Boston runners to participate in Marathon of the North

Two runners from the Boston Marathon are in Sunderland this weekend to take part in the Marathon of the North.

Craig Smith of the Heaton Harriers will be volunteering on the course, while Ean Parsons of Sedgefield Harriers will be running in the marathon.

Smith was in the medical tent during the bombing at the Boston Marathon and didn’t hear the two explosions because he was about a half mile away.

“I was quite oblivious of what was going on at first,” Smith said.

He first became aware that something was going on when he heard the sound of sirens and thought that it was hotter than he had originally thought it was and that they were having to bring in more people.

He didn’t find out about the explosions until the medical staff told him that they had to evacuate the area because there had been a major security incident.

“I managed to find my bag and then find my way back to my digs. So it was a very strange afternoon.”

Parsons was just leaving the family reunion area about 50 minutes after he crossed the finish line when he heard the two explosions two seconds apart.

“It crosses your mind that that’s what it is, obviously something traumatic had happened. You’re hoping it’s not going to be a bomb, but obviously the word got around quickly,” Parsons said.

Parsons knew  that people were asking how the bombings would affect London and other marathons but believes that they must continue.

“We thought, this is what we do, you can’t stop people running marathons.”

Smith ran in the London Marathon after a little friendly pressure from his friends. He had an entry into the race, but never intended to run.

“The realisation that to let it go would be a sacrilege and so what I did was said I’m going to do it, it’s going to hurt, but I want to do it,” added Smith.

The Heaton Harrier wanted to raise awareness for Boston and try to raise money for the victims to “draw something positive out of a very black situation.”

And his experience in London was cathartic as he ran with a fellow runner who had been in Boston and said it helped both of them.

Smith will be volunteering on Sunday for the Marathon of the North as he believes doing three marathons in three weekends would be a bit over the top and this is another way he can give something back to the community as ‘people often take for granted all the marshals and volunteers’.

Parsons didn’t run in the London marathon because he had booked a holiday around Boston and was in Toronto at the time of the marathon.

However, he said he heard reports on how moving the atmosphere was during the minute silence and is expecting the North East running community will come together in a similar kind of atmosphere this weekend.

Parsons said: “I think, for my own point of view, because I was away after Boston, I’ll find it even more poignant to be amongst the crowd and remembering what happened on that day.”

The Marathon of the North will start at 9:30 at the Stadium of Light on Sunday and will also include a half marathon, 10k race and a relay race.


Pie Your Professor to Raise Scholarship for Students

Ever thought you could pie a professor for a good cause?

The Class Campaign for The University of Tampa is sponsoring the event Pie-A-Professor to take place during the homecoming tailgate on Friday Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m.

During homecoming week, representatives from The Class Campaign will be selling raffle tickets in the Vaughn Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting Oct 19.

Raffles will cost $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.

Money raised from the event will go toward funding a scholarship.

Students will also be eligible to receive one free ticket by writing a thank-you card to various alumni who have donated to UT.

According to Laura Mayes, chair of The Class Campaign, each faculty member will have their names written on a jar and students will be able to choose which jars to put their tickets in.

The five jars with the most tickets in them will be selected, and the faculty whose names are on them will participate.

A raffle will be picked randomly from each of the five jars, and each of the students holding the chosen raffles will pie the faculty.

Mayes said she got the idea for the event from Delta Zeta’s theme week.

“I wanted a fun way for students and faculty to come together to bridge the gap,” Mayes said.

“A lot of people don’t know that faculty donates [money to the school].” She said that 65 percent of the faculty donates money every year.

The Class Campaign aims to educate students about giving back.

Since UT is a private university, it gets all its money from donors.

None of it comes from the government.

The scholarship money that will be raised during this event will go to a deserving student, though Mayes said she doesn’t know yet how it will be awarded.

Once the money is raised, She and 15 committee members of The Class Campaign will sit down and decide what criteria will be set.

“It really is from the student body,” Mayes said.

The Class Campaign used to be titled the “Senior Campaign.”

The name change was to open the organization up to the rest of the student body.

According to Mayes, they all work together to spread awareness.

The Class Campaign is asking this year’s graduating seniors to donate $20.10 to show their appreciation for the time that they’ve been at UT.

Mayes said The Class Campaign is working on getting approved by Student Government to be an active organization on campus.

She also said there will be another event on campus in the spring that has yet to be determined.

Posted October 15 2009 at 12:24 am

The Minaret:

Giving UT a Voice on Diversity, Faculty Speaks Up

On Nov. 7, a St. Petersburg Times column about the lack of tenured African American professors at the University of Tampa made waves on campus, received attention online and prompted a response from school officials on UT’s homepage.

The column, “At UT, Never a Tenured African-American,” by Bill Maxwell, explains that the university has never had a tenured African-American professor.

George Botjer, a UT professor who has taught at the university for 48 years, brought that fact to Maxwell’s attention.

