News Column

Faculty offer students link to theater world

August 29, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 29--The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film has quite a few prominent professional plumes in its chapeau.

"One of the things I think our students are getting is access to faculty like this, in my opinion, at a very affordable rate. What it means is they are getting to work with people who have connections in the industry," said Edmund Lingan, chairman and associate professor of theater.

Take a look:

Cornel Gabara, associate professor of theater and the head of acting, along with Irene Alby, associate lecturer in acting, are founding members of Glacity Theatre Collective, a local professional theater company. Both studied at Columbia University and under Ann Bogart and Kristin Linklater who are renowned in the theater world for their work in dramatic movement and voice, respectively.

Timothy "TJ" Gerckens, lighting designer, is a collaborator with internationally recognized playwright/director Mary Zimmerman. He lights stages worldwide including on Broadway and soon in the world famous Teatro alla Scala (La Scala) in Milan, Italy. He has more than 17 years of experience in dance, opera, and theater lighting.

Erica Frank, lecturer of theater and costume design, has worked on several films and television shows. Her recent work includes tailor/set costumer for The Hunger Games, costume designer for Breaking at the Edge, and collaborator on Henson Puppet Workshop's The Collector of Lies. Her expertise allows students to learn what it's like to work in theater, film, and television, Lingan said.

Daniel Thobias, assistant professor of theater in costume design, is a designer of scenery and costumes who's worked in summer stock and festival theaters nationwide including North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Opera Santa Barbara, and Mount Washington Valley Theatre. He received a master of fine arts degree in scene design from North Carolina School of the Arts.

In addition to the faculty, the theater department offers something Lingan says is rare in a university setting: an intersection between film and theater.

Holly Hey, associate chair and associate professor of film and video production, has done media and projection design for several UT productions. She is an accomplished documentary filmmaker. In 2011 Hey's documentary Rat Stories was distributed by the National Education Television Association to PBS stations nationwide.

Hey's films and videos have been shown at many festivals and in other venues including Denver International Film Festival, Autumn Lights Festival in Los Angeles, and Mix Festival in New York. Some of her film students have worked in production design for live performances at the university.

Free tickets

Children who might not have the opportunity to see a live performance could get their chance thanks to grants awarded to the Valentine Theatre to underwrite the cost of tickets for a Sept. 21 production of Angelina Ballerina.

Organizations receiving information through the Toledo Community Foundation's Center for Nonprofit Resources can call the Valentine box office for information: 419-242-2787. Up to 30 tickets each can be requested by the first 15 organizations that call. The grants are provided by Theater League and Aline Underhill Orten Foundation, Inc., of Sterling Heights, Mich.

Contact Julie Njaim at: jnjaim@theblade.com

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(c)2013 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

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