b'Q: What changes or new ideas have you implemented since yourQ: To what do you attribute the theatres tremendous growth and arrival at Heidelberg? success over the past few years?Stephen: So many. I was really excited when I was offered this jobStephen: We started with eight majors, and right now we have 36. because there was a challenge brought into it, which was to reinventComing into the fall, Im expecting 50-55. The excitement of our a theatre program for the 21st century. I am a builder. I love to buildproductions and the support from the School of Music & Theatre have things. I love to think creatively, so I came into this with the approachbeen really exciting. The philosophy of the theatre staff (myself, David that I would emphasize what works and de-emphasize what doesntCotter and Karina Brown) is very much one of mentorship. We make work in a traditional college curriculum. A lot of college theatrepersonal relationships with our students and provide them a place programs have become so intensive in learning theatre that they donthere on campus. I think weve created a cultural identity where people take into account the general liberal arts component and that makeswant to be here and be a part of it. I think in general weve made the our theatre artists less human. So I reconfigured the major to give thecoursework rigorous but rewarding, so the students see growth. Our students opportunities to learn all the professional skills theyll need butfaculty members and the people who come to the shows see this I also wanted to give them the flexibility to be a true liberal arts student,transformation, so theres this evidence of learning that is so strong to double major, to study abroad, to play a sport, whatever it mightand very compelling to students. Its very much a personal, 1-1 approach be that fulfills them as a human. I wanted to combine the best of thewith students, who know that I will be invested in them from the two worlds: the professional training of a BFA program and the liberalmoment they walk on campus to the moment they leave, and then arts component of a BA program and make this new unique hybrid. Iafter that. So our students really feel welcomed into a family and into hope Ive brought the production level up to that of a professionalour program, and thats very important to me. We really, truly do get performance. And weve worked very hard to collaborate across campusthe opportunity to know our students beyond an academic setting, to serve other programs like the Lichtman-Behm Genocide Lectureand become mentors and family members to them. Thats the key to Series and the Education Summit. Its our job to make theatre accessibleour success.to everyone and to use our creativity to help other areas. Q: How does being involved with theatre impact students?Stephen: The self-assuredness that develops in our theatre majors, the ability to communicate about any topictheyre all on an arc to adulthood. And what I enjoy most about being their professor is pushing them along that pathto figuring out who they are, what they believe in and as artists, finding out what they want to say to the world. Thats really what my mission is for every student I meet.Q: What should we expect going forward?Stephen: My goal, my dream for the future is that we have 100 theatre majors, that we have a partnership with a summer stock theatre we are sending our students to every summer, that we could create a summer stock for Tiffin that would be amazing to drive tourism to our community. I hope that through the Theatre Department and the music program that the arts become as strong a pillar on our campus as sports, that we bring in a whole new set of students to our campus, and hopefully, that the Theatre Department can provide some sustainability for the university as a whole, which has been my mission since I got here. I would like to see us start to do some more social activism through theatre. Im very interested in doing a show with the adults with disabilities from the Seneca County Opportunity Center and our students. Id love to see how theatre can connect out and play a vital role in the whole Tiffin community in terms of economic development and social and cultural awareness. Im ready to go.16|Heidelberg University Bulletin'