To Do: Victorian history and UAFS Theatre ‘Carnage’

by The City Wire staff ( 3 views 

History, theatre “carnage,” a Broadway tutorial and an autism hero are part of the arts and events landscape in the Fort Smith region for the next few weeks.

Dr. Lyndsy Lawrence, a faculty member at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, will share details of late 1800s popular culture in America at the Feb. 24 “Clayton Conversations” through a presentation on popular literature of the time.

The program, held at the Clayton House in Fort Smith, begins at 2 p.m.

A professor specializing in 19th century British literature, Lawrence will discuss the famous St. Nicholas illustrated magazine for young people, published from 1873 to 1940, that had a massive readership of ages 5 to 18 on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lawrence says interest in studying the Victorian era should come naturally to local history enthusiasts.

“This area was established in the mid- to late-Victorian period,” she said of Fort Smith, “so the Victorian era is a part of our cultural history. Reading magazines and newspapers of the Victorian era can show us just how similar our popular cultures are. And having an actual Victorian house like the Clayton House is really a gift, because it allows us a visual and tactile entrance to the era.”

Seating is limited, and reservations are made by calling 783-3000 or emailing A $5 donation is suggested.

The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith will host on March 5 the national touring show, Neil Berg’s “102 Years of Broadway,” which recreates portions of Broadway’s most well-known and celebrated shows.

The show, which has been called “two and a half hours of fun that creates a well-balanced blend of sublime and lighthearted Broadway tunes,” is included in Season of Entertainment 32 sponsored by the University. The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. at the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center at the Fort Smith Convention Center, 55 S. 7th St.

“102 Years of Broadway,” delivers actual performing stars from shows such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables,” “South Pacific,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Jekyll & Hyde.”

Stacey Jones of Fort Smith, UAFS associate vice chancellor for campus and community events, said the public will enjoy the brilliantly revived arrangements of Broadway classics as well as thrilling numbers from Broadway’s newest hit shows.
“You can’t beat the value of this popular show and top tier cast that brings the finest nationally-acclaimed leading cast to our Fort Smith venue,” Jones said. “This is a great show for the whole family to see and hear.”

Tickets are $30 and $27 and are available at this website or by calling the box office at 788-7300.

Theatre students at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith will present “God of Carnage,” a play by French playwright Yasmina Reza, on March 7, 8 and 9.

The show is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Breedlove Auditorium and is rated for audiences age 16 and over, according to Bob Stevenson of Fort Smith, UAFS associate professor of theatre arts and director of theatre.
“This is a play about two pairs of parents,” Stevenson said. “One couple’s child has hurt the other couple’s child at a public park. The two couples meet to discuss the matter in a civilized manner, however, as the evening goes on, the parents become increasingly childish, resulting in the evening evolving into chaos. Some parts are very dark, and some parts are very funny.”
The show’s director is Stuart Campbell of Longview, Texas. He is a senior theatre major.
“This play is extremely challenging, not only to direct but to act as well,” said Campbell. He explained that the play is filled with questions the actors present and the audience is compelled to consider.
The cast includes Megan King of Cabot, Hannah Lovins and Shawn Mann of Fort Smith and Cory Wray of Perry.
Tickets are $6 and are available at this website or by calling the box office at 788-7300.

The First Tee of Fort Smith will be host a "Sportsmanship Banquet" on March 7 to highlight the Nine Core Values.

Special guest speaker will be Keith Jackson. Jackson is a Little Rock native, a Razorback color analyst and and a Super Bowl XXXI Champion with the Green Bay Packers.

Along with Jackson's athletic achievements, he is also the president of P.A.R.K. (Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids), a Little Rock youth organization. He is a renowned motivational speaker and will be speaking on the importance of youth involvement in our community.
Tickets are $25 per person on advance, $250 for a Reserved Table of 8 or $30 the day of the event. The event is set to begin at 6 p.m. with a social hour, and will be held at the Fianna Hills Country Club.
For more info, contact Kris Scott at 648-9833, email at

Dr. Temple Grandin, one of the nation’s leading authorities on autism, will speak in Fort Smith at 5:30 p.m. March 11 at Stubblefield Center on the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith campus as part of the “Read This!” community read.

Fort Smith’s community read is sponsored by the UAFS English Department and is intended to foster community literacy and provide a common topic of thought and conversation for people throughout the community.

Grandin, who is also an expert on humane handling of livestock, was diagnosed as autistic at an early age. Through relentless effort, she earned a doctorate in animal science. Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University and has been the subject of a popular movie. Her UAFS talk, which is free and open to the public, is titled, “An Evening with Dr. Temple Grandin.”

Other activities surrounding Read This! include a March 4 community screening of the HBO movie "Temple Grandin," a biopic that shows how she overcame the challenges of autism to become one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry. The screening will be held in the Reynolds Room of the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center.

Grandin will conduct a book signing following her presentation on March 11.
Grandin has written several books about autism, her most recent being “Different … Not Less.” This work is a collection of commentaries by 14 contributors. Each of the contributors creates a collage of the childhood and adult experiences that have made them the individuals they are today.
Grandin carefully chose a cross section of men and women with Asperger’s syndrome from fields of medicine, art, technology and sales, and from various western cultures including Australia and Scotland. Different life situations including rural, urban, religious and non-religious upbringings are also included. The book reveals the similar social, communication and sensory challenges that people with Asperger’s confront, despite varied backgrounds.
Grandin concludes the book with her own chapter about how to find work opportunities. She reiterates that people with autism need alternatives to interviews (a weakness for people with communication challenges), mentors, early experiences that develop the work ethic and, by all means, they should take advantage of social media to show off their portfolios.

Although admission to “An Evening withTemple Grandin” is free and open to the public, tickets are required. Tickets are available only at the UAFS Box Office in the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center. Tickets for groups of 20 people or more must be obtained by March 4. No tickets will be available at Stubblefield, and tickets cannot be mailed.