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ONU Students Attend Theatre Festival

ONU theatre studentsOn Oct. 17 and 18, Ohio Northern University's theatre students Joanna Ginn, Garrett Young, Kara Dombrowski, Valerie Witherspoon, Cassie Rea and Amanda Fanno, along with John Armstrong, assistant professor of theatre arts, travelled to Cleveland for a weekend of theatre at the Great Lakes Theatre Festival (GLTF). Earlier in the same week, Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks spent time with the GLTF, assisting with fundraising efforts to pay for the multimillion-dollar renovation of the beautiful Hannah Theatre (where the theatre company is housed). Having performed at the GLTF early in his career, Hanks credits the company for giving him his start and instilling in him the work ethic he practices to this day.

The Ohio Northern students watched the GLTF Company of actors perform Shakespeare's classic "Twelfth Night" and the hilarious who-done-it musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood." Following the Saturday-evening performance, Armstrong arranged a question-and-answer session with several actors from the company. The actors who took part in the discussion were professionals all based in New York City or Cleveland who willingly gave their time and engaged ONU students thorough discussion about the art and profession of acting.

Theatre discussion"Seeing professional actors working with challenging material is vital to the growth of any theatre artist," said Armstrong. "It was an invaluable experience for the students to do just that, and the post-show discussion about the business of performing was equally enlightening for them. After all, acting itself is only half of what it takes to be an actor."

Ginn, a senior musical theatre and public relations major from Perrysburg, Ohio, said, "It was a wonderful experience to see a professional production as a living example of what we are learning in class. The advice they had for us was priceless, and I know that I will use that information through the next stages of my life. It makes me realize how fortunate I am to be part of a University that makes these opportunities available and sees them as a vital to my education."

The Communication and Theatre Arts Department plans to arrange future trips to the GLTF on a regular basis in the hopes of establishing a lasting connection between ONU and the professional theatre community.

Nathan Mirolo, junior communication arts major from West Jefferson, Ohio