Five New Graduates Awarded Hubbard Hutchinson Fellowships

Media contact: Gregory Shook, director of media relations; tele: 413-597-3401; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., July 8, 2020—The Williams College Office of Fellowships has awarded Hubbard Hutchinson Memorial Fellowships to five class of 2020 graduates pursuing careers in the arts: Caroline Fairweather (theater), Panalee Maskati (dance), Theodore McNally (writing), Alexandra Medeiros (music), and Sydney Rainer (art).

The Hubbard Hutchinson Memorial Fellowship is a cash award established in 1940 that is granted to a member or members of the graduating class to support their continued work in the creative and performing arts. Prizes of $25,000 are awarded in the categories of writing, art, dance, theater, and music.

Caroline Fairweather, a theatre major from Pittsfield, Mass., will study postwar Japanese theatre and how it intersects with her family’s history of military service. With an appreciation for Japanese theatre and literature, she will study at the Suzuki Company of Toga, where she plans to focus on the physical embodiment and the dramaturgical backbone of Suzuki’s pieces, many of which were inspired by his experience growing up during American occupation. She also plans to visit cultural sites and view Shinto dance performances in Hiroshima, and then travel to Kyoto to study Butoh, a theatrical and distinctly queer dance form that emerged in the postwar years. An aspiring playwright and performer, at Williams she wrote five one-act plays, acted in six full productions, and directed two. The summer after her sophomore year she studied at the Suzuki Company of Toga’s Summer International Intensive. As a Roche Fellowship recipient, she also spent a summer studying at the Attis Theatre in Athens, Greece, and also performed in a new musical with Ghostlit Repertory Theatre Company, a non-profit theatre collective based in South Egremont, Mass.

Panalee Maskati, a comparative literature major from Bangkok, Thailand, will continue her training in dance, with the goal of joining a professional modern dance company. At Williams she took a variety of classes in dance and theatre and was a member of CoDa, the college’s contemporary dance ensemble. She has performed solo at arts institutions in the Berkshires and New York City, conducted interdisciplinary dance research, founded and co-directed a student-led dance ensemble, and devised an independent project in movement research. With a dance background that includes 12 years of training in ballet, contemporary, and flamenco, she participated with a group that reconstructed and performed two of Ruth St. Denis’ solos for the opening of the “Dance We Must” exhibition at the Williams College Museum of Art. In addition, she performed Jane Dudley’s The Bird as Prophet at The Joyce Theatre under the auspices of the Martha Graham company. As an aspiring professional dancer, she is particularly interested in work that melds traditional and contemporary forms and investigates the interrelation between materialities and movement.

Theodore “Ted” McNally, an English major from Williamstown, Mass., plans to continue writing fictional stories that are grounded in historical and political situations. The fellowship will support his travel to places he hopes to write about and to libraries, museums, and other institutions where he can conduct research. At Williams, working under the advisement of Jim Shepard, J. Leland Miller Professor of American History, Literature, and Eloquence, he wrote a collection of stories, titled Pizzazz, which served as his honors thesis in creative writing. As an undergraduate, he founded and facilitated a book club at the Berkshire House of Corrections, where he also edited a magazine that highlights writing by inmates. With the Hutchinson fellowship, he aims to start a similar club at another correctional facility next year.

Alexandra Medeiros, a music major from Barrington, R.I., will spend the next two years teaching low-income, marginalized students of color through Teach for America. In addition to teaching, she intends to study music, including piano and composition, and continue composing, performing, and collaborating with other musicians, especially with young students and musicians in her community. At Williams, she directed the Gospel Choir and played bass clarinet in the Wind Ensemble as well as performing on different instruments in various other ensembles. As an aspiring composer who has won several awards for her compositions, including Family Conversations and Redemption, she learned to write for a variety of instruments, how to notate ideas that do not align with traditional composition technique, and especially how to communicate with other musicians and to acknowledge criticism. She has also explored music as an outlet to express her identities, thoughts, and perspectives, which culminated in a piece that depicted her internal struggle of being biracial.

Sydney Rainer, a mathematics major from Jamaica Plain, Mass., aims to pursue a career as a multidisciplinary artist. Thinking about art during the current global pandemic, she intends to use the funds from the Hutchinson fellowship to collaborate with artists and mutual aid networks to document the sensations of crisis and reimagine how people relate to and care for one another. Working in collaboration with a number of artists and organizers, she plans to travel throughout the U.S. and its territories—New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Juan—to archive community responses to the pandemic and document its impact on the disenfranchised. At Williams, she was a digital project archivist with Williams College Special Collections, participated in two Williams College art shows, and was a digital archivist for the Williams College Museum of Art 2018 exhibition “The Field is The World: Williams, Hawai’i, and Material Histories in the Making.”

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Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s approximately 2,000 undergraduate students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. The college is also home to roughly 100 Master’s students enrolled in its renowned graduate programs in Development Economics and the History of Art (the latter offered in collaboration with the Clark Art Institute). Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.

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