WHEELING, W.Va., June 5, 2017 -- Wheeling Jesuit (WJU) has forged a partnership with Oglebay Institute (OI) to oversee the university's performing arts program.
At Right: Through a new partnership Oglebay Institute will help WJU students coordinate two fully staged productions per academic year, as well as offer a theater course. Shown from left are: Tim Thompson, director of performing arts at OI, Danielle Cross McCracken, president of OI, Hallie Richards, student president of WJU's Theater Guild and WJU President, Dr. Debra Townsley.
Through the partnership, Oglebay Institute will help WJU students coordinate two fully staged productions per academic year. This would include; auditions, casting, running rehearsals, scenic design and set construction, lighting design and implementation, costume and prop supervision, and offering advice and assistance to the WJU Theater Guild in choosing plays and scheduling a performing arts season.
“I am excited that Wheeling Jesuit and Oglebay Institute have forged this new partnership. This collaboration will be a tremendous benefit to our students, because they will gain valuable instruction and knowledge in the arts from Oglebay Institute's talented team of professionals - and develop skills that will help them succeed on stage, in the classroom, and in life,” said Dr. Debra Townsley, WJU president.
In addition to overseeing two annual productions a year, OI will provide choreography services, work closely with the university's vocal and instrumental programs to provide music for the annual spring musical, share resources such as costumes and sets, and offer a theater class.
“Oglebay Institute is committed to community partnerships like this one and to providing opportunities for individuals of all ages to engage in the arts. Through this agreement, our performing arts team will offer even more opportunities for WJU students to participate in the arts and to further develop their creativity, communication, and collaboration, skills that research shows are essential for success in the workplace and life. We are excited about this new partnership that will allow us serve the community and the students of Wheeling Jesuit University in a deeper way,” said Danielle Cross McCracken, president of Oglebay Institute.
According to Dan Dentino, WJU's vice president of Student Services, the WJU/OI alliance will immediately expand programs since the Institute can offer special entertainment and programs to Wheeling Jesuit's students and employees.
“Our students will benefit from expanded opportunities to perform and take part in theater and dance performances at Oglebay Institute. This is truly a 'win-win' situation, and I am thrilled with the agreement. As a university that seeks to develop the whole person, this is a tremendous way to allow our students to live out that mission,” Dentino added.
Tim Thompson, director of performing arts at OI, along with PD Gregg, technical director, will provide Wheeling Jesuit with coaching for the actors and technical assistance on stage production, which will be directed by Dave Henderson, former WJU employee, who now is employed by OI. This team has more than 90 years of combined experience. Thompson also looks forward to aiding WJU's Theater Guild by offering workshops.
“I will be conducting several 'short form' improvisation workshops for the Theatre Guild. These workshops will teach students the guidelines, rules and exercises on how to develop scenes and different improv games to play. I hope to create an Improv Company that could perform at special events and programs throughout the year,” Thompson explained.
The new partnership, Dentino added, will afford WJU students many opportunities now and in the future, as well as strengthen a community partnership with an organization that also has deep roots in the Wheeling community.
About Wheeling Jesuit
Founded in 1954, Wheeling Jesuit University continues its history of educating students in the Catholic, Jesuit tradition and is consistently ranked as one of America's top regional colleges by U.S. News & World Report and other organizations.
About Oglebay Institute
A regional, non-profit arts, nature and cultural organization, Oglebay Institute operates six facilities in the Wheeling area: The Schrader Environmental Education Center and the Mansion and Glass Museums in Oglebay; the Stifel Fine Arts Center and the School of Dance, 1330 National Road and Towngate Theatre, located at 2118 Market St. Oglebay Institute also operates Terra Alta Mountain Camp in Terra Alta, WV. Offering public programs, classes and camps, special events and school programs for all ages in art, dance, theater, environmental education and history, Oglebay Institute is the oldest arts council in the nation, incorporated in 1930.