When Brenda Harrison’s 3-year-old great nephew Oliver Goodwin was born with Down syndrome, she didn’t worry a bit. As a longtime special education teacher and graduate of UA Little Rock’s Master of Education in special education program, Harrison knew she was prepared to be a resource for Oliver. Continue reading “A special calling: UA Little Rock alumna Brenda Harrison writes a children’s book inspired by her nephew “
UA Little Rock theater major Keith Harper has learned that an acting career requires both talent and extensive networking. Through the UA Little Rock Department of Theatre Arts, he has developed both.
This summer, Harper heads to Silver Lake, New York, where he will spend six weeks performing in Shake on the Lake’s production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” The acting company performs classic Shakespeare throughout western New York.
Harper, 26, of Little Rock will play the roles of Adam and Audrey, which he is familiar with since he was cast in the same roles last year in UA Little Rock’s production of “As You Like It.” That show was guest directed by Chad Bradford, a Little Rock actor based in New York City who is the associate artistic director for Shake on the Lake.
Harper worked with Bradford in 2017 when Bradford directed The Studio Theatre’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and cast Harper.
Then in October 2018, Bradford directed UA Little Rock’s production of “As You Like It” and worked again with Harper. When it was time to cast his New York show, Bradford encouraged Harper to audition for the Shake on the Lake acting company.
“I didn’t hear anything for a couple of months, and then I got an email,” Harper recalled. “I was happy and excited. It’s a paying gig!”
Harper earned an Associate of Arts at University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College, where he took his first acting classes with theater instructor Sheila Glasscock who cast him in a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He fell in love with theater and came to UA Little Rock as a transfer student. Harper received the Joan R. Taylor Scholarship and will graduate in December with a Bachelor of Art in Theatre Arts.
“The theatre department at UA Little Rock has given me a great foundation,” said Harper, who plans to pursue a career in film and theater in Los Angeles or Atlanta. “The faculty here have been great. Stacy Pendergraft and Larry Smith are awesome.”
Harper also has performed in several productions at The Weekend Theater, including “The Member of the Wedding,” “Two Trains Running,” “Stick Fly,” and “12 Angry Men.”
Before he leaves for New York, he will wrap up work with the Northwest Arkansas Prison Story Project. He and other actors will perform “On the Row,” a collection of staged readings of poems from death row inmates. The group leaves leaves June 13 to perform four shows in four cities including Dallas, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Wichita, Kansas; and Kansas City, Missouri.
Later this month, Harper will also shoot the TV pilot “Lela’s Place,” being filmed in Arkansas. Harper plays an attorney. His residency with Shake on the Lake runs July 7 to Aug. 11.
“This will be my first trip to New York, and I’m looking forward to working and building network connections and expanding my skill set,” Harper said. “I hope my art in this field reaches and inspires others to do what they love. Whatever gift God has given you, you just share it. Everything will take care of itself.”
Photo top right: Keith Harper plans to pursue professional acting as a career when he graduates later this year.
Photo above left: Keith Harper (seated) performed in UA Little Rock’s production of “Detroit 67” earlier this year.
Photos by Benjamin Krain
Matt Runge uses his education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law every day in his job as director of operations at Our House, a Little Rock-based nonprofit that provides services to individuals who are homeless or near-homeless. Continue reading “Bowen grad uses lessons from law school in nonprofit leadership”
Lawyering runs in William “Goose” Changose’s family. His grandfather was an attorney, and his father went to law school. Changose liked law too, but law school would have to wait a few years. Continue reading “From Colonel to Counsel: Air Force veteran starts second career in law”
Lily Valibaba envisions a classroom experience for her son that is far different than the one she had growing up. At UA Little Rock, she is working on a Master of Education in learning systems technology and is incorporating technology into curriculum design that will benefit future youth. Continue reading “UA Little Rock student sees instructional design as key to improve education”
Students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will have an easy transition should they decide to transfer to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to pursue study in an allied health specialty.
Quinshell Smith graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in December with two degrees – a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Bachelor of Science in biology, but she’s not ready to leave campus yet. On Jan. 22, she will return as a graduate student to begin work on a Master of Science in Applied Science. Continue reading “Back to school for future doctor”
When Katherine Zambrano first moved to Little Rock to live with her aunt, whose husband was ill, Little Rock seemed like a different world compared to her hometown of Caracas, Venezuela, with a population of more than two million people. Continue reading “Venezuelan student finds new home at UA Little Rock”