The story surrounding it was rooted in what Botjer perceived to be past racism at UT, something he passionately fought particularly during the 1960s and 1970s.

In responding to the article, Janet McNew, Provost of UT, said, “For the most part, it was dealing with things that happened over 30 years ago. And it was very out of touch of the way that the university is now.”

The article goes on to say that UT has no African-Americans currently on the tenure track, an incorrect assertion.

Erica Dawson, an African-American assistant professor of English who was hired this semester, is on tenure track and was very upset with the article.

She even wrote a letter to the editor to register her complaint.

“The biggest thing about the article that upset me in general was the fact that it seemed to be implying that UT is a racist institution and in large part that the administration is making racist decisions.” Dawson said.

“When you walk around our sidewalks, it’s easy to see the diversity that we have on this campus. Not just in terms of our faculty but our staff and our students as well.”

Dawson said she does not want readers to get the wrong impression about UT.

“I was alarmed at the lack of awareness of the way that UT is now,” she said. “I felt the article was not as researched as it could have been. For me, that’s a problem when we’re talking about journalism.”

Haig Mardirosian, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, agreed.

“As someone who has worked for years on diversifying the faculty, elsewhere and recently at UT, the sting of this piece in the Times is especially sharp,” he wrote in an e-mail to faculty last week.

“It was both planted and written by people who clearly do not understand the intensity, the emotion and the urgency of the work that we all do to embrace our diversity.

Rather, these folks tossed around a few unfounded and ugly words and, at that, never stopped to check their data.”

Arthur Hollist, an African-born black professor at UT, said similarly that Maxwell “did not do his homework.”

Hollist  did not give a comment to Maxwell because he felt that “[his] characterization of me was unfortunate. I didn’t think that it warranted commenting.”

Maxwell mentioned in his article that Hollist’s “exotic, foreign provenance is preferred by many U.S. universities looking for a black face.”

He implied that Hollist, along with other minority professors from Sierra Leone or other areas outside the Western world, were hired for their exoticism.

According to McNew, the tenure process that UT follows is one recommended by the American Association of University Professors.

Professors hired on tenure-track have a six-year probationary period.

After three years, professors have pre-tenure reviews. At the end of six years, professors have a full tenure review.

The key points for a professor receiving tenure are successful teaching, scholar activity, a terminal degree (highest degree in a given field) and involvement in student life or activities.

According to McNew, there are 129 tenured professors at UT.

The university declined to release a breakdown of those who are black, Hispanic, Asian or white to protect their identities.

In the column, Maxwell also mentioned Kendra Frorup, another black tenure-track professor from the Bahamas.

He did not mention the African-American assistant professor Lonnie Bryant, also on tenure track.

“I felt the distinction he was trying to make between African-born and African-American was sort of old school,” Hollist said.

“It was a distinction I didn’t really understand.”

Hollist has been with UT for 22 years. In that time, he has seen improvement in diversity.

“UT is moving in the right direction in terms of diversifying its faculty and students. Is there more work to be done? Yeah, absolutely,” Hollist said.

“How you attract faculty of color and different ethnicity is something that has to be researched and investigated thoroughly. If there was an easy answer, I think we would have done it.”

Donovan Myrie, an English-born black who serves as a communications instructor at UT, agreed with Hollist that improvements can be made.

As he said, “I think the reason we don’t have as many professors of color here . . . [O]ne, you don’t have a large pool of people of color on the Ph.D. level or the terminal degree level.

“Two, those candidates are usually heading towards larger cities with bigger salaries and more opportunities. And three, UT does not really search out and seek those people of color.”

Myrie does not think UT searches for those candidates, instead just accepting the ones who apply for open positions.

He believes recruiting black faculty candidates is not an easy thing to do.

“I think that’s the point that professor Botjer is trying to make,” Myrie said.

Overall though, in his words, “I don’t think that the university treats any professor differently regardless of color.

“It doesn’t matter what color you are it matters that you are a good professor.”

In an e-mail response provided to The Minaret, university president Ronald Vaughn stated, “I don’t believe the article accurately reflects the current reality of diversity at the University of Tampa.

“The university recognizes the importance of diversity on campus and in the classroom.

“We put a great deal of effort in hiring the best-qualified faculty and staff, and we have taken great strides to build an inclusive community that embraces diversity of all sorts.

“Today, UT’s diversity is apparent and is a key element in strengthening students’ total educational experience.”

Mandy Erfourth can be reached at

Posted November 17 2010 at 10:32 pm

The Minaret:

People out in force for Marathon of the North despite windy conditions

Despite the windy conditions making the course difficult, it didn’t stop runners and spectators from coming out in their thousands for the Marathon of the North on Sunday.

This year’s event was the second year for the Marathon of the North, with the BQ Relay race added and the half marathon for the first time.

