Alumnus Ja'Michael Darnell Awarded Fulbright Grant

Friday, May 8, 2015
Alumnus Ja'Michael Darnell (B.A. 2014) is the recipient of a 2015 Fulbright Program grant, a competitive, merit-based award allowing him to study theatre in Torino, Italy. This fall, Darnell will travel to L'Atelier Teatro Fisico to explore the pedagogical method of physical theatre artist Jacques Lecoq and to create cross-cultural performance that draws inspiration from commedia dell'arte and Afrofuturistic aesthetics.
Darnell in front of blue background
Ja'Michael Darnell

During his time at The University of Texas at Austin, Darnell studied abroad in Florence, Italy as a member of the 2013 Theatre in Italy Study Abroad Program where he spent seven weeks studying Italian culture, art and performance as well as performing his way across the country.

Professor Susan Mickey has described Darnell as being a student that "exhibits an unusually high level of intellectual ability and academic promise...[he] is a model student of the arts and will be able to deepen his experience with this kind of challenge."

His work in Italy will examine the pedagogical method of "autocours," which focuses on developing "one's own work" in the creation of theatre that is devised from the performance and collaborative effort of the artists involved at a physical level. Lecoq's methodology accentuates the body as the primary instrument for creation rather than traditional instructor-based learning. His research seeks to exhibit this form of physicality across cultural and language barriers as performances enrich mutual understanding of art, aesthetics and society in the development of new theatre. 

Darnell was previously awarded the Kuhn Intellectual Entrepreneurship Award from the Moody College of Communications and was a member of the Gateway Scholar Program. 

The Fulbright Program sponsors exchanges with over 155 countries around the world in an effort to increase global understanding and address global issues. This program spans a variety of areas and seeks to transcend borders, develop leaders, share culture and explore new ideas.