Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Pocket Playhouse Prepares for its 2009 Spring Season

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The Pocket Playhouse is the University of Oregon student-run theatre. An independent theatre, the Pocket Playhouse gives students the chance to act, direct, design and produce original work.

Each 10-week term the Pocket Playhouse announces its latest season, usually consisting of four to five shows. The volume of fresh material provides students the opportunity to refine their skills or explore their capabilities in a low-stress environment.

The Pocket Playhouse’s spring season includes two scripts written by Eugene locals and a Japanese Performance Art Club devised piece.

In addition to the full season of shows, The Pocket Playhouse also produces the Plays on One Page Festival or more commonly referred to as P.O.O.P. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to submit their plays to the Pocket Office, located in Villard Hall. Plays must be submitted by Friday, June 5, 2009. The P.O.O.P Festival premiers Saturday, June 6, 2009. More information will be posted closer to the performance date.

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Photo courtesy of Pocket Playhouse Facebook Page

I recently had the chance to sit down with Ryan Primm, who is the Pocket Playhouse Chairman. Here is what he had to say about last years P.O.O.P Festival:

My favorite part of being on the Pocket Board last year was working with the P.O.O.P. Festival. I saw tons of people enjoying food, nice weather and hysterical entertainment on the EMU Lawn.”

All shows have a $1 suggested donation and take place in the Pocket Theatre at the University of Oregon’s Villard Hall. Shows start promptly at 5pm and typically run Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Where to find more info:
Check out the Pocket Playhouse Theatre page on Facebook!
Check soon for a Pocket Playhouse Twitter account!

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The Pros and Cons of Ditching the Traditional Print Newspaper

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With the recent closure of the Rocky Mountain News, it has made many question the fate of traditional print newspapers. An insightful post from PRWeek, titled “Print Closure Hastens Move to New Media,” warns that if other newspapers do not alter their business model quickly, they too might “follow the newspaper into extinction.”

This week I’ve decided to compile a pros/cons list on the switch from traditional print newspapers to online news sources.

The Pros:

Information 24/7: Unlike waiting until the morning to read the latest stories, the Internet has made information instantly available. It has made me wonder, do journalists ever sleep? Take a look at Google News for example, which gives readers the option to search and browse 25,000 news sources updated continuously.

Available in a wide variety of formats: News can be read on a blog or via a Twitter feed; you can listen to news stories on podcasts and online radio programs; and browse through countless search engines.

Accessible to a more diverse demographic: Some people are put off by the newspaper’s traditional format. The wide variety of news formats via the Internet makes information more accessible to people of all tastes and styles. Given they have Internet access…

The forests like it!: While the energy used in powering our computers makes its own environmental impact, at least the burden felt by our forests will be lessened by the disappearance of the conventional newspaper.

The Cons:

Lack of community-focused stories—One of my favorite features of my hometown’s newspaper, The Oregonian, is the community-focused stories; the stories about normal people in my neighborhood doing remarkable things. I can’t “Google” these kinds of stories.

Tired eyes: You know the feeling—hours behind a computer can make anyone’s eyes go crazy.

Eliminates jobs: In the midst of this terrible economy, the last thing anyone wants is to be laid-off from a job; however, when a newspaper shuts down, many people from journalists to photographers and distributors to PR professionals are left jobless.

Crossword: I’ll be honest— The NY Times Crossword is one of my favorite features of any print newspaper. I love sitting down with a cup of coffee and struggling over the daily crossword. It’s a way I pass the time when I’m traveling or waiting for class to start. Trust me, I’ve tried online crossword puzzles and nothing beats the satisfaction of inking your answers on paper.

Credibility? In the PR Newsweek article, “Print Closure Hastens Move to New Media,” it quotes Louis Richmond, CEO of Seattle-based Richmond Public Relations, when he says, “The newspapers have credibility; the blogs are getting credibility, but they haven’t reached it yet.”

What are the pros/cons that come to your mind when comparing a print newspaper to online news? How do you read your news? What are your thoughts on the current state of the traditional print newspaper?

