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Five-Time Emmy Winner and ‘Dick Van Dyke’ Writer at UNH Nov. 15

Release Date:
10/3/2013 9:00 PM
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Oct. 3, 2013

Bill Persky, features Bill Persky

WEST HAVEN, CONN --- The UNH Theater Department will host a talk with Bill Persky, a five-time Emmy Award-winning writer who co-created “That Girl” and wrote many episodes of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” The  public is invited to attend the free event on Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. at University Theater in Dodds Hall on the UNH main campus, 300 Boston Post Road.

Persky will discuss his lengthy career and his craft and will likely tell a few tales about the writers’ rooms he worked in. Jonathan Yukich, a lecturer in the theater department, said the evening promises to be fascinating and laugh-out-loud fun. He describes Persky as “...extremely funny....not only an artist but a highly successful artist.”  Persky is a monthly guest lecturer in “Devising for the Stage,” a course Yukich is teaching, where students find innovative ways to improvise and adapt texts for the stage. Persky works with students on developing characters and the many kinds of complications and ensuing hijinks that make audiences laugh. 

“Bringing someone from television to the course shows that there are fundamentals that all dramatic narratives share,” he said. In one of the course projects, students may choose to adapt part of Persky’s memoir, “My Life is a Situation Comedy,” for the stage.

Persky’s extensive credits include writing 22 television pilots and five films and directing 100 episodes of “Kate and Allie.” He has lectured at Yale University and the NYU Film School and contributes to Time magazine and USA Today.

Rachel Anderson-Rabern, assistant professor and director of the UNH theater program, said it is quite an opportunity to connect with artists with a huge body of knowledge and wealth of experience.

“Bill offers a window into a breadth of performance practices,” she said. “HIs career is intensely inspiring, moving and sometimes hilarious. HIs willingness to share his ongoing work with UNH is rare and special.”

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University operates a satellite campus in Tuscany, Italy, and offers programs at several locations throughout Connecticut and in New Mexico and California. UNH provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. The University enrolls approximately 6,400 students, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and College of Lifelong & eLearning, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.