Collaboration between Northeast State, ETSU grows behind scenes
Competition between colleges 20 miles apart is not unusual, but collaboration between colleges is.
Yet ETSU not only has an ongoing relationship with Dick Majors, the head of theater at Milligan College in adjoining Carter County, but a growing relationship with Northeast State Technological Community College in nearby Sullivan County is beginning to blossom, as well.
"ETSU and Northeast's synergy is good," said ETSU Theatre Department Associate Professor Patrick Cronin. "We are here to benefit the students of the Northeast, whether it's at ETSU or Northeast State."
Last fall, actors from both schools were cast in Arthur Miller's The Crucible at ETSU under Cronin's direction. This semester, Northeast State's theatre director Michael Aulick and an ETSU graduate student, Scott Koenig, will be bringing Neil Simon's Rumors and the classic trilogy Oresteia to the Northeast stage.
"I had always hoped we could begin to work more closely with ETSU's theatre program," Aulick said. "They have a tremendous program and a great track record for training young actors and technicians."
Koenig is one of those well-trained technicians. "I sent my rsum to Michael Aulick, having no idea that he was looking for a director for this show," Koenig said. "He e-mailed me after reviewing my rsum, and asked if I would be interested in directing. Obviously, I said 'Yes.' "
In addition, students from both schools involved in this production, as well, Koenig said. "That in itself is nothing new," he said. "What is new here is Northeast having a guest director, and I think that will prove beneficial to both schools."
Koenig also hopes that these plays will draw further attention to Northeast's theatre program. "The fact that I'm affiliated with ETSU's theatre department can only serve to strengthen the relationship between the two schools, and hopefully draw a little more attention to the good work that Mike Aulick has been doing at Northeast for years," Koenig continued. "The faculty at ETSU is very supportive of me, and of Northeast State and we are all encouraged to share our gifts with each other and what is good for one school reflects well on both schools."
Rumors will run March 17, 18 and 19 at 7 p.m. and March 19 and 20 at 2:30 p.m. All shows will be held in the Northeast State Auditorium.
Aeschylus' tragic Greek trilogy, Oresteia will once again team Koenig and Aulick as director and producer. Of all of Aeschylus' works Oresteia is the one with the strongest dramatic force, says The Art History web site.
"This is not a type of theatre that you see all the time," Cronin said. "This is a chance that this area won't get for another five to 10 years."
Oresteia will be performed April 16, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. and April 18 and 19 at 2:30 p.m. in the Northeast State Auditorium.
As the relationship between ETSU and Northeast grows, Cronin said, students are the main beneficiaries.
"I am very hopeful that the connection between the programs will benefit my students," Aulick said. "I am excited about the opportunities for the actors."
The connection among both schools will bring different opportunities for the students at Northeast State.
"My students will see the value of working with other directors and actors, especially if they are planning on transferring to ETSU in the future," Aulick, said.
Meanwhile, Aulick hopes that there will be future connections between ETSU and Northeast. "I would love to do a show together, half ETSU actors half Northeast State actors," Aulick said. "One run here, one run there. We are not doing that yet, but I think it may happen soon. I am very hopeful."
Call ETSU Theatre at 439-6511 or Aulick at 354-2479 (ext. 3279) for more information.
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