Category Archives: Rothrock Residencies

Rothrock Residencies


The Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts, established in 2011, supports opportunities that broaden the scope of Middlebury students’ experience in the performing arts.   The “Rothrock Residencies” assist the series in its goal of creating greater connection between Middlebury students and our visiting artists.

The fund supports series residencies as well as the
Student Supported Rothrock Residency program
in which students can propose an artist residency themselves.

Examples from the 2016-2017 season include:

  • Actor and playwright Roger Guenveur Smith lead a theatre class for Prof. Alex Draper’s “Voice of the Actor” course, attended the weekly theatre dept. lunch, and hosted a brunch discussion following his two performances of “Rodney King”
  • The Belcea Quartet lead a lecture/demonstration of Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” quartet for Prof. Peter Hamlin’s Diatonic theory class.
  • Pianist Gloria Chien—of Sophie Shao and Friends—gave a master class to pianists Gloria Breck ’17 and Gareth Corgery ’20.
  • Persian music ensemble Constantinpole lead a public pre-concert lecture/demonstration about their unique collaboration with special guest kanun player Didem Başar.
  • Jazz pianist Jean-Michel Pilc gave a public lecture/demonstration entitled “The Art and Heart of Improvisation” and lead a master class for jazz combos
  • Composer Pierre Jalbert accompanied the Morgenstern Piano Trio to Middlebury to offer a pre-concert lecture on his work the trio performed, and stayed to work with Prof. Su Lian Tan’s Music 2 class on serial compositions. The Morgenstern Trio itself visited Professor Hamberlin’s Intro to Western Music on Robison Hall stage.
  • American roots composer and violinist Jenny Scheinman visited Film & Media Culture class Sight & Sound I, taught by Natasha Ngaiza, before later coaching student folk duo Milo Stanley ‘17.5 and Aidan O’Brien ’20.
  • The Doric String Quartet (our free Sunderman concert ensemble) provided one-on-one coaching for student composer Kean Haunt ’17, offering him insight into quartet techniques and offering feedback on his work-in-progress.
  • Maree ReMalia (our Mellon choreographer-in-residence) and her company merrygogo lead our most robust residency of the year including movement workshops and master classes; Gaga classes; visits to Costume Design, Creative Process, Environmental Studies, Electronic Music, and Sociology courses; a “Healing from Trauma” workshop for MiddSafe; plus, a meet-up with the Chicago Posse.
  • The Brentano String Quartet spent an early Saturday morning reading through and recording serial compositions written by Professor Tan’s Music 2 class, as well as Kean Haunt’s final work, in conjunction with their Bach Festival performance.
  • Soprano Dawn Upshaw lead a vocal master class with four Middlebury College students, which the public was invited to observe.

Our sincerest thanks to the Rothrock Family for making these activities possible.
To learn more, contact Allison at



Student Rothrock

Student-Supported Rothrock Residencies

Do you have an artist or group that you’ve always wanted to work with? A Dancer, musician, filmmaker, actor, choreographer, playwright, arts administrator or technician, to name a few examples?

Do you want to be part of a larger conversation about the arts at Middlebury and expose your peers to someone amazing?

Now is your chance to bring artists to campus!

The Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts, established in 2011, supports opportunities that broaden the scope of Middlebury students’ experience in the performing arts.  The fund provides a pool of dollars for students to bring one artist/ensemble/company to campus for student-oriented residency activities.

Student-Supported Rothrock Residency (SSRR) proposals are due in mid-November (to present the artist the same academic year), and any Middlebury student may apply.

PASS Scholars get first notice to apply, and ultimately vote on the winning student proposal. It is free for students to join PASS, so consider joining and have a greater voice in the process!

Please fill out the attached proposal form below, and return it to by the deadline. (Friday, November 9, 2018.)

Rothrock 18-19 Student Proposal Form (.doc format)

Rothrock 18-19 Student Proposal Form (.pdf format)

This opportunity is made possible through the generosity of the Rothrock Family–whose son Nathaniel ’12, was active in Theatre and Music–to ensure students have access to the visiting artists who bring their talents to our campus through the Performing Arts Series and our various arts programs.

Questions can be directed to or you can ask our PAS intern.

Examples of previous SSRR winning projects include:

Noa Zuk and Ohad Fishof
February 19-26, 2017
Proposing students: Andrew Pester ’17 and Mandy Kimm ’17

Israeli artists Noa Zuk and Ohad Fishof have done extraordinary work in the fields of dance, visual art, electronic music, and film, and spent their week-long Middlebury residency leading Gaga and Repertory workshops, Gaga People master classes, an Electronic Music class lecture, plus a closing lecture/demonstration. The artists also shared their perspectives on living and working as artists in Israel.

Rotimi Agbabiaka (theatre)
March 14-16, 2017
Proposing student: Akhila Khanna ’17

Rotimi Agbabiaka offered a theatre master class entitled “Techniques of Telling your own Story” and performed his self-written, one-man show ‘Type/Caste’—tracing his own struggles of being a Nigerian, queer man pursuing an acting career in the US.

Photo credits: Middlebury students pictured with the following artists (from top to bottom of post) CRASH ARTS (2015), Noa Zuk and Ohad Fishof (2017), and Rotimi Agbabiaka (2017).


