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📷 Clock by the Gannon Arch
Shakespeare Summer Nights Auditions
Monday May 23 and Tuesday May 24 at 6pm
Performances will be July 11-13 and 18-20 at Lake Erie
Arboretum at Frontier Park.
Jess Flock will be directing Hamlet.
Alaina Manchester will be directing Lee Blessing’s Fortinbras. From director Alaina Manchester, "A modern dark comedy, Fortinbras begins moments after
the climactic bloody sword fight of Shakespeare's Hamlet. We
follow Fortinbras as he assumes the role of king and attempts
to expunge Denmark of all things rotten. His journey includes
dealing with suspicious loyalists who want him ousted, confused Polish
maidens who want him married, and temperamental ghosts who just want him."
Prepared monologues are welcome but not required.
Cold readings will be provided.
For more information, please contact Alaina Manchester
Thank you to everyone who came to see EVITA. If you missed the show you can read the review on GoErie.com.
Photos courtesy of Rick Klein Photography.
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: ALAINA MANCHESTER
Alaina Manchester is a visiting professor of theatre in Gannon University’s School of Communication and the Arts. Alaina graduated from Gannon University with her BA in Theatre and Communication Arts and she earned her MFA in Acting from the University of Florida. She earned her Actors Equity Membership Candidacy Card by performing at the Hippodrome State Theatre in Gainesville Florida in "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" (Hermia) and "A Christmas Carol" (Mrs. Fezzywig). Her directing credits include "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" for Gannon University Shakespeare Summer Nights, "Melancholy Play" for Gannon University, "All The King’s Women" for The Erie Playhouse, and "Dorian Grey" and "Seminar" for Dramashop. She has also performed internationally in Germany, Czech Republic, and Greece with UF’s International Theatre Program: "A Streetcar Named Desire" (Eunice), "Romeo and Juliet" (Nurse), and "Oedipus" (Servant).
Nicole Lossie is the Enrollment Communications Coordinator for Gannon University. Nicole graduated from Gannon University with her BA in Theatre and Communication Arts in 2011. After graduating from the School of Communication and the Arts, Nicole accepted a position with Cumulus Media in Erie. She worked with Cumulus Media as a Promotions Assistant and On-Air Talent. Prior to working at Cumulus, Nicole was a Promotions Assistant and Board Operator for Citadel Broadcasting. During her time at Gannon, Nicole was the Editor-in-Chief for Edge Magazine, Programming Intern for KDKA in Pittsburgh, and On-Air DJ/New Media Director for Gannon's 90.5fm WERG.
SCHUSTER THEATRE: What was
your major at Gannon (if not Theatre) and when did you graduate?
I graduated from Gannon in 2003 with a Theatre major and minors in
Psychology and Advertising. I returned
in 2003-04 to get my secondary teaching certification in English and
Communications (to teach Theatre).
THEATRE: What made you choose Gannon
and studying Theatre at Gannon versus going somewhere else?
I didn’t know I was going to study theatre when I got to Gannon. I
was signed up as “Elementary Education”, but this was mostly because I was
undecided and my mother said this would be a good fit. In high
school, I danced pretty heavily and did the musicals at my school because it
was another way to dance. I always LOVED being on stage, or taking charge of
the skits and such we did in class for projects (in all grades), but I didn’t
understand that theatre was my passion until I got to Gannon. As a freshman, I
missed shows, and I went to the registrar and asked about the communications
and theatre program. They sent me to see M.C., but she was out for the day, so
I met Shawn Clerkin instead. That day changed my life, and I have never turned
back since. Shawn took the time to show me the space, introduce me to the work
studies who were in that day, and sat down to talk about why I wanted to change
my major for sophomore year. He got to know me, and I know I wouldn’t have had
that time and attention if it were a larger, and more commercialized, school.
THEATRE: What are some of your most valued lessons you learned from
studying or being involved in the theatre at Gannon?
