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Prof. Christopher Shorr
Theatre

Moravian College Theatre


Faculty and Staff

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Christopher Shorr, Associate Professor

Office location: Arena Theater, HUB
Office phone: 610-861-1489
Email: shorrc@moravian.edu

Education
B.A., Drew University
M.F.A., Virginia Commonwealth University

Research interests and expertise
Playwriting; Stage Directing; Theatre Design; Arts Management; Theatre and Community

Christopher Shorr directs the Theatre Program on campus, is the Artistic Director of the Moravian College Theatre Company and is a member of the Touchstone Theatre company. Primarily a stage director and playwright, Shorr also works as a set designer and composer for theatre. Through all of his work, he strives to prevent students, audiences, collaborators, and himself from succumbing to complacency. He is particularly interested in the creation of new theatre pieces and in the aggressive re-working of classic texts.

His documentary play “Tribute: September 11” was commissioned in 2002 by the AmeriCulture Arts Festival in Fitchburg, MA to mark the first anniversary of 9/11, and was revived for the tenth anniversary and performed at Moravian College and at the University of Baltimore. “Rina,” his two-person, one-act re-working of Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters” was produced at New York’s “Chekhov Now Festival” in 2002. His play “Clytemnestra’s Daughters,” a reimagining of the Greek tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, was workshopped at the Southampton Writers Conference, prior to a reading at Touchstone Theatre. “Faust in France,” his World War One adaptation of Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus,” was produced in 2012 at Moravian College, and then workshopped in residence at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre on Cape Cod. His play “Everyman on Trial”—a contemporary adaptation of the classic morality play “Everyman” was produced at Moravian in 2016 in conjunction with the College’s Medieval and Early Modern Studies Conference. His satirical musical “DICTATORS 4 DUMMIES” premiered at Touchstone Theatre in 2018 and then toured to Poland, where it was presented by Teatr Brama.

In addition to his work as a solo writer, he has co-authored several plays and musicals. With James Jordan (Artistic Director of Touchstone Theatre, partner in Jordan & Shorr, LLC), he co-wrote the musicals “The Pan Show: A Cautionary Tale,” and “The Pan Show: In Pan We Trust” (both produced at Touchstone Theatre and named “best original play of the year” by the Bethlehem Press) and a musical adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey called “Ulysses Dreams.” Together, they conceived, wrote and designed “Dear Tamaqua—In a New Light,” which used language, music and light to turn a mile of city streets in the Pennsylvania coal-region borough of Tamaqua into a transformative community experience. Shorr and Jordan (with contributions from the Touchstone Theatre ensemble) co-wrote “Bhudoo”—an interactive musical fable—which premiered at Touchstone in Spring, 2016, followed by performances in Italy (Teatro Potlach) and Hungary (Maladype). Working with Touchstone Theatre founder Bill George, Shorr co-wrote “Journey from the East”— combining the mythic Chinese Journey to the West with the mythic American Western—premiering in Spring 2015 with a large-scale outdoor production in Bethlehem, PA.

He has directed more than 50 productions, working in a range of styles and periods, in professional and academic and venues, and has designed some combination of set, sound and video for more than 50 productions as well. Much of his design work is done collaboratively through Jordan & Shorr Creative, LLC.

He moved to Bethlehem from Petersburg, Virginia, where he was the founding Artistic Director of Sycamore Rouge—a professional, non-equity theatre and arts center. While in Virginia, he served as a panelist for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and on the boards of the Southside Virginia Council for the Arts and the Petersburg Arts Council. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Drew University, and an MFA in Stage Directing from Virginia Commonwealth University.

"Theatre brings together the resources of many parties to create a single work that, in turn, brings a community together in a collective experience. In a college environment, this sort of collaboration can involve students and/or faculty coming together from different departments, and can be incredibly rewarding—adding texture, depth and new perspectives to their academic work. I want theatre at Moravian to build bridges. It should bridge the gap between different segments of our campus community, and between the college and the wider community of Bethlehem. It should also test boundaries. It should raise questions, stimulate discussion, and challenge preconceptions. Through it all, theatre at a liberal arts college needs to focus on the growth and development of the student participant. Our work should take our audiences and our artists on a journey that enriches them.”