Former Olympian Steve Cram, who was again one of the event organisers, has said they won’t add any more races now, but they want to keep making the events bigger.

Cram said: “Every year more and more people seem to get interested in it and hopefully we’ll be back here with a bigger event.

“The weather could have been more helpful. It’s very, very windy, which is tough for the runners, tough for the spectators and for the volunteers as well.”

The weather wasn’t all bad. Just before the marathon runners approached the finish line the sun started to peak through the clouds.

Jake Harrison from Leicester won the marathon in what was the first marathon he had ever competed in.

“I was quite surprised to be honest and I was struggling near the end,” said Harrison.

The Leicester Tri runner said it was difficult to keep pace and towards the end he was struggling, but he believes that everyone was starting to struggle near the end.

He also said he had been watching the weather over the week and didn’t expect the conditions to be so windy.

Harrison said he had a lot more energy in the first half of the marathon, but the wind took a lot out of him. The second half of the race was more sheltered and but he admitted that runners had just as much wind on their back as in their face.

“It’s quite a tough course. I liked that you have some of the half marathon runners with you for the first half, so you can sort of stay with them so you’re not running, if you are in the lead, all the race on your own,” Harrison continued.

Jessica Riches, from Chester-le-Street, 27, won the women’s marathon, earning her personal best time of three hours 20. Last year she came in third place with a time of three hours 25.

The finish was a surprise to Riches who didn’t expect to come in first as her goal was to retain her third place finish.

Riches said: “Two weeks ago I did a race that was also very windy up at Druridge Bay, which was a marathon as well, and it had sort of swirling sand storms.

“So I was just running along thinking, well at least there isn’t any sand. It was good preparation really.”

Riches said that The Marathon of the North is her favorite marathon and that the organisation is spot on.

Alyson Dixon, from Sunderland, 34, won the 10k for the second year in a row and is really happy to have retained her title.

“I just enjoyed it out there. I just ran a marathon recently so I’m still recovering from that. And I just used it as a bit of a social run to try to help some of the lads that I know to fast times,” said Dixon.

She was also wearing a blue and yellow ribbon to pay tribute to Boston and she was wearing a shirt that said “Boston stands as one.”

“I had people that I know, good friends over there running, people spectating. I used to go to marathons to watch my dad at the age of eight, so it kind of hits home when an eight-year-old boy is killed having just been watching his dad finish a marathon,” said Dixon.

For Ean Parsons from the Sedgfield Harriers, this was his first marathon since the Boston Marathon. He said he finished the marathon, but he didn’t complete it. There was nothing after the race for the runners, after the tragedy.

“This felt to me like the second half of the Boston Marathon. It was just fantastic,” said Parsons.

He is also very happy that he received his Boston Qualifying time by six seconds, so he will be able to go back to Boston next year.

Dan Makaveli, a University of Sunderland graduate’s relay team came in fourth place. He ran the fourth leg of the race out of six in about 46 minutes, that was just under 11k.

“The first 7k was really good and I did a good personal best at the time and then we turned round and the wind got me in the face and it coincided with going up hill. So it got quite slow towards the end,” said Makaveli.

Mel Brewis, from Sunderland, 31 was the teammate who crossed the finish line for them and she ran in the London Marathon too.

She said there was more pressure in the Marathon of the North, because of pressure to do well for the team, and the London Marathon was just something she crossed off her list of events.

One of the relay teams wore Superman costumes because they were running for Grace House, a Children’s Hospice. It was children’s hospice week and super heroes, so they decided to dress up as Superman.

Ross Finch, from South Shields, 26 ran the 3k leg of the relay and said it was a tough one. His part was all up hill, there was steps and there was wind in his face as well.

Liam Prickett, from Hebburn, 25, said they might run the half marathon together next year.

A group of Newcastle University cheerleaders decided to run together with their cheer shirts and blue, red and white ribbons in their hair.

Kristy Blake, 19, said the run was easier than she thought it would be and she didn’t train much, just on the treadmill. Her and her fellow cheerleaders decided to run for a fitness goal, but thought that they would have time to train and they didn’t.

Despite the bad weather, Dixon admitted that she had expected the conditions to be windy.

Dixon added: “It was quite windy out there, but it’s Sunderland, we’re use to wind. We just get on with it.”

After the races finished, Cram was pleased with the event and believed it was great to see all the people who competed in different races in the city centre running in different directions – despite admitting that it was a bit of a challenge to organise.

“I think people are still getting use to the idea in the city that there’s an event you can be apart of. We hope to grow the event and make it more of an annual event,” Cram added.


Emma Watson Chooses Education Over Hollywood

Emma Watson has been turning down roles to focus on her final year at Brown University.

According to The Daily Mirror, Emma, 23, is due to graduate with an English degree in May.

A source told The Daily Mirror: “Emma is in demand with Hollywood directors but has so much to focus on with her studies, that she has had to pass on a few things – she simply can’t do ­everything.”

