Launched in 1982, the UC Davis Granada Artist-in-Residence program is unique in American university theater, bringing prominent theater artists—directors, playwrights, choreographers, or filmmakers—to Davis each academic quarter to teach and create a work for public performance. A special opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to work closely with major theater and dance practitioners, it is a unique cross-cultural experience.
Established with funding provided by Britain’s Granada Television, the program originally hosted British practitioners exclusively, but in the 1990s, it was expanded to include distinguished artists from all parts of the globe, including the U.S., to better reflect the rich cultural mix of students at UC Davis.
Since its inception, the Granada Artist-in-Residence program has brought a roster of gifted artists to UC Davis. These artisans include playwrights Philip Kan Gotanda and Mark Ravenhill, directors Irina Brown and William Gaskill, as well as choreographers John Jasperse, Bill T. Jones and Doug Varone. Former Granada Artists Mindy Cooper and Peter Licthtenfels are now members of the Department of Theatre and Dance faculty.
Various distinguished artists have served on the Granada Artist-in-Residence program advisory committee including actress Dame Judi Dench, director Sir Peter Hall and film and television producer Derek Granger.
All Granada artists work closely with the permanent faculty to integrate their unique talents and areas of interest into the existing curriculum.
Originally the Department of Theatre and Dance faculty conceived of establishing a relationship with a professional production company in order to draw upon the expertise of eminent professionals who would come to the department for a limited time to create and teach.Faculty member Dan Snyder, who had worked as a designer for Granada Television Ltd (best known in the U.S. for its productions of Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, and Lost Empires), suggested that the department approach Granada, which had a wealth of contacts in British theater.