No Shame YAV

No Shame Theatre is a national network of venues presenting short original performance pieces. In its twenty year history No Shame has been the showcase for the early work of many award winning writer/performers. The format is very simple, just write an original, short performance piece of any type (drama, comedy, mime, magic, poetry, song, etc.) and perform it in an atmosphere where risk taking is encouraged and fear of failure is never an obstacle to attempting success.

Distinguished No Shame alums include Jeff Goode, Rebecca Gilman, Ruth Margraff, Sean Clark, Toby Huss, Megan Gogerty, Kieth Blaney, Erin Quinn Purcell, Greg Jackson, Frank Ensenberger, Karen Gordon, Stuart Sherman, John Leguizamo, Camryn Manheim, Peter Ullian, Brett Neveu, Jonathan Price, Samir Saboura, Leila Sbitani, Levy Lee Simon, Chuck Sklar, D.B. Woodside, Lisa Schlesinger, Naomi Wallace, Todd Alcott, Shem Bitterman, Janet Bogardus, Robert Caisley, Dan Coffey, David Dannenfelser, Noemi De La Puente, Steve Feffer, Rod Ferrone, Joshua James, Gina Kaufmann, Bonnie Metzgar, Matt Mitler, Amy Lynn Pigott, Eric A. Pot, Julie Sheehan, Hal Ackerman, Eeva Kurki, and Douglas Scott Hessler.

No Shame YAV is a residency program that is designed expose students to live theatrical performance, instruction in writing for the stage, and acting lessons--all in a low risk experiential learning environment.

Performances by NSYAV will have a wide variety of content including sketch comedy, dramatic scenes, monolgoues, music, song, movement, maskwork, magical illusions, and improvisation. Students will then create their own original short performance pieces through guided writing excercises with the visiting company. The residency will culminate in a rehearsed performance of the student's work for peer evaluation and moderated group discussion.

The residency is designed to encourage critical thinking, creative writing, public speaking skills, and team building through the collaborative nature of the artform.

The residency can be performed in a single session, or as needed, extended over several sessions in a single semester. Obviously, the more time alloted for each segment, the greater the benefit to the students.



1) Performance: The performance segment will include approximately 10 short, representative No Shame pieces. These pieces are designed to be audience approrpiate and will include a broad range of performance options, such as comedy, dance, drama, monologue, character study, mime, puppetry, poetry, song, music, etc. A post performance discussion allows the students to interact with the company and to ask questions based on the material seen and the way in which it was presented. The rationale is to expose students to the broad range of possible expressions that can be viewed in theatres, as well as the possible avenues of expression available to the the student. Time: Approx. 50-60 minutes

2) Writing for performance: This segment includes guided writing exercises intended to be performed on the stage. The exercises are intended to encourage the student to experiment with different types of writing including monologues, scenes, poetry, and song. Special instruction will be given to distinguish writing for performance from other types of writing. The rationale is to demystify the process of creating original expressions, and to open the door through which the private can become the public, which is the underlying premise of all artistic expression. Students will do in class work and be given "homework" for further independent writing examples. Time: Variable: 1-3 hours


3) Rehearsal: Students will read their original writing and be guided in aspects of performance. The company will assist in casting and rehearsing the original pieces created by the students, and help to coordinate the collection of performance pieces into a unified presentation of the work for their peers. The rationale is to familiarize the student with the transition of their work from private creation to public performance. They will learn basic stagecraft, fundamentals of acting, and the role of the audience as well as consideration of audience in terms of approrpriate material. Students will be able to clearly state what their intention is for the piece, how to exectute it, and to objectively examine their progress toward their goal. Time: Variable 1-3 hours


4) Performance: Once their pieces have been crafted into a final form, and they have rehearsed them to their satisfaction students will then present the collected works as a unified public performance either for their student peers or a mixed audience including friends and family. Members of the company will then conduct a moderated discussion of the production. The rationale is to bring the students full circle by becoming what they observed in the first segment. Students will have travelled through all the stages of bringing new work to life on the stage: Inspiration, Creation, Rehearsal, and Performance. The benefit of the post performance discussion is to learn from audience reaction beyond mere applause, and to reinforce in the minds of the students that they have, through this experience, earned the legitimate mantle of artist for themselves. Time: Approx. 1.5 to 2 hours depending on number of student pieces and length of discussion.


The No Shame Irregulars

A core group of No Shame writer/performers from Mill Mountain Theatre who will perform representative and audience approrpriate No Shame pieces, and also conduct workshop sessions in writing and performance. These members have been chosen to give a broad range of example writing and performance types, including comedy, drama, poetry, songwriting, and improvisation. All the members participated in the National Best of No Shame productions at the Piccolo Spoleto festival in Charleston, SC, in both 2004 and 2005. Company Members include:

Todd Wm. Ristau (playwright/actor/director) created the first No Shame in 1986, helped establish No Shames in major cities around the country, and currently is No Shame director at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke. Todd is a graduate of the Iowa Playwright's Workshop and has had his work produced internationally, including London's West End. He currently teaches theatre courses at Mary Baldwin College. He has many years experience in theatre education at all age and experience levels.

Laura Tuggle Anderson (writer/actor/improvisation) has a BA in Theatre, Creative Writing, and Visual Art from Hollins University, where she is currently Associate Director of Development and Alumnae Communications. Laura is co-creator of Big Lick Conspiracy, an improvisation group sponsored by Mill Mountain Theatre's Underground Roanoke series. She is frequently seen on the Mill Mountain Theatre stage, as well as Attic Productions of Botetourt County.

John Bryant (writer/actor/improvisation/song/musician) is a graduate of the theatre program at Virginia Tech and interned with Mill Mountain Theatre where he was in several main stage productions and toured public schools with productions like School House Rock. He currently teaches at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke.

Robb Rouse (poetry/actor/improvisation) is a veteran of the slam poetry circuit and co-creator of Big Lick Conspiracy for Mill Mountain Theatre.

Nelson Oliver (illusionist) is a goth illusionist whose magic routines and bizarre appearance have made him one of the most popular of acts at Mill Mountain Theatre's No Shame.