sure to get back to you as soon as I can. Remember to like my post and check back every other Wednesday for a new one!

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Arts in the Gap: Playwriting

arts in the gapMy summer at LMU so far has been full of new opportunities. I have now settled into my summer job as an Arts in the Gap intern and have been working hard these past few weeks. I have had a busy summer so far, but I have enjoyed every single moment of it. I have been busy with cleaning, check-ins, art gallery shifts, and AitG workshops. I have had my hands full, but I have learned so much from all of our workshop instructors and participants. One of my favorite workshops was the play writing workshop hosted by Lisa Soland. In this workshop, I wrote plays and even performed in a few. Playwriting was a new experience for me, and I am so glad I had the chance to take this class. In today’s post, I will share everything I learned during Lisa Soland’s Plawright Intensive!


I liked Lisa Soland’s playwriting workshop because I enjoy writing dialogue. In short stories, you usually have to build up to the dialogue, and I find that can be overwhelming at times. When I am writing, I usually write the dialogue first and then write the rest of the story around it. There is probably a better way to do it, but that’s what I do! I love writing short Playwritingstories, but I enjoy writing plays because I can focus on character interaction. When you write a play, the dialogue is the main focus. I like that because I can focus on that interaction and focus the situation on what the characters are saying. However, it is not always best to rely on dialogue alone. Stage directions are also a vital part of the play because they instruct how the dialogue should be delivered. I discovered that simple stage directions, such as directing the actor to smile, can impact the play and the audience and can help better express the author’s meaning. It is the small yet noticeable details that captures the audience’s attention and gets the writers ideas across. This workshop was a new experience for me. I am used to writing poetry and short stories, but I have now found a new interest in playwriting!

Improvising and Acting.

During the playwriting workshop, we spent a lot of time reading and performing each other’s plays. This helped the writers because they had a chance to see their plays performed. This also gave us the actingchance to try out acting. I had never tried to act before, but I found that I enjoyed it. I do not think I am going to be in any movies anytime soon, but I still had fun. I enjoyed improvisation the most because it gave me the chance to do what came most naturally to me while expressing myself creatively. This also helped the writers come up with realistic dialogue. Improvisation helped me to see how others reacted to my scripts and what they would say in certain situations. I got some great ideas from watching my classmates improvise! It was also fun to watch, especially since the actors were hilarious!

Lisa Soland was a great teacher, and I learned so much from her during the playwriting workshop. She is a terrific actor and a wonderful person. I am glad that I have had the chance to learn from her, and I am glad to know her because she is a very sweet person. Playwriting had never crossed my mind before I took her workshop, but now I think I might give it a go and write a play! I certainly enjoy playwriting enough to at least try to write a ten minute play. This summer has been full of so many new experiences, and so far, playwriting has been one of my favorites. I have had a lot of fun and am glad that I have had the chance to learn so much. I am not done yet though! My AitG internship is far from over, and I still have a lot to do. I still have a ton of workshops left, and I can’t wait to tell my readers all about them.

Do you have any experience with playwriting or acting? I only have five days of experience, but if there is anyone who would like to share their own expertise in this field, I would love to hear from you. Just leave me a comment, and I will get back to you as soon as I can! Thank you for reading my blog. Remember to like this post and make sure to check back every other Wednesday for a new one!

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Arts in the Gap: Paper Piecing

I am now officially back at LMU as an Arts in the Gap (AitG) intern. I have not been back on campus for too long, but I have had a great time the few days I have been here. The first week, all the interns moved in and got everything in order for the first workshop, the paper piecing workshop. Our guest artist, Marie Isles, exhibited her paper piecing art in Cumberland Gap at the Lincoln Memorial University Center for the Arts and hosted two paper piecing workshops. I had a wonderful time at her workshop and the art exhibit. Marie Isles is a talented artist, and it is reflected in her work, which I will share with you today. I am so glad to be back here at LMU! For the short time I have been back, I have learned a new craft and have viewed some wonderful art. In this post, I will share my experience during my first week as an AitG intern and what I learned in Marie Isles’s paper piecing workshop.


Marie Isles had some beautiful pieces in her exhibit, and she even framed each piece herself. Her art is the product of her own passion and many hours of hard work. The process is very tedious, and after I attempted to make a few, I have a deep, new founded appreciation for her art. Below is a picture of my favorite piece.

Paper Piecing

My favorite piece by Marie Isles

I was particularly drawn to the colors of this piece. I think the orange and red contrasts with the browns and green in a very beautiful way. I am not an art critic by any means, but I think this is a great piece. Her work is so unique in the way she brings different pattern together to create a picture. This piece in particular has an earthy and fiery feel to it which I really like. Isles, of course, had several other great pieces that could fill several art galleries, and I am glad I had a chance to not only see her art but to also learn how she makes them.


My first piece

My first piece

Marie Isles taught the AitG interns how to paper piece as well. I made two pieces, and it took me a day to finish each piece. I am not really good at sewing, even with a machine! I had to redo the stitching several times before it was somewhat even. We were provided with a pattern block which made the process a little easier. A pattern block is a piece of paper with the design on it so you can stitch on the lines provided. Though the pattern block did make it easier, it still required a whole lot of effort. It took me two days just to complete two single pieces. The interns decided to combine our efforts to make an entire quilt, and I think they turned out wonderful. It took us two days to complete our quilts, but the finished product was worth it! I am proud of myself and of my fellow interns!

My second piece

My second piece

I enjoyed my first week as an AitG intern. I was surprised at how much I learned in my first workshop, and I am glad to have had a chance to participate. The pieces the interns made are beautiful, and I am proud of how hard we all worked to make them. These first few days have been insightful to say the least. I not only had the chance to look at some beautiful art, but I also had a chance to learn a new craft. Marie Isles

was very patient with all her students and proved to be a great instructor. I doubt I will ever be as great as an artist

The Interns' combined efforts

The interns’ combined efforts

as Isles is, but I now have the resources to at least try to make a complete quilt! Overall, my first week working with Arts in the Gap was fun and informative. Everyone involved made it a great experience, and I am excited for everything that will follow. I will make sure to keep all of my readers posted on everything that happens over the entirety of my summer!

Do you have any experiences paper piecing? I have had only one lesson, so if you have any experience with this I would love to hear about it! Thank you for reading my blog. Make sure you hit the like button and check back every other Wednesday for a new post!

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Summer 2015!

This summer will be my last summer before I graduate from LMU! I am so excited that I am graduating from college. I have worked hard these past four and a half years, and I am glad to know that I will finally have a degree that will show just how hard I have worked. I am especially excited for this summer. I have a lot planned, and I have not been this excited to be on summer break since I was in grade school. This is my last summer as a college student, and I intend to make the most of it. Continue reading

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Summer Before Graduation: GRE Preparation

It is summer and I am glad to be out of school. I am looking forward to relaxing and getting to my summer reading list that seems to grow every day, but I also have to start preparing for the GRE. Next semester is my last semester of my undergraduate courses at LMU, and I need a good GRE score to get into grad school. This summer I will definitely be lying on the GREbeach and working on my tan while reading Lee Smith’s Cake Walk, but I will also have to spend a lot of my summer studying. I am nervous about taking the GRE because I do not test well, especially on longer tests. I am going to borrow study materials from a friend who has already taken the test, and I know that there are online practice resources out there, but I cannot help but think that I feel a bit unprepared for this test. To help ebb my rising anxiety, I will use this post to give myself, and hopefully my readers, direction in studying for the GRE. Continue reading

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