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Bill George, Adjunct Professor

Office location: Touchstone Theatre
Office phone: 610-867-1689  
Email: georgeb@moravian.edu

Education
B.A. English Literature from Lehigh University
M.F.A. Trinity College, Theatre Paul Curtis, The American Mime Theatre

Research interests and expertise
Theatre Creation, Acting, Playwriting, Sacred Theatre

Bill received his B.A. in English Literature from Lehigh University and his M.F.A. in Acting/Directing from the Dallas Theatre Centre of Trinity University. He studied mime with Paul Curtis of The American Mime Theatre, founded the People’s Theatre Company in 1977 and later co-founded Touchstone Theatre in 1981 where he was Producing Director until 1990. During a hiatus from Touchstone in 1996, Bill created Little Pond Arts Retreat in Nazareth, Pennsylvania with his wife Bridget–a retreat center dedicated to exploring the art of transcendence–and toured to Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, and throughout Canada and the United States with his original dramas: The Kingfisher’s Wing, Dragons of Rizvania and The Marriage of Munirih Khanum. Bill returned to Touchstone as a full-time Ensemble Member in 2003 where he has won numerous awards over the years and served as a panelist and adjudicator for the Maryland State Arts Council,  the Barrymore Awards of Philadelphia, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

"Theatre is the fullest expression of our imagination to express itself in an art form, an aesthetic re-creation of our understanding of life.  It's highest purpose is to share what it's like to be alive, what we care about, in order to come together and move forward in an ever-advancing civilization.  Form, for me, is not as essential as intention, but the two naturally are interdependent.  Excellence is the ever-demanding goal.  My artistic fascination is with a search for balance in form, intention and process, what's being said vs how it's being said, between the literal and abstract, the economics, politics, and substance of theatre creation--at the center of which stands the actor."


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James Jordan, MFA Program Director, Adjunct Professor

Office location: Touchstone Theatre
Office phone: 610-867-1689 
Email: jordanj@moravian.edu

Education
M.A. Performance - University of Chichester, M.F.A. Creative Practice - University of Plymouth/Transart Institute

Research interests and expertise
Directing, Design (Sound, Set, Lights), Community-Based Theatre, Ensemble Devising, Performative Joy, Processional Theatre, Ritual

James has called Touchstone Theatre his artistic home for its last thirteen seasons. He has helped produce over seventy productions since arriving at Touchstone, serving in multiple capacities including director, designer, composer, actor, and playwright. Some of James’s most notable contributions were his leadership as Project Director for Touchstone’s last two community-based productions A Resting Place and Journey from the East and his original series of musical comedies under The Pan Show title, which chronicles the misadventures of the Greek God Pan as he is placed into modern day America, co-written with Touchstone Ensemble Affiliate Christopher Shorr. Both projects have brought accolades in the form of awards given by Bethlehem’s local press; notable amongst these honors were “Producer of the Year” and “Best Original Play.” Before coming to Touchstone, James worked at the Zoellner Arts Center on Lehigh University’s campus. During his five-year tenure as Zoellner’s Stage Coordinator, he helped in the production of hundreds of events – from lectures to Broadway musicals to some of the best ballets and orchestras in the world. While at Zoellner, James freelanced with many production companies and as a sound and lighting designer. James holds a BS in Telecommunications (video production) with minors in both Theatre and Music from Kutztown University, an MA in Performance from the University of Chichester, and an MFA in Creative Practice from Plymouth University’s Transart Institute.“  

"Each of us must become the master of our own art.  It is this unique voice within us which is our most valuable possession   It’s imperative that we learn the sound of this voice.  We don’t learn this by sitting in a seat, we learn this by doing.  It is not an idle activity of observation, but rather one of vigorous engagement"


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Lisa Jordan, Artist-Lecturer

Office location: Touchstone Theatre
Office phone: 610-867-1689
Email: jordanl@moravian.edu

Education
BA in theatre and minor in music from Kutztown University

Research interests and expertise
Theatre Management; Stage Management

Lisa Jordan is the Managing Director and an Ensemble Member at Touchstone Theatre; she holds a BA in theatre and minor in music from Kutztown University. A company member since 2001, she has filled many creative roles, including: stage manager, lighting designer, props designer, costume designer, and director. On the administrative side of things, she manages the finances, marketing, development, special events, and human resources for the 38-year-old theatre company whose motto is "theatre that transforms". Lisa is also a core teaching artist for the company, mentoring young theatre artists and teaching life skills through theatre for elementary through college-aged students. In the community, she serves on the Southside Arts District Organization Committee (Chair), Southside Arts District Advisory Council, ArtsQuest Comedy Committee, Southside Vision 20/20 Development Committee, Bethlehem Rotary Foundation Committee (secretary), and Bethlehem Rotary Club Board of Directors.

