History of Drama Club

A brief history of the Drama Club.

While best known for its programs in engineering, Tri-State has a surprisingly strong theatrical heritage, due to the legendary efforts of one of Angola’s own—Charles Edwin Shank. A graduate of Angola High School, Shank began teaching elocution at Tri-State in 1911, and in 1913, he organized the Dramatic Club. He resigned shortly thereafter to study at Northwestern, where he remained until World War I intervened. Shank joined the Army as an entertainer, but returned to Tri-State in time to direct the 1919 commencement play, “Palace of Truth.”

Widely known in the Midwest at this time for his high-quality, amateur theatrical productions, Shank continued as the director of Tri-State’s Dramatic Club until his retirement in 1946. Among the most memorable of his plays are those that were performed on the outdoor stage, which was dedicated in 1936 and removed in 1961 to make way for the Perry T. Ford Library.

Many of the early successes of those outdoor performances were Shakespearean productions such as the “Merchant of Venice” in 1936 and “As You Like It” in 1941. For example, it is reported that over 1,500 people sat on the hillside each night to watch the cast of over 60 local high school girls and Tri-State engineering students in the 1937 Tri-State College production of “Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.”

Among those engineering students in the 1937 cast was an aspiring chemical engineer from Pennsylvania, John J. McKetta, Jr., who played the role of Bottom. Although he received rave reviews, Dr. McKetta remained in engineering, and today he holds the Joe C. Walter Chair in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also has served as a professor, chair, dean and vice chancellor. A member of Tri-State’s Board of Trustees since 1957, McKetta remains a star on the Tri-State stage.

Source: Tri-State (Trine) University News Tidbit for September 20, 2001

Mal Foerster Backstage Award

Outstanding effort in technical and backstage theater work.

This award is in memory of Mal Foerster. Mal was the husband of Kathy Foerster, Drama Club’s faculty advisor from 1997 to Spring 2003. This award is presented to an individual who shows extraordinary efforts with the technical and backstage aspects of the theater. A running plaque is located outside of Wells Theater in Taylor Hall.

Previous Award Winners:

  • Heidi Finley- 1999
  • Jon Hepner- 2000
  • Dr. William G. Meyers- 2001
  • Nicholas A. Wentworth- 2002
  • Linda Sebring- 2003
  • Chris Barr- 2004
  • Leslie Erlenbaugh- 2005
  • Nikkie Stimac- 2006
  • Robert Shivers- 2006
  • Scott Crawford- 2007
  • Kelly Anne Porter- 2008
  • Kevin Dahlstrom – 2009
  • Erik Evans – 2010
  • Brian Boes & Kerri Fish – 2012

News

News from around the site about Drama Club

Improv Night invites attendees to make it up as they go

Improv Night invites attendees to make it up as they go

Looking to experience acting and have some fun? Improv Night is the perfect opportunity. The Drama Club will be hosting their annual Improv Night on April 14 from 6-8 PM in Wells Theater. Improv is short for improvisation, a type of theater and performing where the acting is thought up quickly, often from an idea drawn from a hat. From the idea, characters and the rest of the story are […]

Drama Club brings ‘The Odd Couple’ to Furth stage

Drama Club brings ‘The Odd Couple’ to Furth stage

Can you relate to having roommate troubles? The members of Trine University’s Drama Club sure can because they are acting in the production of The Odd Couple. This is a play about two divorced men, Felix and Oscar, who become roommates. One is a slob and the other is a neat freak. This situation leads to a lot of laughter on stage. Tyler Marx, who plays Felix, said, “I like […]

Go behind-the-scenes of ‘The Odd Couple’

Go behind-the-scenes of ‘The Odd Couple’

The following pictorial documentary was originally produced by Rachel Morris, communication minor, as part of Professor Roxanne Kaufman’s digital photography class. The Drama Club’s production of The Odd Couple is scheduled for March 19 and 21 at 7:30 PM. This is the first Drama Club production to be staged in the new T. Furth Center for the Performing Arts, and tickets are free at the door.

Drama Club readies to play in A Doll’s House

Drama Club readies to play in A Doll’s House

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is one of those famous plays that you probably feel like you know something of, even if you’ve never read or seen it before. As luck would have it, you can see it courtesy of Trine’s Drama Club this Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in Wells Theater in Taylor Hall. A Doll’s House was one of the most controversial plays of the late 19th century. […]

Drama Club hosting open auditions for A Doll’s House

Drama Club hosting open auditions for A Doll’s House

Back to school means back to the stage for Trine’s Drama Club. They will be hosting open auditions starting this coming Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 PM in Wells Theater in Taylor Hall. Students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding Angola community are all invited to come audition for this fall’s production of A Doll’s House, and no prior stage experience is required. Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was one […]