“The reason I like our [theater] department is because of the people here and the beauty we create together,” said senior Corrie Hayes when reflecting on her time spent in Northwestern’s theatre department. Hayes is not only a theatre major, but also a business marketing major with an arts administration minor.
Hayes grew up in Marshalltown, Iowa and has been acting and singing since a young age.
Some of her first memories involve being on stage. While growing up, Hayes was involved in theater productions through her community, school and church. However, she started focusing more on the arts in high school and was heavily involved in extracurricular activities that incorporated the arts.
Originally, Hayes thought she wanted to be a math teacher, but eventually realized she didn’t like math that much and didn’t have a real desire to be a teacher. She started thinking about theater as more than a hobby and seeing it as a possibility for a career path.
When it came to choosing a college and theatre department, Hayes didn’t seriously consider NW because both of her parents were once students here and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to follow the same path. It wasn’t until after she met theater professors Jeff and Karen Barker during a campus visit that she started considering NW. She was intrigued by how the theatre department here combined Christianity and theater.
“I wanted to learn in a place where I could learn theater and be a Christian,” said Hayes.
While here at NW, Hayes has played a role in several shows that the theatre department has produced. She played the unicorn in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe;” Liz, Mira and Kate in “Museum;” Diana in “Next to Normal;” Belinda Blair/Flavia Brent in “Noises Off;” Siobhan in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime;” and Mama Murphy in “Bright Star.” Hayes’ final role on stage here at NW will be as Rosaline in “Love’s Labour’s Lost” which premieres on April 17.
Hayes’ favorite productions to be a part of here at NW have been “Next to Normal” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.”
Dr. Robert Hubbard directed “Next to Normal,” a musical, and Hayes loved having Dr. Hubbard as a director and working with him.
“That show was important for this community. It was important in my life,” said Hayes.
When it came to “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,” Hayes loved being a part of the ensemble for that show. “Beautiful show. Beautiful ensemble,” said Hayes.
Aside from acting, Hayes has also been involved in several other areas of NW’s theatre department. She has been a costume designer, director, playwright, stage manager and scenic designer.
Hayes has also worked alongside Karen Barker for Theatre Production Ensemble as well as dabbling in managing social media for the theatre department and designing some posters to promote productions.
“I literally live here,” said Hayes in reference to the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center.
The department’s mantra is “To the King,” and Hayes holds this close to her heart. The mantra isn’t just something the professors have the theater students say before taking the stage, it’s something they live out.
“The professors are what makes this department amazing,” said Hayes.
Hayes has several memories from her time in NW’s theatre department, but one of her favorite memories comes from her senior seminar trip to Chicago with Karen Barker. Hayes and the rest of the class spent one evening walking along Navy Pier after seeing “Hamlet.” They listened to music and danced while admiring the sights of Chicago.
After graduation, Hayes plans to move to Chicago in order to pursue a career in acting. She hopes she will be able to find a job in the arts administration field so that she will still have time to audition for productions.
A piece of advice Hayes would like to leave with the underclassmen of the theatre department is to love each other. “This work is not worth it and you won’t learn if you don’t love each other along the way.”