“It’s tough but she believes it was the right thing,” the source added.

The Harry Potter star enrolled in Brown University in 2009, but took some time off to finish filming ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II’, The Belfast Telegraphreported.

According to the Metro, Emma transferred to Oxford University in 2011, but took some more time off to film ‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’. She retuned to classes at Brown University at the beginning of this year.

The actress tweeted earlier this month: “Anyone handing in final papers, taking exams, working hard … You can dooo ittttt!!!”

Emma is just like all the other students studying for exams and writing papers.

She is not the first celebrity to attend an Ivy League school, but many other stars dropped out and Emma is very determined to finish.

According to Business Insider, Claire Danes dropped out of Yale University to return to acting. Matt Damon dropped out of Harvard University and Jake Gyllenhaal dropped out of Columbia University after his sophomore year.

Katie Holmes was accepted to Columbia University, but deferred her acceptance to star on the hit TV show, ‘Dawson’s Creek’. She had been deferring annually, but in 2006 her father withdrew her name from the university, Contact Music reported.

Emma is on the path to receive her Bachelor of Arts in May and hopefully after that we will see her on the big screen again.

Published on my blog, Hollywood Starlets on December 30, 2013:

10 TV Stars to Pay Attention To

There are so many talented young actors on TV at the moment. Some of them have been around  for a while and others are just breaking into the business now, but they are all amazing and have bright futures in front of them.

So who are the actors that you should be paying attention to? Who will be breaking onto the big screen and who are going to have very successful TV careers? It’s hard to tell.

I have chosen 10 actors that I think will make it big and they are starring in shows on ABC, NBC and the CW. If you haven’t seen anything featuring these fabulous actors, then it’s time you queued up your Netflix, visited Target Ticket, headed out to your nearest Redbox, logon to Hulu or any other way you consume your TV shows and films and start watching them.

They are making waves, being nominated and winning awards, scoring film roles and fans are falling in love with them. These are the stars that you should be paying attention to.

Sophia Bush
(Detective Erin Lindsay, Chicago P.D.)

Sophia Bush became a huge star on ‘One Tree Hill’ playing Brooke Davis and since then she’s starred in a few big screen roles. She stunned in the film ‘The Hitcher’, a horror film where a hitchhiker is trying to kill her and her boyfriend. She plays a tough girl fighting for her life.

In 2012 she was cast in a series from the creators of Will and Grace, ‘Partners’. The show didn’t last very long, but she’s back on TV yet again in ‘Chicago P.D.’ She is once again playing a tough woman, but this time she’s fighting crime. The show’s second episode tied for number one in the 18-49 demo in the 10p.m. hour, Broadway World reported. The new series received 6.3 million viewers that evening.

If Sophia’s impressive resume isn’t enough to be a fan of hers, she’s also very active on social media and she uses these tools to promote equality and respect. She’s involved in a campaign called “I am that girl saving the world” that is trying to create change and opportunity for women in sports. She also posts interesting and influential articles.

She’s already had a great TV career spending nine years on TV with ‘One Tree Hill’ and it looks like ‘Chicago P.D.’ might be another hit.

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhoSay.

Emily VanCamp
(Emily Thorn, Revenge)

This lovely lady has managed to star in three TV shows: ‘Everwood’, which lasted four years, ‘Brothers and Sisters’, which lasted five seasons and she departed from the show at the beginning of the final season, and now she is on her third season of ‘Revenge’. Emily VanCamp has had a pretty successful career so far. She’s even graced the big screen a few times, in 2009 she starred in ‘Carriers’ and in 2005 in ‘The Ring Two’.

It seems she’s barely gotten started. In April she will play Agent 13 in ‘Captain America: The Winter Solider’, alongside Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson and fellow TV star Cobie Smulders. If Emily is planning to really jump start her film career, this movie could do the trick.

She will also be starring in ‘The Girl in the Book’, which is a Kickstarter backed film that is due to be released sometime this year.

Emily has had an amazing TV career so far and it looks like her film career will be very bright as well.

Follow her on Twitter.

Ian Somerhalder
(Damon Salvatore, The Vampire Diaries)

Ian Somerhalder has actually been around for a while. In 2002 he starred alongside James Van Der Beek, Jessica Biel, Kate Bosworth and Shannyn Sossamon in ‘The Rules of Attraction’. This is definitely a cult classic and if you haven’t seen the film it must be added to your list immediately. Ian was only in his early 20s when this film came out and he’s just gotten sexier with age.

Ian also starred in a spin-off of ‘Dawson’s Creek’, ‘Young Americans’, with Kate again.

Young Americans wasn’t the only show he has starred in, he was also in the very popular series, ‘Lost’.