“As a teaching artist, I am continually in awe of how transformative the act of theatre creation can be for participants at any age or experience level, and how many of those skills are transferrable beyond the stage. A successful theatre maker embodies both skills of collaboration and an independent work ethic; can easily switch between the role of leader and follower; has the ability to look at something both objectively and with compassion; and, perhaps most importantly, has courage, drive, and passion to put themselves and their art into the world. Whether it’s the once-shy 3rd grader who confidently plays his part alongside his classmates or the college student who discovers their own creative voice, theatre is a powerful tool.”


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Mary Wright, Artist-Lecturer

Office location: Touchstone Theatre
Office phone: 610-867-1689
Email: wrightm@moravian.edu

Education
Allegheny College, BA in Theater Communications
Kennedy Center for the Arts, certificate in Arts In Education
East Stroudsburg University, Art As a Way of Learning certification

Research interests and expertise
Storytelling, Transformative Language, Arts In Education  

Mary is a professional storyteller, playwright, actress, costumer and director who has over 30 years of experience teaching in arts based residencies from pre-k through college. As an Ensemble Member at Touchstone Theatre, she has written and directed five plays, performed in more than a dozen, and been the coordinator for the award winning arts-education program Young Playwrights’ Lab for more than eight years. As a professional storyteller she has performed for over 6000 children and adults. She has led workshops, given personal performance coaching, and coordinated storytelling conferences and festivals. She teaches performance and playwriting skills, is a performed playwright and published writer. She is Rostered with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Arts In Education program, a Lehigh Valley Arts Council Rostered Artist, a member of the Lehigh Valley Storytellers Guild, the National Storytellers Network. In addition to her work with Touchstone Theatre, she is on the faculty at Pennsylvania Youth Theatre and the Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Arts. In 2014 she received the Tribute to the Arts Award from the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission for her body of work to date.  

“Storytelling is the seed of good art. By exploring the variety of ways in which story can be created, transformed and transmitted, we deepen our understanding of ourselves and our world. I believe passionately in the power of the arts to transform lives – both individually and in community. Theater is storytelling writ large. By affirming the importance of imagination in an increasingly technological world, story-telling and theater work together to build community. I believe strongly in the power of artists to engage students of all ages in dynamic and creative ways, helping them discover their own creative voice. It is vital that artists not only be effective at their own art form but also be able to transmit their knowledge in ways that challenge, engage and help transform their communities. Our aim is to imagine, create and inspire.”


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Emma Ackerman, Adjunct Professor  

Office location: Touchstone Theatre
Office phone: 610-867-1689  
Email: ackermane@moravian.edu  

Education
B.A., Gettysburg College
M.A., University of Chichester  

Research interests and expertise
Performance; Stage Management; Lighting Design; Arts in Education; Physical Theatre; Theatre and Music; Theatre and Communities  

Emma holds a B.A. from Gettysburg College, where she double majored in English and Theatre Arts with a minor in Classical Studies, and an M.A. in Performance Studies from the University of Chichester. Other theatrical work includes internships at Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Gettysburg Arts Festival, as well as onstage work at Actors’ NET of Bucks County and Renegade Shakespeare troupe. In her time at Touchstone, she has enjoyed extensive hands-on involvement in production, with roles including stage management (Shipwrecked, The Tempest, YPF), lighting design (The Pan Show, The Whitman Piece, Fresh Voices), and performance (Dr. Horrible, Follies, Journey from the East). When not immersed in production, Emma manages the groups who rent Touchstone’s space; assists with marketing, print design, and social media; directs the annual spring drama at Moravian Academy Middle School; leads weekly physical theatre exercises in the rehearsal room; and teaches in Touchstone's Young Playwrights’ Lab classroom.  

“Theatre-making can be such an inherently visceral activity, grounded in ourselves, body and voice. When we make good theatre— really good theatre, the kind that makes an audience sit up and inch forward in their seats without even meaning to— the audience and performers are in that physical, visceral, present place together. Sometimes, it’s good theatre that makes you think, and sometimes, it’s just something spectacular, eye-catching, awe-inspring, and our hearts are already along for the ride, with our brains running to keep up. But exposure to that kind of artwork, and learning to make that kind of artwork together, is an incredibly powerful tool for students of all ages.”


William F. Bauman, Costumer & Production Coordinator

Office location: Hurd Campus, Brethren's House, Room 315
Office phone: 610-861-1662
Email: baumanw@moravian.edu