Dr. Stan DenmanActing Chairman, Theater Arts
Dr. Stan Denman currently serves as chair of the Baylor Theatre Arts program. Having received his Master of Arts from Baylor and a PhD from The University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Denman returned to Baylor in 1992 as a full faculty member, bringing with him a passion for artistic excellence coupled with a devotion to Christ. Thirteen years later, Dr. Denman remains impressed by Baylor's adherence to its Christian mission, but what he sees as different is a concerted effort, through Baylor 2012, to utilize Baylor's Christian foundation to influence the world of theatre arts.
In fact, now more than ever, says Dr. Denman, "we are able to hire faculty who are interested in issues of faith and art, who are excellent in their respective fields and who say, Yes, we are Christians. Yes, we are interested in issues of faith. And yes, we can be seen not just as a great Christian theatre program, but a great, national-level theatre program." Baylor 2012 is equipping faculty and students with the resources and opportunities to move beyond marginalization. "2012 has really given us the freedom to think big," says Dr. Denman. "Things that we never thought possible 10 years ago are now not only possible, but also probable."
Through recent initiatives, Baylor's artistic voice is heard around America and the world. Professors are encouraged to attend and participate in discussions with other scholars in hubs of theatre production, such as New York City, Houston and Los Angeles. They are presenters at world theatre conferences. Most recently, Dr. Denman was one of six Americans invited to France to work on an international colloquium concerning regional identity in the theatre. Next spring, the inaugural Horton Foote American Playwrights Festival will take place on the Baylor Campus, drawing esteemed talent from all branches of the theatre arts. Although Christian theatre exists predominately as a subculture within the larger American theatre culture, Baylor is making significant strides in discussing art and faith with a broad and diverse audience.
According to Professor Denman, "The world is longing for faith-based stories-something they can believe in-intense, challenging, provocative dramas containing a positive (though sometimes dark) message." For Baylor Theatre to attend to such needs, it must bridge the divide and create a space for itself from which its voice is heard throughout the Christian and secular worlds. To that end, a faculty of excellent theatre artists and scholars-of Christian faith-who are asking difficult and pertinent questions of both sides, increasingly find their way into the Baylor Theatre Arts program. In turn, they are giving an effective voice to a collection of younger artists and scholars, who can shape the world of theatre in the future.
"The 2012 vision is not only a reiteration and re-examination of Baylor's original mission; it is a confirmation," says Dr. Denman. "Through it, we are promoting an intersection of religion and culture; creating a community of ideas that informs and strengthens our Christian faith, while developing a more resonant voice. We are sending men and women out into the world as leaders in the theatre arts."