Theatre students honing their skills around the country this summer

Release Date: 5/13/2013

Theatre majors at Ozarks are routinely referred to as some of the hardest working students on campus, and their drive to succeed will not be on break over the summer holidays. This summer, nine Ozarks theatre students will be gaining real-world theatre experience participating in internships, workshops, and full-time jobs around the country.

Of those nine students, three are recent graduates who have secured professional positions for the upcoming year.

Recent graduate Jacqueline Jurcik, originally from Dover, Ark., has been hired as on-air talent for two safety training videos for IMC Studios. Jurcik, who minored in Spanish in addition to her theatre major, will translate the English text into Spanish for the second video.

Clayton Becker, a 2013 graduate from Arlington, Texas, has been hired as a full-time, year-around technical director for Circa 21 Playhouse in Rock Island, Ill. Becker, as technical director, will spend most of his time working in Circa 21's shop across the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa.

And, 2013 graduate Catalina Ruiz Salazar, from Clarksville, Ark., had numerous professional opportunities to choose from before deciding to accept a full-time position as a scenic artist with Westport Country Playhouse, a not-for-profit theatre in Westport, Conn.

Several returning Ozarks' theatre students will be participating in internships, workshops, and other enrichment opportunities this summer as well.

From the freshman class, Derrick Conroy, Utah Robertson, and Lauren Charters-Rodonis will all be traveling out of state for the summer to build on their professional theatre portfolios.

Robertson, from Iowa Park, Texas, will be working and performing at the Wichita Theatre and Performing Arts Center in Wichita Falls, Texas. In addition to being a camp counselor and teacher for the center's drama camp, Robertson will also be the lead technical staff person and will perform as the Scarecrow in their production of "The Wizard of Oz."

Charters-Rodonis, from Frisco, Texas, will be working with students in summer acting courses at Plano Children's Theatre in East Texas.

Conroy, originally from Mabelvale, Ark., was awarded a scholarship to attend the Ensemble Studio Theatre's New York Theatre Intensives.  During the six-week workshop, Conroy will work with master professionals from the Ensemble Studio Theatre, learning the collaborative process of play development.

Also participating in valuable summer programs are Katelyn Nichols, John Davis, and Tori Rhein.

Nichols, a sophomore from Van Buren, Ark., will work as a properties intern for the summer theatre program at the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival in Durant, Okla.

Davis, a sophomore from Jacksonville, Ark. was chosen as a stage carpenter for the prestigious Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre in Winchester, Va. Davis was only one of three students from more than 100 applicants accepted for the stage carpenter position.

Rhein, a junior theatre major, will spend the summer working at Appel Farm Arts Camp in Elmer, N.J. In addition to being a camp counselor for technical theatre students, Rhein will be a member of the camp's technical staff, building scenery and working with electrics.

Ozarks' Professor of Theatre Bruce B. Brown took a break from the end-of-the-semester chaos to let the campus know how proud he is of these students.

"I'm pleased to see our theatre students excelling and making connections that will benefit their futures in immeasurable ways," Brown said. "The awards, professional internships, and full time work these students have secured speak volumes about their abilities and motivation.  I wish them continued success always."

Professor Brown with the 2013 Theatre graduates.

Ozarks Professor of Theatre Bruce B. Brown (center) poses for a photo with theatre graduates (from left) Clayton Becker, Catalina Ruiz Salazar, Justin Hughes and Jacqueline Jurcik following the May 11 graduation ceremony on the U of O campus.