’Berg theatre perfect place for transfer student to thrive

James Ogle has brought a good amount of southern charm to the Heidelberg campus but even more stage talent and experience.

A transfer student from Henagar, Alabama, James arrived on campus this fall after connecting with Theatre Director Stephen Svoboda and theatre instructor David Cotter at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Mobile, Alabama in March 2017. By a stroke of luck, he auditioned before David, got a call back and the conversations began from there.

“I had been looking to transfer and was mainly looking closer to my hometown,” says James, who earned his associate’s degree from Northeast Alabama Community College before transferring, “But then, I met Stephen and things just clicked. He understood what I was looking for. I want to be everything I can be, whether it’s acting, costuming or hair or makeup.”

After the conference, he made his first trip to Tiffin to tour campus. “After visiting, I was signed, sealed and delivered. I was done looking.”

James’ first taste of performing came at age 10 with a children’s theatre at his local high school. At age 15, as he sat in the audience for a community theatre performance of “Little Shop of Horrors,” he was hooked. “I was thinking, ‘I’m going to be on that stage for the rest of my life,’” he says.

Since arriving on campus in mid-August, James has begun to make his mark on Heidelberg theatre. The upcoming production of the Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” will be his 19th show overall. “The Music Man” earlier this semester marked his Heidelberg stage debut.

For “Macbeth,” James will appear on stage as one of the witches. This versatile theatre man also will be behind the scenes with hair and make-up and costuming.

“I really just want to be able to do it all,” he says. And he has found the perfect atmosphere at Heidelberg to make that happen. “Everyone has been so nice and so friendly. I get to do what I do to the best of my ability and really thrive here.”

“Macbeth” is James’s first foray into the world of Shakespeare. He thinks audiences will enjoy Stephen’s adaptation of the classic play. “It’s going to be a little spooky, a little bit funny, a little edgy and punk-rocky,” he says. “You’ll see some new and unique things not seen before … and possibly even some sword fighting.”

Although this is his first semester at Heidelberg, James looks forward to future Gundlach Theatre roles and continued growth as he plans to make theatre a career

“I’m really eager to see what David and Stephen have in store for all of us,” he says. “I love the atmosphere here. Everyone is very, very supportive, whether you’re on stage or in the lighting booth or making costumes. That’s what I was looking for … a place that really builds you up.”

Macbeth” opens in Gundlach Theatre Thursday, Nov. 8, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 11. Visit gundlachtheatre.org for tickets.


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