On December 9, 2005 Rex Stephenson will re-create
the first full-length Jack Tale performance by returning to Callaway
Elementary School as part of the Jack Tales 30th year anniversary.
In 1975, R. Rex Stephenson recognized the importance of dramatizing
Appalachian folktales and presenting them to youth and adults regionally,
nationally, and internationally. The performance will begin at 2:00
p.m. with media invited to attend.
The first full-length performance of the
Jack Tales premiered at Callaway Elementary in December of 1975.
Throughout their history, regional and national
media has recognized the importance of the Jack Tale Players. Shortly
after they began, Katherine Calos wrote in the Richmond News Leader,
January 16, 1976, “A simpleton named Jack has been giving some sophisticated
lessons in fantasy and reality to students in Richmond public schools.”
On February 9, 1987, the late-playwright, Aurand Harris, wrote “I
have seen his unique stage productions of the Jack Tales which he
has toured in the state and nationally to great acclaim. He has rekindled
an interest in Virginia Folklore by showing children – and adults
– part of their historical heritage. He is a master a dramatizing
these stories and directing them on the stage for popular entertainment.”
On January 27, 1993, Patricia Whitton, publisher and The College of
the American Theatre Fellow, said, “I asked the fourth grade teachers,
whose classes were given over to the project [a drama residence program
using Jack Tales] several days a week all during January, if these
interruptions gave them any problems in meeting the regular curricular
requirements. They all agreed that it was not a problem – ‘the curriculum
is being covered, but some of it in different ways.’ The drama work,
while primarily tying into the unit on folklore, also enhanced language
development, social studies such as geography, and even physical education,
through the dances.” On October 21, 1997, Nellie McCaslin, then professor
of drama at New York University, declared, “Professor Stephenson has
done an extraordinary job in developing the Jack Tales troupe which
has appeared at conventions, in schools, at hospitals, community centers,
and retirement homes. Theatre for children and theatre for adults
are enriched by the outstanding work of Rex Stephenson, and students
are fortunate who have studied with him.”
Since 1975, the Jack Tale Players have performed
to over a half million children and adults. The troupe currently tours
eleven months a year with its most active period in May, June, and
July. Children who first saw Jack Tale performances in elementary
school have grown up to become company members. The East Central Theatre
Conference has recognized Stephenson for his excellence in theatre
partially because of his leadership of the Jack Tale Players. The
IUPUI National Youth Theatre Playwriting Competition has recognized
Jack’s Adventures with the King’s Girl with an Excellence in Playwriting
award. Stephenson has introduced children in thirty-four states, England,
Canada, and Australia to this icon of Appalachian heritage.
For more information about the Jack Tale
Players, please contact Dr. R. Rex Stephenson, Founder and Artistic
Director, Ferrum College at (540) 365-4335 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ferrum College is a four-year, private, co-educational,
liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
Ferrum offers a choice of nationally recognized bachelor’s degree
programs at a cost well below the national average for private colleges.
For more information on Ferrum, visit www.ferrum.edu.