He now stars as Damon on ‘The Vampire Diaries’ playing the bad brother. He’s in the middle of a love triangle and he may or may not be the one that belongs with Elena. Fate says his brother, Stefan, belongs with Elena, but the show certainly goes against fate all the time.

Ian was the favorite to play Christian Grey in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ with tons of people on social media campaigning for him to get the role. He didn’t win the role, but he did film a movie that is scheduled to be released this year, ‘The Anomaly’. He is the lead in the film alongside Alexis Knapp, Brian Cox and Luke Hemsworth.

He’s been around for a while but he’s just starting to heat up now.

Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

Gabriel Mann
(Nolan Ross, Revenge)

If you have been watching ‘Revenge’, you are probably a fan of Emily Thorn’s BFF, Nolan Ross. No mater what he sticks by Emily’s side and has helped her through everything. They would die for each other.

The man who plays Nolan, Gabriel Mann, has been acting a long time. He starred alongside Matt Damon in ‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘The Bourne Supremacy’. He also starred in a thriller with Katie Holmes, ‘Abandon’.

Unfortunately, he has gotten use to playing the sidekick in most of his roles, but he’s certainly showing is talent every Sunday night on ‘Revenge’. It’s only a matter of time before he snags a leading role.

Gabriel will be on the big screen this March alongside Michael Peña, John Malkovich and Rosario Dawson in ‘Cesar Chavez: An American Hero’. He may not be the leading man in this film, but acting with names like these can only help his career. Plus being in a film portraying an important figure in history is a great thing to add to his resume.

It doesn’t matter if he’s in big films with big stars, he still manages to get noticed no matter how big his part is. He’s someone to keep an eye on.

Follow him on Twitter.

Jesse Williams
(Dr. Jackson Avery, Grey’s Anatomy)

Jesse Williams is sometimes forgotten about in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ with the original cast members like Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers and McDreamy, Patrick Dempsey. But he’s one of the sexy guys too and is a great addition to the cast.

He came in with the interns from Mercy West and it’s taken sometime for the rest of the doctors to respect him. Especially when his mother gave him the hospital. But he’s proved his worth and now we are waiting to see if April will pick him when ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ returns.

In 2012 Jesse was on the big screen in the comedy/horror, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’. This film wasn’t anything special, it had a lot of gore and laughs, but it was good for his budding film career. He had a pretty big role in the movie. His first film role was in 2008 in ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2’.

Then last year he starred in the Screen Actor’s Guild Award nominated film, ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’. He played alongside great actors like, Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. He hasn’t even been around for that long, so he’s landing some great roles pretty quickly. Plus landing a role on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ was amazing, since ABC has recently announced the show will be around for a while. So if he chooses to stay with show he’ll have a job, but clearly he can start doing more films as well.

When you are watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ don’t forget about this hot young guy because he could be a big star someday and you don’t want to miss it.

Follow him on Twitter , Instagram and Tumblr.

Claire Holt
(Rebekah Mikaelson, The Originals)

Claire Holt seems to be one of the many Australian actors that are coming to the U.S. and finding success. For three years she starred on the Australian soap, ‘H2O: Just Add Water’, alongside her ‘The Originals’ castmate,  Phoebe Tonkin. Phoebe stayed on with the show till 2010 though.

Claire first appeared on ‘The Vampire Diaries’ in the fall of 2011 playing Rebekah Mikaelson, a vampire from the original family. According to ET she was only supposed to guest star on three episodes.

Claire said to ET: “It’s so crazy. I signed a three episode deal, packed my suitcase for 10 days and I’m still here.”

It was a combination of her talent and the writers that has kept her around and launched a spin-off based upon her vampire family. It takes a dedicated and talented person to be a reoccurring character on a show for two seasons and then get their own show after only signing a three episode deal.

Hopefully she can see much more success with ‘The Originals’. She could become a big TV star. She’s already done well for herself and her talent and determination can take her anywhere from here.

Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and WhoSay.

Candice Accola
(Caroline Forbes, The Vampire Diaries)

Candice Accola plays your favorite vampire barbie on ‘The Vampire Diaries’, but before she snagged the role of Caroline, she was a very busy lady. She starred in a horror movie in 2008 that was featured in numerous film festivals. ‘Dead Girl’ was the official selection of the AFI Film Festival and was also featured at the Fantastic Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and the Sitges Film Festival. She also played small parts from 2007 before she was cast on ‘The Vampire Diaries’ in 2009.

She even released an album in 2006, It’s Always the Innocent Ones, and you can buy the album on iTunes.

In 2012 Candice starred in a web series, ‘Dating Rules from My Future Self’. That year she also won the Teen Choice Award for Female Scene Stealer for her role on ‘The Vampire Diaries’.

If this lady hasn’t been busy enough, in September she was hired to narrate a young adult paranormal thriller book, ‘Unbreakable’.

The biggest thing she’s been cast in so far is ‘The Vampire Diaries’, but she’s been working hard since 2007 and all that work paid off when she started on ‘TVD’, a very fan fueled show.

