Performing Arts Department to host pre-show panels

For the first time in the school’s history, the Palomar Performing Arts Department is pouring the realms of  art, communication and news into one cup of coffee.

The department is introducing four informal discussion panels, known as “Coffee Talks,” over the course of
the school year to examine topics relevant to the performances’ themes.

“It’s something we as teachers naturally want to do, which is get the audience to be in a frame of mind
where they are ready to think about what they’re watching,” said Christopher Sinnott, assistant professor of Palomar’s technical theater and design and coffee talks moderator. “We want to have a guided conversation where we can get the entire audience prepped to watch the show and help make the topics a little more poignant so audience members are more engaged while watching.”

There will be one panel per show with coffee provided.The free discussions are open to the public and Palomar students’ friends and family.They will occur on one evening during the middle of a show’s 10-day run and will begin two hours prior to curtain.

Each panel will feature Sinnott, as well as the show’s director and various Palomar faculty members whose backgrounds will provide expertise in the topics of discussion.

Advanced performing arts students will also assist the panel.They will help start conversations and provide technical assistance to the panelists.  In addition, they will be required to write a paper on the topic of discussion.

The first panel will occur at 6 p.m. on Oct. 5 prior to a performance of “Paragon Springs.” The topic of conversation up for discussion is global warming. 

Palomar Earth Sciences distinguished professor Alan Trujillo is slated to sit on the panel.Trujillo is co-author of the textbook “Essentials of Oceanography,” and will bring his knowledge of climate change to
the discussion. 

“These panels are an interesting idea,” Trujillo said.“Even though some of the other topics are outside my realm, I come from a scientific background. I hope to address concerns and questions about global warming because I’ve done the research and done the studies.”

With future topics ranging from cellular communication to abortion, Sinnott and the performing arts faculty are trying to stay as pertinent as they can to topics that students and adults should openly discuss.

“As a community college, these are the kinds of issues and topics we really should be exploring,” Trujillo said. 

Even though this is the inaugural year and the Coffee Talks are still in the process of being put
together, Sinnott has high aspirations for the discussions.

“The ideal goal is to videotape and live stream the discussions with a running chat screen so those who are watching online will be able to take part in the discussion,” he said. “We’re really hoping this is something that takes off and we can continue every year.”

To find the schedule for the Coffee Talks, follow this link: http://www2.palomar.edu/performinghearts/?page_id=1073=

Author: Hayley Elwood

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