Mormon Artist seeks Inspiration

Utah Valley University theater professor Chris Clark, right, works with students James McKinney, left, and Eric Phillips at UVU in Orem on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. JAMES ROH/Daily Herald

"People were so surprised with the show at Sundance," Clark said. "Some people would say, 'That was Broadway quality. Those actors were Broadway quality.' And I don't think they were exaggerating. We have a lot of local talent that's as good as anything we will see in the bigger cities. And you can chalk that up to the [LDS] Church — a lot of people do because the church pushes art — but I think parents here encourage their kids into the arts in a way they don't in other places. I just think it's exciting the way the arts are flourishing in Utah. We're very, very lucky."

Another important component of Clark's process of creating a powerful production is being open to inspiration.

"I think a lot of my work as a director relies on inspiration," Clark said. "Some people might call that intuition, but I sometimes feel like I am spiritually inspired to do certain things on stage. And I know that might sound shallow to some people who think that maybe the Spirit doesn't care about my 'stupid play,' but I think theater is such a great tool for teaching and for helping people improve their lives that I absolutely think that God can inspire me to have certain ideas or give certain direction so the show will sustain the Spirit."

As he continues to influence the community, his students and the future of the theater program at UVU, Clark's mantra is well summed up in his favorite line from Benedick in "Much Ado About Nothing": "Serve God, love me and mend."

"It's kind of our job," Clark said. "Serve God, love each other and mend any problem we run into."

via Popular local director, professor discusses family and faith.

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