B-CU series teaches students about show biz



Bethune-Cookman University launched its “Straight Talk” The Business of Show Business series on Monday with an interactive talk and directing workshop with award-winning director/producer Charles Randolph Wright.

The event was held at the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center.

Wright spent over two hours sharing his career story and providing on-stage directing notes and advice to B-CU theater students. Wright currently is producing and directing “Greenleaf,’’ the OWN TV series. Wright flew into Daytona Beach from the set of the series specifically to spend time with the students.

“I leave here more inspired than what I gave to them,” said Wright. “I love being here at Bethune-Cookman and I want these students to soar in the industry. I am thrilled.”

More than acting

The “Straight Talk” series is an interactive and interdisciplinary five-day course designed to introduce students to the day-to-day inside mechanisms of the professional world of show business.

It’s funded through a partnership between the Office of Institutional Advancement and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in order to further career opportunities for students at Bethune-Cookman University.

The theater course included sessions on acting, dancing, music and general management.

Family connection

B-CU, in collaboration with the New Professional Theatre of New York, created the series to provide a career platform for students from various disciplines to enter the world of show business.

Sheila Kay Davis, founder and CEO of the theater company, has B-CU roots. Both of her parents were former employees.

Lucius Davis, her father, was the longterm Dean of Students and her mother, retired Congresswoman Carrie Meek, was the institution’s first women’s basketball coach when she served as an instructor in education early in her career.

“B-CU is in my blood,” said Davis. “My parents met on this campus. Dr. Bethune introduced them to each other and this place is a part of who I am. I had talent, but it took me at least 10 years to learn the business, so I decided it was time to circumvent the process and teach this new generation on campus the business here. So I called on some of my friends to join me in this project and here we are.”

‘Life-changing moments’

B-CU’s Director of Theatre Dr. Julius John serves as the campus liaison for the series and commented on the impact that workshops like these have on students like theater majors at the university.

“Today I saw stars. Many of them have the talent, but now they get a glimpse of the business,’’ her related. “I am always excited when persons in the industry come and share their knowledge with our students, and today was a great example of life-changing moments for our young people to experience with these show business icons here on campus.”

For more information about the series, contact Dr. Julius John at johnj@cookman.edu.



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