I can’t wait to see this talented young lady in more amazing roles.

Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and WhoSay.

Sam Palladio
(Gunnar Scott, Nashville and Stoke, Episodes)

This sexy English lad is currently starring in not just one, but two TV shows. Sam Palladio plays Gunnar on ABC’s hit show ‘Nashville’ and Stoke on the British/American show on Showtime and BBC, ‘Episodes’. That makes this guy very busy. When on earth did he have time to film ‘Runner, Runner’ with Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck?

Before he won his two TV show roles, he guest starred on British shows, ‘Doctors’, ‘Little Crackers’ and ‘The Hour’. In 2012 when he started playing Gunnar and Stoke, he also guest starred on more British TV shows: ‘Cardinal Burns’ and ‘Walking and Talking’.

His first role was only in 2010 with ‘Little Crackers’ and he’s managed to snag two roles on TV shows on major networks in that small amount of time. I guess when Sam puts his mind to something, he gets it done.

Lets not forget that this lad can also sing. Sam and Clare Bowen have such great chemistry singing together, but he also does pretty well on his own.

If acting doesn’t work out he could launch a singing career, but his acting career is in high gear at the moment. I’m sure more film roles will come too.

Follow him on Twitter.

Patrick John Flueger
(Officer Adam Ruzek, Chicago P.D)

You probably don’t know his name, you might recognize his face, and so you should. He’s been in a lot of things, even if they weren’t leading roles. He’s guest starred on many TV shows, starred in ‘4400’ from 2004-2007 on the USA network, starred in ‘Spin’ alongside Katie Cassidy, ‘Footloose’ with Julianne Hough and Andie MacDowell and ‘Brothers’ with Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman and Tobey Maguire.

He’s been pretty busy and now he’s really starting to break through. He now stars on ‘Chicago P.D.’ and ratings so far are doing well. Plus he has two films that are scheduled to come out this year. He’s starring alongside Rose McGowan on an Edgar Allan Poe inspired film, ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’. He will also star in ‘San Patricios’ with Kris Kristofferson, Austin Nichols, and Beau Bridges.

His new series on NBC is just heating up, but keep an eye on the box office for his new films. All of his previous small roles are starting to produce some great roles that could really transform his career. I think this is just the beginning of a great career for Patrick.

Follow him on Twitter.

Hayden Panettiere
(Juliette Barnes, Nashville)

You know her very well, but you may not have paid to much attention to her until she became Juliette Barnes on ‘Nashville’. A lot of people are really starting to pay attention to Hayden Panettiere now. Two years in a row she has been nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as Juliette. This role is more grown up than the other roles she’s played. She’s played the teenager, now she’s an adult.

You probably know Hayden best for her role as Claire Bennet in ‘Heroes’. She was the high school cheerleader that could heal herself. But did you know that in 2002 she was in multiple episodes of ‘Ally McBeal’?

She’s graced the big screen a few times too. She’s starred in ‘Raising Helen’, ‘Ice Princess’, ‘I Love You Beth Cooper’ and ‘Scream 4’. She had pretty big roles in all of these films as well. All of these film were playing the teenager though, so maybe future film roles will show her talent as an adult, like ‘Nashville’ is doing.

Hayden plays a complex character on ‘Nashville’. Juliette grew up in a trailer park with a mother that was never there and died from a drug overdose. She now has a lot of money and a successful career until bad choices have threatened her dreams. Juliette is a more challenging role for her and she’s pulling it off well.

She’s seen good success so far and she’s showing she’s here to stay and she wants more challenging roles.

Follow her on Twitter.

Kids are screaming for ‘Squash and a Squeeze’ exhibition

A Gruffalo, a princess, a troll and a rat are proving to be extremely popular for the National Centre for Children’s Books.

A Squash and a Squeeze: Sharing Stories with Julia Donaldson, who is author of The Gruffalo, is Seven Stories’ most successful exhibition.

The display has been going since March and there have been 47,577 visitors.

More than 450,000 people have walked through Seven Stories’ doors since opening seven years ago and they have had 20 major exhibits.

Lauren Regan of Seven Stories believes that the success of A Squash and a Squeeze has to do with The Gruffalo.

“Our offices are above and we can hear kids screaming with delight,” Regan said of the huge Gruffalo that is on display below her office.

The Gruffalo was the UK’s best-selling picture book in 2000 and was adapted into a film in 2009.

The exhibition is named after Donaldson’s first book, A Squash and a Squeeze, which originally came from a song. She started out writing songs for children’s television programmes.

The exhibition shows her journey from songwriter to books and shows how her books inspire children through story, rhyme and rhythm.

Visitors can sing along to Donaldson’s songs on the jukebox, dress up and act out the books on Seven Stories’ stage, follow Toddle Waddle’s footsteps, climb into the cave with the Cave Baby and meet the Gruffalo, characters of Donaldson’s books.