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Sticky PowerPoint Presentations

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Before taking public relations courses at the University of Oregon, I didn’t give too much thought to PowerPoint presentations. I blew them off as simple slideshows, with boring backgrounds and too much text. However, I recently started to see PowerPoint presentations that are catchy, clever and

informative. In the words of Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the NY Times Bestseller, Made to Stick, I was starting to see sticky PowerPoint presentations.

This week I will be presenting a PowerPoint presentation of my own to my advanced PR writing class, taught by Kelli Matthews. For my presentation, I am trying to combine the tools that I’m reading about in Made to Stick and the great tips that I came across from a Slide:ology blog post titled, “Lessons from TED: Five simple Tweaks.”

The Slide:ology post lists 5 simple ways to improve a PowerPoint presentation:

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1. Use a custom background

2. Choose your fonts wisely

3. Use animations and transitions appropriately

4. One idea per slide

5. Take care of your images

If I had more time to create my PowerPoint presentation, I would seriously consider buying the book, Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations.

In the meantime, as I prepare for my presentation, here is a list of tips that I find particularly helpful when creating a PowerPoint.

  1. Write a killer outline: Because no one wants to read a page of text on a slide, it’s important that your ideas are organized clearly and concisely. This will also help when it’s time to give the presentation—you already have your talking points!
  2. Choose pictures that enhance the text: I think a good photo can make or break a slide.
  3. Select text color wisely. It’s important that your words can be easily read on a slide. I have found that my eyes struggle to read a slide with a dark background and light text.
  4. Be sticky! Read Made to Stick and use its ideas to enhance your PowerPoint.
  5. Have fun! The PowerPoint presentations that I find the most engaging are led by someone who loves to share their content. The topic may be a snore, but your PowerPoint presentation doesn’t have to be.

I hope this post helps you out the next time you create a PowerPoint Presentation. Do you have tips that are not found on the lists above? What’s an example of a fantastic PowerPoint presentation you have seen recently?

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Eugene on Stage: The Theatre Scene

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Photograph: Jens N Rgaard Larsen/AFP/Getty Images

Photograph: Jens N Rgaard Larsen/AFP/Getty Images

If you’ve ever spent a winter in Oregon, you know that the rainy and gloomy weather can really take its toll. The dark mornings, wet socks, frizzy hair and perpetual rainfall are not exactly my idea of paradise. One of my favorite ways to combat the winter blues (or any kind of blues for that matter) is to go to the theatre.

I absolutely love this quote from Portland Center Stage:

Theater brings us together, to sit near one another, to hear stories, to lift our voices in song. Theater creates worlds like no others; its immediacy cannot be duplicated; its intensity cannot be matched. A playwright’s miraculous words, directed with insight and acted with passion, elicit laughter, sorrow, astonishment, enlightenment, inspiration. Suddenly, we are not alone.

This week, I’ve decided to list a few of the shows that are currently running (or about to open) in the Eugene area.

As You Like It
Written by: William Shakespeare
Directed by: Jack Watson
Feb. 27- March 14
Location: Hope Theatre at the University of Oregon
Tickets

Altar Boyz
Directed by: Joe Zingo
Presented by the Actors Cabaret of Eugene
March 6- March 8
Location: Soreng Theater at the Hult Center
Tickets

Rabbit Hole
Written by: David Lindsay-Abaire
February 27 – March 21
Location: The Lord Leebrick Theatre
Tickets

A Little Night Music
Written by: Stephen Sondheim
Director: Michael P. Watkins
March 13- April 4
Location: The Very Little Theatre
Tickets

*If you happen to game for the two-hour commute from Eugene to Portland, here are two must-see shows playing in downtown Portland:

Wicked
Winner of the Tony Award for best Broadway musical
March 4- April 5
Location: Keller Auditorium
Tickets

The Importance of Being Ernest
Written by: Oscar Wilde
Feb. 24 -March 29
Location: Portland Center Stage
Tickets

I hope these links inspire you to see a show. Do you know of any other hot theatre tickets that are currently available in the Eugene or Portland community? I’d love to hear about them!

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