I learned so many things through my time at Gannon. I learned how to be
in an ensemble, both play and musical, through shows like Hair,
The Laramie Project, and The
Other Shore. I learned how to
move on from the loss of a roommate from the support of a department that loved
her too (Jenine Mineo), and continue performing like a professional no matter
what the outside circumstances are in Much
Ado About Nothing. I learned how
to do practical things, like build a flat and apply corrective stage makeup,
but I also learned how to direct, be a leader, be a follower, be a friend,
support and celebrate the arts, read and analyze a play. I learned how to be an
adult, and a risk-taker being who lived life.
THEATRE: What show did you do here
that stands out to you the most and why?
I think I grew the most in
The Laramie Project and Blood Brothers. I had great experiences in those shows, that stretched me as an
actor - and the directors had enough faith in me to cast me in meaty roles.
Shawn cast me as Linda, in Blood Brothers, and it provided me the opportunity
to work in a unique stage space (which inspired me just this year to stage The
Importance of Being Earnest in an alleyway stage too), and go in depth with a
character study. In Laramie, Paula pushed me as an actor and demanded more of
me. I had to have unique physicalities and vocal qualities, and not rely on
costume to get me by. Playing Reggie (the cop) was scary and exciting all at
the same time - and isn’t that theatre in a nutshell?
THEATRE: How would you describe your
time at Gannon, in particularly your involvement in the theatre?
I want to go back and do it again. I met some of the most amazing human
beings, who are still a part of my everyday life today. I grew as a person,
learned to love learning, and contribute to a program I loved. I got directing
opportunities at the age of 19, through Alpha Psi Omega, and the community of
theatre around Gannon, who encouraged artists (The former Director’s Circle
Theatre group, led by Michael).
THEATRE: How did the faculty and
staff of the Theatre program support and guide you through your education and
onward to your career?
NICOLE:They got me connected with other
local theatres to help continue supporting my passions, let me assist with
choreography and direction as a student, and always pushed me to do better. I
teach, direct, choreograph, and lead because my professors modeled what it
looks like to do those things.
THEATRE: What have you been up to since you
I have my Masters in Theatre from Villanova University. I am a tenured teacher in Pa, in Communications
and English. I have taught 9 - 12 graders for 9 years in
various English classes, dance classes, Theatre I, Honors Theatre II, Musical
Theatre, Speech and Debate, and Creative Writing. I direct and choreograph 3 shows a year at my
thriving Theatre Department. I directed and produced a show at the Philadelphia
THEATRE: If you could speak directly
to high school students looking at Gannon as a possibility, what would you tell
them about why they should choose to study Theatre at Gannon?
If you are looking for a program that will take the time to find out
what you want and need as an artist, push you to know ALL parts of theatre and
not just performance, help you grow from teen to adult, and care - go to
Gannon. I needed a smaller school because I needed accountability, the personal
connections to my education and craft, and to grow my confidence and
SCHUSTER: What was your major at
Gannon and when did you graduate?
NICK: My major was theatre and
I graduated in 2003.
SCHUSTER: What made you choose
Gannon and studying Theatre at Gannon versus going somewhere else?
NICK: The environment. When I
came to visit I felt wanted. There was less concern about my talent and more
emphasis on getting to know me as a person.
SCHUSTER: What are some of your
most valued lessons you learned from studying or being involved in the theatre
at Gannon? NICK: Freedom to explore the characters you play in
shows...which in turn makes you more responsible.
SCHUSTER: What show did you do
here that stands out to you the most and why?
NICK: Blood Brothers. First,
it was highly received and such a great piece. With the cast, Shawn Clerkin's
direction...and the part itself being a challenge it's one of, if not my
favorite show I've done. If I could go back in time and do it again? I would in
SCHUSTER: How would you describe
your time at Gannon, in particularly your involvement in the theatre?
NICK: I was only here for my
Junior and Senior years. Before I came to Gannon I went to a strict theatre
school that made me lose the passion for performing. Coming to Gannon I got
that passion back again. It also opened the door for me to direct and write...which
is now what I do the most.
SCHUSTER: How did the faculty and
staff of the Theatre program support and guide you through your education and
onward to your career? And what have you been up to since you graduated?
