Senior Student Assistant Directing 2018 Fall Mainstage Production of Big Love

Meet Noah Bastock, Senior, B.A. in Theatre


As graduation is approaching for you what are you most looking forward to in your future career?

First thing after I graduate I am going to sleep... then wake up and go right back to work at my current job and continue to work on my hobby of making YouTube content. From there I have a few plans in mind that I’d like to work towards. Part one is potentially looking into a masters degree in either Arts Administration or Library Science. Part two is either pursue my current job into a career (Library Science) or with Arts Administration, look into possibly starting my own theatre company. I would like to create something akin to what Carousel Theatre used to be but with a few important changes.

How has the student organization, Theatre Guild enhanced your experience at Akron?

Co-Directing Glass Houses with Cole Schraitle and directing Funeral for a Gangster and The Hunchback of Notre Dame have been the best experiences of my life. Theatre Guild allowed me a place to freely experiment with what I wanted to pursue in my views and abilities in the theatrical arts. Additionally, when Cole Schraitle and I “inherited” Theatre Guild the club had about 4 members, including us, on a good day. Glass Houses came to be an amazing production that brought together a group of alumni and new students and created a lot of deep and long-lasting bonds that continue to this day and hopefully will remain for years to come. This allowed us to try new and different things like the murder mystery Funeral for a Gangster and, ultimately, Hunchback of Notre Dame. These productions also helped teach me many lessons in directing and theatre organization. I will forever be grateful to the casts and crews of those shows, thank you for directing me as much as I hope I directed you!

What was your favorite production that you were involved in at The University of Akron and why?

It’s honestly so hard to choose. Night Must Fall for the Directing I Showcase was fun because it was my first time actually dipping my toes into the world of directing. Village Wooing was where I had to learn some hard lessons that helped me get to the next step in my journey. Glass Houses was brilliant and fun for so many reasons but mainly the bonding of the cast and the crew. Funeral for a Gangster was fun because everything was different, it was an audience participation show, at Quaker Square rather than Sandefur [Theatre], the script is brilliant and bonkers and the cast brought it to life in the best way. Romeo and Juliet - spring 2018’s Mainstage directed by Terry Cranendonk - was fun because it was my first return to the stage as an actor in about 7 years. Hunchback of Notre Dame was a culmination of my dreams come true; there were ups and downs but we pulled together and put on an amazing performance! Finally, Big Love, which I am assistant directing with Jim Slowiak. We are still in the early stage of production but I am excited for all I will learn and contribute to with this performance!

Any final thoughts as you look back on your time here at The University of Akron?

I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped me get to this point in my life. I’ve been studying here for about 7½ years, and about four years ago I heavily considered dropping out. But then I decided to apply for a theatre minor. I began taking classes and instantly rekindled my love of theatre which had been dormant since I graduated high school. Thanks to Jim Slowiak, Terence “Terry” Cranendonk, Chris Hariasz, and Danny Durst I was able to develop both my physical and theoretical skills in theatre, but they also helped me learn more than a few things about life and art along the way these past four years. I would also like to thank Gerard Neary, my high school mentor and inspiration for becoming a director; thanks to my friends, colleagues, and coworkers, for supporting me in my off-campus life; and especially thank you to my loving family for their nurturing support all the days of my life.






Theatre Student Focuses

Senior Student Takes on Lead Role as Juliet

Meet Chaunice Hendking, Senior, B.A. Communications Radio/TV with Minor in Theatre


For your upcoming lead role this spring as Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet," what do you believe will be your biggest challenge? 

I believe my biggest challenge as Juliet (besides trying not to stumble over the text) is trying to show Juliet in an honest light. She’s bubbly and radiant, but I don’t want to rely on cliché representations of her. My aim is to try to give her a true energy that audience members can relate to. Also, so the audience can understand her not as a character, but as a person. It may just lead folks to reminisce of when they were 14 years old.

What was your favorite memory from "The Skin of Our Teeth" performance in the fall? 

My favorite memory of "The Skin of Our Teeth" was during the second act of our show. My friends had appeared to be in the front row, and I had NO IDEA they were there because they were not sitting there during the first act. GOSH! IT WAS VERY HARD NOT TO BREAK CHARACTER! They were laughing and ad libbing as I was walked by in my red swimsuit costume. It was difficult not to laugh, but I kept my cool! Also, I loved the Martin Luther King video at the end. I was beautiful and has always moved me.

What made you choose to pursue your education at The University of Akron and also to pursue theatre? 

I stumbled upon The University of Akron, and I am sure it was fate. I was already enrolled at Cleveland State University. However, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going back to Cleveland any time soon. It was time for a change and for independence, so I transferred to Akron all on my own!

I became a part of the Theatre Program because I wanted to try it! I always wanted to act, but never knew how. I believe it was Jim who somehow notified me about “The America Play” auditions. But I am forever grateful because from then on, my life has changed for the better. I could cry! 

Out of any cartoon character out there, who do relate to most and why? 

I would be Princess Tiana from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog.” Woo! I feel this on a spiritual level! We are so much alike! She works hard. I mean, sleep is a privilege! She is very ambitious, has a vision and relentlessly goes after it. I am the exact same way! I work two jobs, school full time, and have rehearsals. Saturdays for me are free-lance work days where I do other acting gigs outside of UA. I’m a busy bee. Sometimes, I pull 36 hour days! I also recently became a DJ at WZIP Radio. I work around the clock and will continue to do so until I accomplish my dream! 






Recipient of The Sharon A. Hollinger Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Theatre Arts

Meet Sander Mills, Freshman B.A. in Theatre Arts

Lysander Mills Headshot

 Where is your hometown and from where did you graduate?

I come from Lancaster, Ohio. I graduated in 2016 from Lancaster High School. I was very active in both community theater and Drama Club. 

How has your overall experience with the UA Theatre program been?

My overall experience at UA and the Theatre program has been superb! Every individual faculty is here to help. They go above and beyond to ensure that you, the student, are completely familiar with what is being taught. I feel as though the professors really care about their students. 

What interested you in coming to the UA for theatre? 

I was most interested in coming to Akron’s theatre program because of the style of shows they do. Little do most people know, the whole idea of “lead-based” shows is starting to see a steady decline. Akron’s theatre type is “ensemble-based” which is starting to make its way to becoming more potent in modern theatre. An ensemble-based theater is where there are large groups of characters to help a story move along as compared to very few characters.

What is your theatre background? 

My first show was my Sophomore year of high school. I had just finished my soccer season with a second-degree separation of my right arm. I politely walked up to the director and said: “I would like to audition for the show.” He scoffed and said I had missed auditions but could still do tech. So I began running a spotlight for my first show and then I actually made it to auditions for the next show, Lucky Stiff, where I landed my first role of Emcee. I later continued to act during high school with characters such as The Big Bad Wolf from Shrek, Hannibal from A Curious Savage, Jason Summers from Done To Death and Patsy from Spamalot.  My most recent production was with Round Town Players where I played the role Featured Dancer.

What projects are you currently working on?  

I am currently working on UA’s current play, The Skin of Our Teeth, which if you’re fortunate to go, you’ll see me quite a bit playing the role of Mr. Fitzpatrick, the Stage Manager. I’m also working with young directors in their directors class as an actor. My next project will be co-directing a show in the Theatre Guild called Scab. 

What are your future aspirations? 

My future hopes are to gain a Master’s Degree. I would like to teach during the day and pursue professional acting during the evening.