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June 1, 2012/For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 336-770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu



WINSTON-SALEM – University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) School of Drama alumna and adjunct faculty member Ashley Gates Jansen will receive the first “RuleBreaker Award” from No Rules Theatre Company, a company founded by UNCSA Drama and Design and Production alumni.

The company is unique in that it is a dual-city operation, working both in Winston-Salem and Washington, D.C.

“Through her dynamic work at her alma mater, UNCSA, Ashley has helped hundreds of young artists find their unique spirit and define their own creative process,” the company said of Gates Jansen on its website, http://norulestheatre.org.

To honor Gates Jansen, the company has organized a “RuleBreaker Benefit,” which will be held Wednesday, June 13, at Hanesbrands Theatre, where the company performs in Winston-Salem. “The evening will be a powerful testimonial to the importance and power of art, featuring live music and readings of work by award-winning playwright Daniel MacIvor,” according to the NRTC website.

Ashley Gates Jansen

The evening will begin with a cocktail-buffet reception at 6:30 p.m., followed at 7:30 p.m. by the awards ceremony, entertainment, and “Ashley’s Life Reflections on The Power of Art.” There will also be a post-ceremony champagne toast and dessert. 

Tickets to the benefit are $75 and are available online at http://norulestheatre.org/support-us/2012-rulebreaker-awards/. Seating is limited.

According to No Rules Theatre Company, “The RuleBreaker Award was designed to recognize individuals whose leadership, ingenuity, sense of collaboration and creativity have made a dynamic impact. Through the power of art they have been able to effect positive change in the lives of others.”

Robert Beseda, assistant dean of the UNCSA School of Drama, said: “Ashley Gates is half of the first graduating class of Dean Emeritus Gerald Freedman's innovative Directing Program and is presently adjunct faculty at the School of Drama and Gerald's teaching associate in the Directing class. She is married to set designer and Design and Production alumnus Rob Jansen.

“Ashley is an inspirational teacher whose commitment to UNCSA, the spiritual and mental health of our students, her unfailing support of Gerald, and the No Rules Theatre Company, is something worthy of honor indeed.”

Of No Rules Theatre Company, Beseda said: “They have become one of the hottest theatres on the burgeoning D.C. scene and have brought Winston-Salem such delightful and inventive productions as Charlie Brown and Peter Pan: the Boy Who Hated Mothers.

NRTC was founded by UNCSA Design and Production alumna Anne Kohn (Producing Director) and Drama alumni Joshua Morgan and Brian Sutow (Co-Artistic Directors). “NRTC strives to make theatre that is meaningful, experiential, and not just for ‘theatre people,’ and as a result continues to play to increasingly dynamic audiences,” according to its website. No Rules Theatre Company is the recipient of the Helen Hayes 2011 John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company.

Ashley Gates Jansen is a 1994 graduate of UNCSA's first directing class, and began returning as a guest artist in 1996. She has been affiliated with the University for almost 20 years. As a guest artist and current visiting faculty member, Gates Jansen co-directs the graduating senior showcase performed in New York and Los Angeles. She also teaches the freshman text class and high school creative writing class. As a director and producer, Gates Jansen has worked regionally in San Francisco; New York; Burlington, Vt.; and Toronto. Plays she's directed include As it is in Heaven, Marion Bridge, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in the-Moon Marigolds, Three Tall Women, Balm in Gilead, Waiting for Godot, Burn This, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Gates Jansen is also master life coach trained by Martha Beck. She has been coaching clients for years and has experience working with artists/addictions/mental illness/spiritual despair and personal relationships. She was ordained in 2002 by the Renewal of the Spirit Institute, where she received a master’s degree in pastoral counseling. In 2006 and 2011, she participated in Byron Katie’s School for the Work. In addition, she holds a master's degree from Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English.

She is the daughter of John D. Gates of Winston-Salem, who recently received UNCSA’s Giannini Award along with his wife, Susan S. Gates.

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.