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Spring 2011 Features

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Class Note: Jerre Dye
Jerre Dye
Jerre Dye
Jerre Dye (BFA), artistic director of the Voices of the South theatre company, received the 2011 Bryan Family Foundation Award for Dramatic Literature from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. The Fellowship is a not-for-profit organization that recognizes and encourages excellence in Southern literature.

Voices of the South produces new material for the stage and serves as an incubator for new work in the region. Over the last 15 years, the company has produced nearly100 new works, won many awards, performed for hundreds of thousands of children, toured around the world, received prestigious commissions, and recently debuted one of its plays Off-Broadway to rave reviews.

With VOTS, Dye has developed and directed original works like Sister Myotis, Pre-sent/Pres-ent, and many other solo and group projects. Some of his written works for the stage include Hold Fast and Cicada. Dye also has written and adapted many works for young audiences, including The Ugly Ducking, The Wild Swans, The New Adventures of Hansel and Gretel and Sid and the Magic Box. Dye is currently touring the country with Wild Legacy, a show commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska. When he is not writing, directing or performing he frequently teaches workshops across the U.S. through organizations like Heifer International.

“The Department of Theatre at the University of Memphis continues to be my touchstone, my home,” says Dye, brother of the late actor John Dye. “I owe my creative life— my skills, my passion, my curiosity for theatre and art-making – to the professors, administrative staff and colleagues from my years in the program at U of M. The training I received during those years challenged me to the core of my being. I was awakened to possibility, lifted up, put to work and given wings. The work that continues to happen every day in that space is essential.”

Voices of the South was born out of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “The program planted the seed, helped us forge our aesthetic, and applauded us every step of the way,” Dye says. “I am eternally grateful for these gifts and many more.” Of the Bryan Award, he says, “It is a stunning honor and a tremendous opportunity to move ahead in my career as a writer and theatre artist. And to be in the presence of such literary greatness? It is a dream made flesh. I am indeed a lucky man.”

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