Monday, February 26, 2018

[312] MTSU Theatre invites audiences to see — and hear — ASL-inclusive ‘A Taste of Sunrise’ March 1-4

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.MTSU Theatre performers are becoming bilingual for their March 1-4 production, “The Taste of Sunrise,” creating an eloquent and multifaceted presentation that incorporates American Sign Language into the story of a man’s adventure-filled life.

“The show is beautifully written for both English and ASL. It’s about people who need and want to connect and a culture that makes it difficult,” explains director Jette Halladay, an MTSU Theatre professor whose own adventures with students have taken her around the world to share stories through drama, comedy, music and art.

“It’s about people who, in an effort to help, make choices that hurt. And it’s about forgiving, reaching out and being willing to persist in forging bonds that last through the difficult times. Ultimately, it reminds us we are never alone. We are supported and connected in unseen ways.”

Curtain times in the university’s Tucker Theatre are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, March 1-3, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4. Advance tickets, available at, are $10 general admission and $5 for seniors 55 and older and K-12 students. MTSU students will be admitted free with a current ID.

The award-winning play by Susan Zeder is set in the 1920s and follows a deaf man called Tuc, portrayed by MTSU junior theatre major Robbie Ramirez, as he recalls the adventures, discoveries and people met along his life’s journey.

“So far every rehearsal has been rewarding,” says Halladay. “I’m moved to laughter and tears and gratitude. This is a remarkable script with honest and engaging actors.”

Ramirez and his fellow cast members have spent the last several months learning American Sign Language and noticing the differences between it and spoken English. Dr. Angela Scruggs, a counselor at AGAPE Nashville who works with clients with hearing impairments, and some members of the deaf community also have worked with the “Taste of Sunrise” cast and crew to help them learn more about the population.

"ASL has an amazing way of communicating everything you need in just a few simple gestures," Ramirez says. "I hope this show will inspire a few people to pick up some basic ASL so that they can communicate with a wonderful group of amazing people."

Characters in the show who use sign language have "interpreters" to speak their lines, creating an opportunity for both the cast and the audience to understand both languages. The performances also will feature two screens with closed-captioning in Tucker Theatre.

The production features scenic, light, and costume designs by MTSU Theatre and Dance faculty Scott Boyd, Darren Levin and Audrey Reed, respectively.

Tickets also will be available at the Tucker Theatre box office one hour before curtain times. For more information about the show, visit

[311] Students, criminal justice pros slated to chat, network March 14 at MTSU

MURFREESBORO — MTSU is providing those interested in careers in the ever-changing world of criminal justice with an extraordinary opportunity to chat with practitioners.

Register by Monday, Feb. 26, for the Criminal Justice Networking and Information Exchange, which is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, in MTSU’s Tom H. Jackson Building. The online registration address is

“The event is designed to give future professionals in police, courts, corrections and security the opportunity to meet and converse with a variety of current professionals in those fields without the added stress of job-seeking,” said Carter F. Smith, an MTSU criminal justice lecturer and originator of the exchange.

No resumes will be exchanged and no hiring interviews will be scheduled. Instead, students from colleges and universities in the Middle Tennessee area will have time for informal talks with representatives of nonprofit organizations, small businesses, large companies and local, state and federal government agencies.

“The professionals we are inviting are not necessarily those tasked with recruiting,” said Smith. “You’ll find it’s more like the environment after a guest speaker talks to the class than a job fair.”

Smith said that there will be a check-in procedure for classes awarding attendance benefits, but the amount of time spent on site will be up to the student.

The Department of Criminal Justice Administration, which is sponsoring the event, will issue parking permits so attendees can park on campus. A department representative will meet attendees at the baseball field parking lot on Faulkinberry Drive to issue permits and assist as needed beginning at 9 a.m. on the day of the event.

For more information, or to address specific technology needs, contact Shelly Higdon, executive aide in the Department of Criminal Justice Administration, at 615-904-8081 or