The exhibition shows children how she wrote some of her books including The Gruffalo, Princess Mirror-Belle, The Troll and The Highway Rat. There is also original artwork from artists featured in Donaldson’s books, including Axel Scheffler, who created the illustrations for The Gruffalo and A Squash and a Squeeze, as well as Lydia Monks, David Roberts, Nick Sharratt, Karen George and Emily Gravett.

Mum of two Karen Ashtiani, 32, of Newcastle upon Tyne said: “There’s a lot to fuel imagination. You don’t have to know the stories. It makes you want to read the ones you haven’t and reread the ones you have.”

Her three-year-old and eight-year-old children loved dressing up as the characters from the stories, she said.

“The exhibit held their attention more than the Viking exhibit,” she added.

The exhibition, A Viking’s Guide to Deadly Dragons, is based on Cressida Cowell’s How to Train your Dragon book series, opened on October 27. This runs along side A Squash and a Squeeze.

Helen Dalby, 33, from Newcastle upon Tyne, believes that A Squash and a Squeeze is Seven Stories’ best exhibition and visited with her son Steven, 7.

“It must be good for him to watch the stories come to life. He loves The Gruffalo and Cave Baby,” she said.

Anna Marie O’Brian, 37, from Cramlington said that her daughter Eve has been asking to come back to Seven Stories since her third birthday, which was a few years ago.

She said that Eve loved A Squash and a Squeeze and her other daughter Ella loved dressing up as the mouse from The Gruffalo.

The exhibition will be on display until April 2013.

Assignment for master’s program in Portfolio I. 

How a Shakespeare play comes together

A play that was written in the 1500s is unfolding right in front your eyes like it was a modern day play, except for the fact that it’s in Shakespearean language. Have you ever wondered how that is possible?

There’s a lot that goes into putting together a Royal Shakespeare Company production.

The theme has to be chosen and the sets have to be created. The director decides on a theme for the play. Shakespeare productions have been put on numerous times, so the director has to come up with a way to make the play fresh.

Recently the RSC put on a performance of Julius Caesar set in Africa, a decision that was made by artistic director, Greg Doran.

He felt that Julius Caesar has characteristics of Africa and African politics, according to Simon Marsden, the technical director of the RSC. Doran even believes that Shakespeare might have written Julius Caesar with Africa in mind, even though the play wasn’t set in Africa at that time.

“From that starting point and from the premise of wanting to have an all-black cast the play evolved,” said Marsden.

The next step is for the director and designer to calibrate on the setting for the show.

Marsden said they would take into consideration the different elements of the play in terms of setting and create a set that can fulfil those needs.

According to the associate designer of the RSC, Tom Piper, the director will approach the designer and will either have a strong idea on how he wants the play to be done or they will just be interested in doing a certain play.

There is a lot of initial discussion that goes on between the director and designer about possible sets and scenes.

“It really depends on the relationship between the director and the designer and how that develops,” said Piper.

He said you begin by collecting lots of references like paintings, photographs, any artists you admire as a designer, particular buildings or sometimes period references of clothes or paintings, anything that inspires you in relation to the play.

Piper said that his process is to gather those items and then create sketches. Some designers create storyboards that go through each moment of the play.

He said you have to think about the amount of people in the space, if they’re going through doors or need to sit down and eventually create a three dimensional model.

“It’s not a finished version of the ideas. It’s exploring shapes and textures and often meetings with the director can change these radically, and ideas can change and develop,” said Piper.

Once you “feel you’ve got the right sort of world for the play,” you have to figure out if the creation is financially viable, he added.

Piper was approached to design the set for Much Ado About Nothing for the World Shakespeare Festival this year with the idea that the play would be set in India. He worked with director Iqbal Khan and they went to Delhi for research.

While they were in Delhi they went to an Indian wedding, toured old Delhi and met lots of interesting people that were good role models for the characters.

Piper took lots of photographs as well.

“We ended up with kind of a naturalistic looking set of an old Indian house and then it was dominated by a huge big tree that was completely tangled up with cables and old wire, like I’d seen in bits of old Delhi,” said Piper.

But, sometimes an idea for a set doesn’t work once the design is put on stage.

Piper worked on a cycle of history plays a while ago. All of the plays had been set in a medieval or renaissance setting. It was a very modern and abstract set with metal and gold with period costumes.

They had the idea of setting Richard III in the future with contemporary costumes. They wanted to cover the stage with a white dance cloth to cover the metal and give the stage an art gallery feel.

When they started technical rehearsals they realised that the concept did not work for the play. The actors felt like they were on an infinity screen where people get disconnected from everything around them. They ended up cutting it completely.

“A lot of my process, especially with directors like Michael Boyd, are about actually refining a show so that you gradually prove in a way that things are unnecessary, not helping to tell the story or are confusing,” said Piper.

