Express yourself! Whether it's through acting, stage management, costume design, scenery creation or lighting design and control, there's a place for you on the Lakeland College theatre team.
Twice a year – fall and spring – our theatre department produces a major production for the Lakeland community to enjoy. These productions, which involve five to eight weeks of preparation, have varied from classics like "Romeo and Juliet" to musicals like "Chicago" and comedies and dramas.
Performances take place at the on-campus 500-seat Bradley Theatre – which features a 40-foot-wide and 40-foot-deep stage and a full orchestra pit.
"We have a lot of people that come from high school who are very interested in doing theatre, and when they come here they say, 'I always wanted to do shows but I never really did when I was in high school, and I'd like to give it a try while I'm in college," says Charlie Krebs, associate professor of theatre and speech. "We really like to give all students the opportunity to be a part of what we do."
Have fun; earn credits
Every spring, Krebs teaches an acting class for students with all levels of acting experience. These students are given the chance to perform in front of classmates and other live audiences. There's a stagecraft class, in which students design, build and eventually break down sets. And there's a general theatre class, which involves all facets of putting on a production.
"The thing that excites me most is when a student has an idea, and then that idea comes into living color on the stage," says Krebs. "To watch the excitement in their eyes or hear them tell their parents or friends that was their idea … that's terribly exciting."
Name: Emma Drake
Hometown: Beaver Dam, Wis.
Title: Admissions and advancement intern; JV volleyball coach
Business: Wayland Academy
William Shakespeare famously wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players …”
It’s a sentiment that would probably resonate with Emma.
“Theatre teaches you the fundamentals of life,” she says. “It’s about teamwork, caring for others and caring for your community, while at the same time being able to carry the load individually. You have to be prepared because you’re an integral part of the team. Without you, the train can fall off the tracks.”
Emma, who earned her bachelor’s degree in business management and was rock-solid academically, drew tremendous personal inspiration from the theatre program.
“Everyone’s looking for people to hang out with who are like them and who understand them,” says Emma, whose dream job is to someday run a theatre or art center. “While all of Lakeland is welcoming that way, the Bradley Fine Arts Center is where I went when I wanted someone to talk to.”
Emma never acted at Lakeland, but her organizational fingerprints were all over just about every production. She stage managed “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 2009 and says, “My involvement just grew from there.” She also played a key role with the Theatricians, serving as secretary, vice president and president, and directed three productions for the student drama club.
One Lakeland student, a football player named Todd Szymuszkiewicz, had never acted. But after some coaxing from Emma, he read for a part and eventually enjoyed a smashing acting debut in a Theatricians production. Less than a year later, he played the lead role in the school’s production of “Equus.”
“To see someone grow like that is just incredible,” Emma says.
Lakeland’s theatre program certainly helped Emma grow. At Wayland Academy, a private boarding school in Beaver Dam, Wis., there was a need for a junior varsity girls’ volleyball coach. Emma, who had never played or coached the sport, thought about something Associate Professor of Theatre and Speech Charles Krebs likes to say: “Do one thing every day that scares you,’” she recalls with a chuckle.
Her time at Lakeland came and went in a flash, but she won’t soon forget the school’s impact on her life.
“Lakeland molded me into the person I am today,” she says. “What Lakeland builds itself on is being a community, a family. That’s forever.”