Conceived by Professor Matthew Campbell and William Connor of the Texas A&M School of Performing, Visualization, and Fine Arts, Lorefest 2023 was pitched as a Fall performance event that would:
“The first annual Lorefest will bring together students, faculty and visiting artists for a weekend of spooky storytelling. Featuring “B” movies, puppets, red carpet monsters, and an historical ghost walk, the festival will immerse visitors in creative presentations centering stories drawn from local folklore.”-Lorefest Team
Professor joey of the Media & Gaming Lab would join their team to help with documentation and planning. Together the team would apply for multiple grants and funding, securing grants and funding from:
- TAMU Performance Visualization and Fine Arts
- TAMU Institute of Data Science
- TAMU Race, Ethnicity Studies Institute
Story Telling Sessions – Frame Gallery
The Story Telling Sessions was held at the Frame Gallery in Downtown Bryan, a frame shop and gallery that also hosts art happenings. We cannot thank the Frame Gallery enough for all their help and accommodations. The story telling was performed by PERF 301 students in both Professor Connor and Campbells sections. Additional support with puppetry was by guest artist Victoria Snaith, who hosted puppetry workshops with students. The puppets were then integrated into the story telling pieces and also featured during the Saturday event. The stories themselves were developed by the students with the facilitation of Professor Campbell and Connor providing prompts for them to spring board from, as well as letting the students choose their own stories. The students then conducted ethnographic interviews for their stories in order to obtain further insight into them. The stories could be regional or from their own places they call home. The results were amazing and very entertaining, while informative about various cultures.
Film Festival – The Village Cafe Downtown
The Film Festival was slated to take place at the Queen Theater, but once it was discovered our crowd was much larger than their capacity, we were very lucky to have Kristy, the owner of the Village Cafe Downtown facilitate us in her space. The results were amazing with student’s films being exhibited along with live music accompaniment. The films featured included works from guest film maker Shun Lee Fong, Aggie SWAMP Club, and PERF301 students from both Professor Connor and Campbell sections. In addition to the films featured, live musical accompaniment was composed and performed by the PERF 318 electronic composition music class, taught by Professor Connor.
Ghost Walk, Gala & Puppetry
Held at the Village Cafe and Vino Boheme, Saturday’s festivities included a Gala with a student cultural food event, movie screenings, puppetry theatre, guided Ghost Walk and Puppetry Parade. The food event was integrated into the PERF301 courses where students pitched and brought various dishes with cultural contextualization for attendees to enjoy. The Ghost Walk was developed in the PERF301 courses by teams of students who would develop a ghost story based off prompts or their own ideas and then perform the story on locations throughout downtown Bryan. The attendees would then go on a docent led Ghost Walk hosted by Victoria Snaith. Film screens and puppetry were also included in the nights festivities, again developed by students in the PERF301 sections Professors Connor & Campbell teach. Lastly a Puppetry Parade was performed. guest puppetry maker Victoria Snaith and students who created puppets paraded their creations throughout the space.
Conclusion & Take Aways
Lorefest 2023 was a huge success and it wouldn’t have been possible with so many different points of support, Kristy of the Village Cafe, Missy of the Frame Gallery, Dr. Connor and Dr. Campbell for putting envisioning the event, the production crew of PVFA (Jeff Watson and Jam Martinez) and the Media & Gaming Lab crew, plus all the students who put their heart and soul into their projects and production.
Stay tuned for the full project documentation on the official Lorefest website that will document all the projects, their origins and much more through text, photo, video and mapping. This website is something we hope to reach the general academic and lore enthusiast communities alike.