Rotimi Agbabiaka: Student-Initiated Rothrock Residencies 2017

Rotimi Agbabiaka’s Middlebury visit is a student-initiated residency spearheaded by Akhila Khanna ’17, supported by the Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts, established in 2011, which supports opportunities that broaden the scope of Middlebury students’ experiences in the performing arts. This residency is also supported by Chellis House–Women’s Resource Center, Women of Color, and Q&A: Queers and Allies.

March 9, Thursday

Performed by Rotimi Agbabiaka

8:00 PM, Wilson Hall, McCullough Student Center

A queer, black actor dreams of a dazzling career on the American stage but first he’ll have to leap over obstacles placed by an industry that isn’t always welcoming to applicants who are neither white nor straight.  Based on Rotimi Agbabiaka’s real life experience as a professional actor, Type/Caste is a fast paced and humorous journey into the peaks, pitfalls and hallucinations of a young artist’s quest for success in a gentrified and commercialized industry. Agbabiaka shape-shifts from character to character and uses monologue, song, dance, and drag to embody, explore, and expose the battles minority artists fight in the exclusive world of mainstream American theatre. Hailed as “a spectacular, neon-drenched coup-de-theatre” by 48 Hills magazine. Agbabiaka’s Middlebury visit is a student-initiated residency spearheaded by Akhila Khanna ’17, supported by the Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts, Chellis House–Women’s Resource Center, Women of Color, and Q&A: Queers and Allies. Free. Open to Middlebury ID card holders only.

March 10, Friday
Master Class by Rotimi Agbabiaka: Techniques of Telling your own Story

2:00-5:00 PM, MCA Room 232

Actor/writer/director Rotimi Agbabiaka offers a theatre master class for Middlebury College students following his Type/Caste performance the previous evening. Free. Middlebury ID card holders can sign up here>> to participate. 

Artist website>>

Artist bio:
Rotimi Agbabiaka was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to Katy, Texas at the age of fourteen where he stumbled upon a theatre audition while waiting for his mom to pick him up after school. He got cast in the pivotal role of “Hotel Clerk” in Douglas Carter Beane’s “As Bees In Honey Drown” and has never looked back.

After studying English, Economics and Plan II at the University of Texas – Austin, Rotimi reliquinshed all plans for future financial stability and braved the frozen cornfields of the mid-west to earn an MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University.

He then moved to sometimes sunny San Francisco where he has performed in a variety of venues – from historical musical revues (Beach Blanket Babylon) to local parks (with the San Francisco Mime Troupe) to museums (The DeYoung) to reknowned regional theatres (Cal Shakes, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre) to smaller local companies and the occasional nightclub.

He has written a solo play, Homeless, that won Best Solo Performance at the SF Fringe Festival, directed plays in the SF One Minute Play Festival, writes articles for Theatre Bay Area , and teaches youth theatre programs through San Francisco Shakespeare Company, Each One Reach One, and the SF Mime Troupe, where he is a Collective Member.


Rothrock Residencies 2011-2012

When we learned that a gift had been made to help support Performing Arts Series residencies, and ensure Middlebury students would have greater access to our visiting artists, we were thrilled!

The Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts, established in 2011, supports opportunities that broaden the scope of Middlebury students’ experience in the performing arts.

Residencies for the 2011-12 seasons: (click on the photos to enlarge the images)

January 13, 2012
Pianist Rustem Hayroudinoff worked with students in Professor Su Lian Tan’s composition class and recorded their works. Scheduled for a 3 hour session, Hayroudinoff generously gave the entire day to provide feedback and recordings to the students participating.

February 16, 2012
Balla Kouyate and World Vision presented a lecture/demonstration for Professor Damascas Kafumbe’s Intro to World Music class.  After Kouyate spoke about his family’s musical legacy and demonstrated the ensemble’s various instruments, the students started a lively discussion with Kouyate about his music and culture. The students then spent informal time with Kouyate celebrating his birthday.

March 6-10, 2012
Cellist David Darling‘s visit to campus was the first “student-initiated” Rothrock Residency.  It was a jam-packed week, which included…

  • Music, Meditation, and Yoga with Russell Comstock and David Darling, co-sponsored with the Yoga Club
  • Open music jam with students, faculty, and staff
  • “Music and the Environment” lecture as part of the Spring 2012 Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium Series
  • David Darling in Concert (free)
  • Improvising Together: Music and Dancing

A student violinist, who had not played for a while but found success playing in Darling’s more improvisational style, is again performing (thanks to Darling’s encouragement during his residency) and sent the following message…

“I had an excellent time this afternoon working with David Darling and I wanted to thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of that experience.  I really feel as though I took a lot from his teaching!”

March 15, 2012
Choreographer Kyle Abraham and his dance company Abraham.In.Motion led a vigorous master class in intermediate technique for our students, and also presented a lunchtime lecture/demonstration investigating Abraham’s creative process and introducing elements of their touring work, The Radio Show.

April 9-10, 2012
Dancer/filmmaker Erika Randall was in residence for two days, and along with presenting a lecture/demonstration about her experiences with choreography from both  dance performance and film perspectives, she taught a modern technique master class to our dance students, and offered a screening of her film, Leading Ladies.

All in all, a very successful first year.  Next year will also include theatre and jazz residencies as well.