Dordt College News

Rural Readers Theatre at Dordt

November 17, 2008

America’s changing farms and farmers will be the subject of a performance at Dordt College on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in Dordt’s Classroom Building lecture hall, C160. This performance is free and open to the public.

“Farmscape: Documenting the Changing Rural Environment” is a docu-drama created last fall by Professor Mary Swander at Iowa State University, using interviews her creative writing students conducted with real people involved in growing food.

Dordt’s Theatre and English Departments are collaborating with Swander on the program, with the following students presenting the program: Jason Kornelis, Sioux Center; Lucas Wynia, Rock Valley; Justin Knutson, Centerville, SD; Thadd Harrington, Lincoln, NE; Zach Eggebeen, Sheboygan, WI; Nick Van Ee, Fox Lake, WI; Vanessa Theel, Fond du Lac, WI; Mark Bylenga, Tucson, AZ; Laura Schrotenboer, Sunnyside, WA; and Jenna Veenbaas, Abbotsford, BC

The program features the stories of real people involved in real changes in the practice of agriculture. There’s Zinfandel being made at a new winery and organic vegetables being sold at the local farmer’s market. There’s a bed and breakfast, a Hispanic cultural center, and restored wetlands and prairie. There’s a hog confinement operation and an IBP slaughtering plant.

In the end, the audience and participants understand that farming during the pioneer days completely changed the ecosystem of the prairie, and 150 years later the landscape is dramatically changing again.

In addition to her participation in the performance, ISU Professor Mary Swander will do a residency on Dordt’s campus Thursday and Friday, visiting classes and working with the cast of Dordt students. Swander teaches English at Iowa State University. She earned her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and has published books of nonfiction and poetry, as well as publishing individual poems, essays, short stories, and articles in several national magazines and journals.

This event is sponsored by the Dordt College Co-curricular Committee, in collaboration with the Theatre and English Departments. All are welcome to attend.

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