NICK: Gannon had some of the
best staff and faculty around. If I ever had a question or concern, or if I
just wanted to talk...their doors were always open. After I graduated, I still
stayed in touch with most if not all my professors. Since I graduated, I went
on to earn my Masters in Education. I currently work at Clarkson University in
Potsdam, NY. Theatre-wise..I went on to perform professionally for many, many
years. I also ran the theatre program at Farmingdale State College. Directed
over 50 shows and wrote two Off-Broadway Plays. I've openly admitted that it
would be a dream of mine to come back and work for Gannon. Will that happen?
SCHUSTER: If you could speak directly to high school students looking at
Gannon as a possibility, what would you tell them about why they should choose
to study Theatre at Gannon?
NICK: Gannon Theatre gives you
the freedom to explore. Some theater programs are very "cookie
cutter" and want you to act or perform a certain way. Personally, I feel
the only way to grow was an actor, director, writer is to have that freedom to
explore, make choices with strong guidance from your professors.
Schuster Theatre: What was your major at Gannon (if not
Theatre) and when did you graduate?
Kathleen: Theatre/Communication Arts ---2011
Schuster Theatre: What made you choose Gannon and studying
Theatre at Gannon versus going somewhere else?
Kathleen: I actually came to Gannon for nursing and
auditioned for "The Bald Soprano", directed by AJ Miceli, just for fun. I grew to
realize that while nursing was great, my love for theatre, the arts and media
drove me to change my major.
Schuster Theatre: What are some of your most valued lessons
you learned from studying or being involved in the theatre at Gannon?
Kathleen: I will never forget the day that Fr. Shawn Clerkin called me
on my cell because I had overslept and was late for his class. He told me I better get to class. Afterwards,
he pulled me aside and, while my oversleeping was not intentional, he explained
to me how unprofessional it was and that I needed to be more careful of how I
presented myself. I have used the words
from my professors to hold myself to a higher standard of professionalism and
to keep myself accountable for my work responsibilities, choices and duties.
Schuster Theatre: What show did you do here that stands out
to you the most and why?
Kathleen: My sophomore year, I was cast as an
understudy/Gingy the dancing gingerbread man in "A Tuna Christmas", directed by
Jax Vadney. I
was told I would get to perform in one show as the multiple characters I was
understudying for, but the rest of the performance, I was donning tap shoes and
a terrifying gingerbread man mascot costume that I couldn’t see out of. I had
my shot at the performance I understudied for with only one rehearsal under my
belt. This show made me realize that no matter what the circumstances, I can do
anything I put my mind and heart to.
Schuster Theatre: How would you describe your time at Gannon,
in particularly your involvement in the theatre?
Kathleen: The Schuster Theatre gave me more memories in
four very short years than the rest of my life. The friendships I formed here
are long-lasting and have given me more joy than I could’ve imagined. I learned
lessons that can apply in everyday life, not just stage life.
Schuster Theatre: How did the faculty and staff of the
Theatre program support and guide you through your education and onward to your
Kathleen: The faculty and staff knew I had a passion
for performing arts. They loved that about their students. They
took it a step further for us, though and made sure that while I was a
performer, I was also learning to be a writer, producer, director,
communicator, and speaker. They made me a well-rounded performer and made sure
I had the skills to survive in this dog-eat-dog world of communication arts.
Schuster Theatre: What have you been up to since you graduated?
Kathleen: After I graduated, I served two years as an
AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) at a local non-profit
agency working with children and youth. After my two years, the agency I
volunteered at offered me a Marketing, Communications and Community Outreach
Coordinator position. Currently, I am working as the Assistant Director of
Service-Learning right here at Gannon University!
Schuster Theatre: If you could speak directly to high school
students looking at Gannon as a possibility, what would you tell them about why
they should choose to study Theatre at Gannon?
Kathleen: What I loved about studying theatre at Gannon
is that you have more stage time than anywhere else you could go to. Sure, going to New York is every theatre
kid’s dream, but be prepared to sit on the sidelines while the seniors show you
how performing is done. The hands-on
experience I received on Gannon’s Schuster Theatre stage was more beneficial
because I had four complete years to find myself as an actor and hone in on my
skills. The professors engaged me my
entire four years. They also knew who I was as a person, outside of the
classroom and helped me along the way to graduation.
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