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University of Iowa News Release


June 7, 2007

Tent Theatre Tours Iowa This Summer

A traveling tent theater company, reminiscent of the popular theatrical troupes of the 19th and early 20th centuries, is touring Iowa this summer, thanks to University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts faculty member Ralph Hall.

Hall organized the Iowa Tent Theatre Project from his home in Riverside and has written a new play for the tour. Hall's "Standing Tall," a heartwarming comedy about an Iowa farm family, will be presented complete with talking animals, aerial puppets and other theatrical surprises.

The project's big red-and-yellow tent, seating about 300 for each performance, will be raised for performances from late June through early August:

-- Tipton: June 24th, 7:30 pm

-- Iowa City: June 29 & 30, 7:30 pm

-- Charles City: July 3, 7:30 pm & July 4, 2:00 pm

-- Belmond: July 6 & 7, 7:30 pm

-- Algona: July 12, 7:30 pm

-- Arnold's Park: July 16, 7:30 pm

-- Sioux Center: July 17th, 7:30 pm

-- Des Moines (Iowa Fringe Festival): July 19-22

-- Red Oak: July 29, 7:30 pm

-- Audubon: August 2, 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

-- Orient: August 4, 7:30 pm

Performances -- appropriate for the whole family -- will be approximately an hour in length.

"There is nothing like the magical ambiance created by a tent theater performance," Hall says. "As a stage director I look forward to sharing this wonderful style of theater with my home state. As a playwright I am excited to create a new work that is being written specifically for Iowa audiences."

The company's other lead artist is Hall's long-time collaborator Bruce Marrs, an award-winning mask maker and physical theater artist from California who studied with Marcel Marceau and Etienne Decroux. Marrs also studied mask-making techniques in Bali and Italy and has performed with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Dell'Arte Players Company.

In 1996 Marrs drew upon his unique theater skills during the filming of "Godzilla," where he starred in the title role and helped design the current man-in-suit technology and motion-capture engineering used by major film studios. Learn more about his mask work at

Learn more about the project -- and about booking a performance -- at Hall can be contacted at

The Department of Theatre Arts is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073; cell: 310-430-1013;