EU Theater Welcomes New Faculty

     The Eastern theater program experienced significant heartache last academic year when Jenny Tibbels resigned from her position as theater director. While her time of two years here was brief, Professor Tibbels made her mark on the pages of Eastern’s history. The theater program was far from unchanged by Tibbels’ presence and will remain impacted even through her absence. In spite of Tibbels’ departure, the theater program is flourishing, and impressively did not lose any courses, but instead added a new course: Acting for the Camera, taught by Philadelphia actor and Mirror Theater Company founder Anthony Lawton.

     Professor Lawton, who has a rich background in acting, is an indispensable resource for Eastern’s community. Along with Lawton, we welcome alumnae Alyse Haldeman as our theater manager, alumnae Rebecca Coppola as our instructor for both Actor’s Lab and Intro to Theater and Anthony Marsala as our Acting I instructor. From last year we welcome back Stephen Wisely as our technical director and instructor of Stagecraft and Design I and II.

     Theresa Moyer, interim director of theater and professor of voice, is excited for this “all-Star team for 2016-2017,” and speaks with excitement about the future of Eastern’s theater program. This is Professor Moyer’s 25th year at Eastern, and before she tells of the rich history of working alongside the known and loved Mark Hallen, building the program into the beauty that it is today, she says, “I’ve seen everything. Literally everything.” Moyer  speaks beautiful truth into that statement, and can answer just about any theater-related question one could ever inquire about Eastern.

     Something that makes Eastern’s theater program unique is the desire for making art together, for gathering and incorporating together instead of separately and for forming a safe, family-like community. To this end, Actor’s Lab, which is instructed this year by Coppola, is a space of creative freedom where actors can come together and discover what it means to be their full selves in acting. Through breathing together, laughing together, creating together and learning together, these actors are able to discover the importance of familiarity among those they will be engaging with through acting. Coppola has previously known many of her current students through working as the lyricist for “Rise,” last year’s fall musical, but expresses the newfound excitement of working with them as their instructor this year. “My hope is that we can make theater more of a family again, that we can form a deeper relationship within the department, that we can develop a shared creative language by just loving each other,” she says.

     Coppola and Moyer both agree that Actor’s Lab is truly the glue that holds together Eastern’s theater program. Hundreds of graduates who have been a part of the class have gone on to further pursue acting. There is something rather remarkable about a program that shines in such a way as to continue shaping the futures of graduates. Eastern’s theater program has an exciting future, and with the help of many alumni and professors this year, the stage will be a place of joy and creation.

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