Northwestern College is set to celebrate a major milestone: the hundredth anniversary of its theatre program. The celebration will be marked by a series of events and performances spanning over April 28-29, showcasing the rich history of theatre at NW and honoring the many talented students, faculty and alumni who have contributed to the program over the years.
NW has a long and proud tradition of theatre, dating back to 1923 when the college’s first theatre production, “Gold Bug”, was staged by the senior class of Northwestern Classical Academy during an outbreak of illness. The program was founded by Professor H. J. Kuiper in 1923. Since then, the program has grown and flourished, producing countless plays and musicals as well as providing a training ground for aspiring actors, directors and designers.
The theatre program gives students the opportunity to participate in a variety of productions throughout their time at the college, ranging from classical plays to contemporary works to improvisational performances and events.
NW has invited back all previous theatre majors and alumni who participated in theatre. The celebration will kick off with an opening ceremony and reunion of the alumni on the evening of April 28 at 7 p.m., in the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center Lobby. Following the initial gathering, there will be a screening of co-writer, Matt Foss’s award-winning short documentary, “Sons of Toledo,” taking place at 8 p.m. in the Proscenium Theatre. Foss was a 2001 NW graduate and went on to have a successful career in professional theatre. Foss is now a professor of theatre at the University of Toledo.
After the screenings, the Black V, campus’s comedy improv team, will do a performance with both current and past members, directed by Steve Hydeen, who graduated from Northwestern in 2002. Hydeen now runs an acting academy in Omaha, NE. This will take place at 9 p.m. in the Allen Black Box.
Both Foss and Hydeen will offer their expertise to current theatre majors and students with involvement in theatre, sitting for a panel on the April 27. They will be accompanied by Sheric Hull ‘14, and Lindsay Bauer ‘08. Hull majored in theatre at NW, and now works for Memphis Ballet. Bauer, also a theatre graduate, serves as the executive director of the Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts located in Fairfield, Iowa.
In addition to the series of performances and conversations throughout the weekend, those who attend these events will have access to The Passage, which commemorates the 100 years of NW Theatre with posters from plays. The upstairs hallway will be open during the intermission for all shows and will help shed light upon the accomplishments and different plays reenacted throughout the years.
To conclude the ongoing celebratory weekend, NW will put on “Harvey,” the Pulitzer Prize winning play. There will be two performances, one afternoon matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening performance at 7:30 p.m. All registered guests of the celebration are invited to attend and will receive complimentary tickets to the show.
The 100-year celebration is a testament to the theatre program’s success and the impact it has had on the Ncommunity. The program has provided countless opportunities for students to explore their creativity, develop their skills and make lasting connections with their peers.
As the celebration approaches, the NW community is eagerly anticipating the events and the opportunity to reflect on the theatre program’s legacy. The celebration is a chance to honor the past as well as look to the future as the program continues to inspire and educate generations of theatre enthusiasts.