Next Performing Arts | Theater

Anne Cornell, Tom Dugdale, Jeffrey Jacquet, Michael Schmidt, and OBLSK

Calling Hours 

Presented by The Ohio State University Office of Academic Affairs, The Ohio State University Sustainability Institute, and the Wexner Center for the Arts

Columbus Premiere | Reception Follows

An image from the original production of Calling Hours, a large drawing of a child’s face is projected behind a group wearing suits and black dresses.

Calling Hours gives voice to the losses of an Ohio community and its workers in a world moving away from coal.

Four years ago, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, AEP Conesville, located 70 miles east of Columbus and one of the nation’s largest coal-fired power plants, ceased operations. The plant’s closure, though planned, abruptly happened months ahead of schedule—leaving employees isolated in their homes without a chance to say goodbye, much less grieve together.

Performed entirely by residents of Coshocton, Calling Hours was written as a memorial service that should have been: a multidisciplinary requiem in text, live music, and projected animation paying tribute to the monumentality of coal work while acknowledging coal’s complex legacy and future. The performance tells stories of how this specific closure affected a community—among countless others across the globe impacted by the transition away from coal energy.

Calling Hours is the final product of the Ohio Coal Communities transdisciplinary research project at The Ohio State University, which included sociologists, geographers, community developers, engineers, librarians, and visual and performing artists. (program approx. 60 mins.)

A celebration of community with light refreshments will be held in the lobby of Mershon Auditorium immediately following the performance.

Calling Hours, courtesy of Tom Dugdale.

About the artists

Anne Cornell chevron-down chevron-up

Anne Cornell is a conceptual artist whose practice is rooted in education and innovation. She is the daughter of a teacher and an engineer. Cornell is informed by her humanities studies as an undergraduate at Kenyon College and subsequent training as a pianist in Germany. She has a near lifelong practice of studio figure drawing and a great regard for portraiture. Cornell considers people her most important medium and her community a studio. By meeting people where they are and using local, at hand (or found) materials, her works give voice to a particular culture. Her processes compound native ingenuity and possibility. She has directed the Pomerene Center for the Arts in Coshocton, Ohio, since 2000.

Tom Dugdale chevron-down chevron-up

Tom Dugdale is a director, writer, and associate professor of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts at The Ohio State University. He has developed many community-engaged productions, including Calling Hours with residents of Coshocton, Ohio; Into the Void, a journey into space and black holes with Central Ohio Symphony; and My Whole Life Changed, a documentary film with high school students about the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom is the author of Directing Your Heart Out: Essays for Authenticity, Engagement, and Care in Theatre, published by Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama.

Jeffrey Jacquet chevron-down chevron-up

Jeffrey Jacquet is associate professor of Rural Sociology in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. One of the first sociologists to study the process of hydraulic fracturing, Jacquet has gone on to examine a range of renewable and nonrenewable energy related social and environmental systems at institutions including the University of Wyoming, Cornell University, and South Dakota State University. At Ohio State, Jacquet leads students through coursework and mentorship to examine the areas of energy, environment, and rural societies. Jacquet is cochair of the Global Coal Transitions Research Coordination Network, funded by the US National Science Foundation.

Michael Schmidt chevron-down chevron-up

Michael Schmidt was born in Akron, Ohio, and now lives in Copley, Ohio. He holds an MFA in drawing and painting from California State University, Long Beach (2013) and a BFA in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art (2004). He has exhibited internationally and is in private collections around the country. Schmidt currently works as a freelance artist and holds adjunct professor positions at the University of Mount Union and the University of Akron.

OBLSK chevron-down chevron-up

OBLSK is a team of artists, inventors, and designers who come together to create interactive installations, finely crafted imagery, and powerful multisensory experiences. Values of environmental sustainability and social equality are central to their projects. OBLSK’s areas of expertise include large-scale projection mapping, interactive and experiential design, and light sculpture. They collaborate with clients and artists ready to pioneer new ways of engaging their audience and creative-minded organizations interested in developing their brand using art and technology.

Doris Duke Foundation

Ohio Department of Development

Greater Columbus Arts Council

The Wexner Family 
Institute of Museum and Library Services

Ohio Arts Council, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts 
Ohio State’s Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme 
The Columbus Foundation 
Axium Packaging 
Nationwide Foundation 
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

Mike and Paige Crane 
Nancy Kramer 
Ohio State Energy Partners 
Ohio History Fund/Ohio History Connection 
Larry and Donna James 
David Crane and Elizabeth Dang 
Bruce and Joy Soll 
Melissa Gilliam and William Grobman
Rebecca Perry Damsen and Ben Towle 
Jones Day 
Alex and Renée Shumate


Next Performing Arts

Anne Cornell, Tom Dugdale, Jeffrey Jacquet, Michael Schmidt, and OBLSK