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The Herberger College School of Theatre and Film Sets the Stage for New Faculty Members

July 27, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. – The School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger College of Fine Arts at ASU casts four new faculty members this fall. Two will help launch the school’s new concentration in film and media production of the Bachelor of Arts in film. Michael Switzer, a Los Angeles-based director, has directed more than 100 hours of long-from television movies during his career. Crystal Griffith most recently taught film and video at Columbia College in Chicago. Her background includes direction of numerous documentaries and work on several independent feature films and videos.

"I attended a conference on &ldquo:Ethics of Entertainment Media” at ASU, and was impressed with the quality of the students, their enthusiasm and curiosity," said Michael Switzer when asked why he chose to come to ASU. "When I learned they were starting a film school, of course I wanted to be part of it."

Also joining the faculty are two theatre directors. William Partlan directed more than 40 theatre productions at The Cricket Theatre in Minneapolis and served as its artistic director. While at The Cricket, he directed, developed and premiered Triple Espresso. Since its debut, the hit play has been showcased throughout the U.S. and Europe. Rachel Bowditch, a New York City-based director and scholar, also joins ASU this fall. She founded her own movement theatre company, Vessel, in 1996.

"I bring a myriad of physical movement training into my work as a director," said Bowditch. "As a scholar, my strengths are experimental/avant-garde performance, ritual theory and theories of directing."

Bowditch has called New York City home for the past seven years, but spent her formative years living in places like Ethiopia, Indonesia, Israel, Italy and Singapore. She believes that the School of Theatre and Film should take more advantage of outdoor theatre performance at ASU.

Film director Michael Switzer also is stirred by the open spaces. In addition to his lengthy list of television direction credits, documentary pieces that depict Indian reservation life also are of interest to him. He hopes to draw more Native American filmmakers – from within the university as well as the community – into to the school.

"Not only are their stories interesting and unique, but I am convinced that, if shared and committed to film, these stories can make an incredible impact," he said. "Film provides everyone an opportunity to express ideas in a different and richer way than with just words alone."

All four bring interesting concepts and fresh ideas to their new positions and each has a wealth of personal and professional experiences to share with ASU students.

When asked how she feels the new faculty will make an impact, Linda Essig, director of the School of Theatre and Film said that each new member has the chance to contribute to the ongoing growth and development of the school, as it fulfills its mission to move the arts of theatre and film into the future.

The Herberger College School of Theatre and Film provides a comprehensive range of courses in performance and directing; design and production; new work development; theatre and performance studies; film; and theatre for youth. Its Theatre for Youth program is nationally ranked in the top three and the creative writing/playwriting program is ranked 15th among public institutions by " U.S. News & World Report ." To learn more about the School of Theatre and Film, visit