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Alumni on national stage to celebrate Arctic Refuge
U of M professor Gloria Baxter and her troupe of traveling storytellers spent December in one of the coldest, darkest places on Earth warming the hearts of theatre goers while putting the University on the national stage.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service commissioned the theatrical group Voices of the South, made up wholly of U of M alumni, to create an original stage play for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska.

(left to right) Geoff Wood, Virginia Ralph, Jerre Dye and Alice Berry.
(left to right) Geoff Wood, Virginia Ralph, Jerre Dye and Alice Berry.
The theatrical piece pays homage to Olaus and Mardy Murie who were major players in the establishment of the Arctic Refuge, considered the crown jewel of the 552 national wildlife refuges in the United States.

Voices of the South premiered the show, Wild Legacy, in Alaska in December and the show will have its Lower 48 debut near Washington, D.C., in January, with special guests President Jimmy Carter and the Secretary of the Interior.

Baxter said the performance is one of only three major components of the national celebration of the Arctic Refuge, meaning Voices of the South landed a major coup.

Baxter, who has taught theatre at the U of M since 1965, is both playwright and stage director for Wild Legacy. The stage manager and all five cast members are graduates of the Department of Theatre and Dance: Jerre Dye (BFA ’93), Alice Berry (BFA ’94), Virginia Ralph Matthews (BFA ’98), Geoffrey Wood (BFA ’91), Michael Khanlarian (BFA ’01) and Tiffany McClung (BFA ’95).

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