Joyce Tarr O'Dwyer '83 rehearses
The stage was set for a festive weekend as Randolph-Macon College hosted its first-ever
Theatre Reunion May 4-5, 2013. The college welcomed alumni who had participated
as actors, set designers or directors during their tenure at R-MC.
Attendees participated in panel discussions, acted in 10-minute scenes, and attended
a reception and dinner. They also enjoyed R-MC’s latest drama production, Lettice
and Lovage, a play by Peter Shaffer, which was directed by Michelle Nieporte
’13 as her senior project. The weekend was capped off with a performance
of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in Blackwell Auditorium, R-MC Center for the
The first of two panel discussions focused on the ways in which participation in
the Drama Department at Randolph-Macon has affected
and inspired the professional lives of alumni. The panel participants were Jack
Enoch ’70, an investment banker, Jackson Kesler ’59,
a retired professor of theatre at Western Kentucky University, Jamie Allen ’99,
a Chicago actor, and Bethany Seay ’09, the business development
director at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. One of Enoch’s remarks
resonated with many of those present.
“Studying theatre teaches you what to do when you don’t know what to do,” he said.
The second panel traced the development of the Drama Department at Randolph-Macon
College from an ad-hoc group of students putting together productions to a vibrant
major with a reach that extends far beyond the R-MC community. The panel participants
in the second discussion were Jackson Kesler ’59, Eric Fox
’75, Tom Bass ’54 and Carrie Bickford ’01.
Meanwhile, in Blackwell Auditorium, alumni rehearsed 10-minute plays, which were
written by Dean Browell ’98 and performed later in the evening.
The two groups came together in the evening for a reception and dinner.
“This is a wonderful night, and we are so pleased that you all could join us in
celebrating the vital role of the arts, in particular our vibrant theatre program,
whose study and performance are so essential in any community of learning,” said
R-MC President Robert R. Lindgren as he welcomed guests. “It is a central principle
at Randolph-Macon College that art and art education are fundamental to any well-rounded
education. Our theatre program is a paradigm of a liberal arts education as individual
students take their own talent and experience and connect it to something larger
Lindgren also announced the creation of The Jackson and Betty Kesler Endowment for
Guest Artists in Theatre. The first Kesler Speaker, in November 2013, will be Director
John Doyle, who among many other accomplishments has won a Tony Award for Best Direction.