The first technical rehearsals are still a creative part of the production. This takes four or five days because the actors and crew are going through the play very slowly. This is the first time the lighting designer has seen the actors and costumes. They will also run through the music and sound cues.

“Everyone’s discovering the space and how to tell the story,” said Piper.

The production crew are all working towards a deadline of opening night and Piper said it’s hard to be clear headed when you’re behind on building or something is not working. You have to make “brutal decisions” and might have to decide not to do something even though you want to.

After the play has been performed 50 or 60 times the production may go on tour. One of the places RSC travel to is their third home of the Theatre Royal in Newcastle.

“The big change is that our stages are completely different sizes and shapes,” said chief executive of the Theatre Royal, Philip Bernays.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon is a thrust stage and the Theatre Royal stage is a proscenium arch.

The RSC stage is deeper and sticks out into the audience. The Theatre Royal is a much shallower stage. This means the set has to be rebuilt.

Piper said to get the actors on the steps in the Julius Caesar set everything had to been shortened off and maybe made a little wider to fit the proscenium.

When the RSC first arrive at the Theatre Royal they have a week in the theatre before opening night. They have three or four days to put the set up and then another couple of days for technical rehearsals.

According to Bernays’, they consulted with the RSC when they completed their restoration last year and when they did work in 2006/07. They wanted to make sure they were making the right adjustments that would suit them.

The theatre is hoping to reduce the time it takes for the RSC to set up by two or three days. This is partly because the work that has been done has made it easier and quicker for them.

For the 2013 season, RSC will tour Hamlet, As You Like It and All’s Well that End’s Well.

Bernays has said they want Hamlet most of all because it sells well.

Bernays added: “We actually have very little control or influence over what show’s the RSC bring to us. They’re programming their shows for Stratford, for London, other international work and possibly touring. We’re just a part of that much bigger picture.”

Assignment for master’s program in Portfolio I. 

Local Skaters Perform in 2010 Olympics

Two local pairs skaters competed at the Olympics in their first international competition.

Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig have been skating together for eight years; they skate at Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex in the Tampa Bay area.

Evora is 25 and currently taking a break from University of South Florida for competition. Ladwig, 29, just had his first child last September.

Before they compete they have a routine that they do. “Routine is one of the things that make us really develop over these 8 years,” Ladwig said.

He said that they are a number of exercises that they do in order that they call “pillar to pillar.”

To earn their place on the Olympic team they won the silver medal at the U.S. Nationals.

This was the highest they had ever placed.

Going into the Games they were ranked 18 out of the 20 teams and their goal was getting in the top half and they succeed in doing that by placing 10th out of 20 teams.

The scores of the judges are questionable though, other teams fell while Evora and Ladwig skated a flawless short program and only a few mistakes in the long.

Someone on Facebook commented on this by posting their status saying, “There is just something wrong when you skate a clean program, but yet another pair falls twice and manages to receive 10 points higher.”

When asked how they felt about this Ladwig replies, “My performance wasn’t flawless.”

He is referring to the triple toe jump that he doubled in the long program.

He said he was very frustrated by this but can move on from this to the World Championship and maybe break a personal best if he can complete the jump.

Evora talks about Worlds too that they will compete against the same teams and no one knows how the marks will go.

“We can’t really have control how other people are judged,” Evora said. “To us we were completely happy to see that we had beaten our personal best by 22 points.”   Evora was also very happy that they accomplished their goal and said they still have room for improvement.

“There isn’t any higher place and this is the place to go for your best and we put it all on the table,” Ladwig said.

Ladwig’s favorite part of the Games was all the different people being in one place and getting to know them.

“We made friends with bobsledders from our own country but we also made good friends with speed skaters from the Netherlands,” he said.

“One of my favorite moments was personally at the opening ceremony when we got to march out to the arena,” Evora said.

She said they walked underneath the arena a whole lap before they marched in front of everyone. “Every time we had another ten steps we would start screaming ‘USA, USA!’” She said.

Ladwig said that this motivated them to skate as well as they did.

They also got to catch some of the other sports too. Ladwig got to see a curling match and the start of the bobsled men’s competition with his family.  He also saw the USA vs. Switzerland hockey game.

“I was telling everyone I must be a lucky charm, literally the first couple of events I went to go see USA won everything,” Evora said.

She saw Shani Davis win gold and Chad Hedrick win bronze in speed skating in the men’s 1000 meters.

She also saw Evan Lysacek win gold in men’s figure skating and USA beat Norway in hockey.

“Mark and I have always taken things a year at a time,” Evora said. She also said after Worlds they will take a break.

Then they will ask themselves like they do every year, “Can we still push the outer limits of our ability? Do we still want to skate?” Evora said. “And take it from there.”

Posted February 25 2010 at 12:03 am

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