College of Liberal Arts advisor Courtney Brookins, Speech and Theatre Transfer Advisor Laura McDavitt, and Speech and Theatre Freshman/Sophomore Advisor Dr. Nadia Bodie pose for photos during the Homecoming Advising Session.  On Saturday, October 11th, College of Liberal Arts and Departmental advisors met with hudnreds of local and out-of-state band students in a successful recruitment drive, resulting in many new students for programs such as Criminal Justice, Psychology, Art, Speech, Theatre and Music.

Kids Kollege / Speech & Theatre Collaboration

September 18th, 2014 by speech


Theatre major Jenilyn Saul, a junior from Louisiana, working with Kids Kollege on the Rose E. McCoy Stage. The project is a semester long joint collaboration between the Dept. of Speech & Theatre and Kids Kollege. At the end of the year, students will present a performance.

Auditions for Miss Evers’ Boys – Sept. 18th

September 15th, 2014 by speech


Auditions for "Miss Ever's Boys" will be held this Thursday, September 18th at 6pm in the P. Studio. No monologues required, cold readings only.

Professor Prince Duren’s play, “Like Fine Wine”, will be one of the plays performed at a fundraiser for the Corbin Senior Centre in Spokane Washington on November 1st.

Auditions For “Like Fine Wine” Aug. 27th!

August 24th, 2014 by speech

Auditions for the JSU Production of "Like Fine Wine" will be held Wednesday, August 27th at 6pm at the Rose McCoy Auditorium P. Studio, Room 117. There will be cold readings, so there is no need to bring a monologue. Please come early to fill out audition forms.

Synopsis of the play:

"Like Fine Wine" is a story about dreams that never die. Caleb "Sax" Sanders, a blue collar cab driver from Memphis, was once on the brink of breaking into the business as a famous jazz musician. Like threw him a curveball and he was forced to put his dreams on hold. An old friend visits him on his 50th birthday and sees a once renown musician a shell of his former self. Is it too late for Caleb to pursue his once deferred dream? Or will be he content with memories and what-ifs? Like Fine Wine, dreams only get better with time.

JACKSON—New Stage Theatre asks soul searching questions about family, faith, ethics, and personal freedom with Matthew Lopez’s award winning play The Whipping Man. Can loyalty and freedom coexist? A Jewish Confederate soldier and two of his former slaves are left to observe Passover together in the wake of the Civil War, prompting the challenging examination and reconciliation of the past while revealing the fear and uncertainty of venturing into a new future. Currently one of the top five plays produced throughout the country, the New York Times hailed The Whipping Man as “haunting, striking, and powerful.” Artistic Director, Francine Thomas Reynolds directs this historical drama, which runs February 25 – March 9, 2014. Preview night is Tuesday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. Curtain times and dates for all other performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Sundays.


The Whipping Man is sponsored by the Mississippi Arts Commission and The Real Yellow Pages.


Matthew Lopez’s drama is a great piece of storytelling with interesting history, excitement, passion and suspense,” said Director Francine Thomas Reynolds. “I am drawn to the play’s strong subject matters. You can’t make things like slavery, Civil War medicine and betrayal particularly easy to watch, but because The Whipping Man bridges different cultures, it is the type of production that has the power to do more than just entertain. It has the power to incite public discourse and transformation.”


The cast features three veterans of New Stage. Brian Maxsween plays Caleb, an injured Confederate soldier returning home, only to be confronted with devastation and loss. In addition to being seen in last season’s The Great Gatsby at New Stage, Maxsween has appeared in the National Tours of The Wizard of Oz and Pinkalicious!, and in the World Premiere of Lisa Loeb's musical Camp Kappawanna. In the role of Simone, the former slave who clings to an inherited faith and the hope that his own family will be reunited, is New Stage favorite Jay Unger. Unger has been seen in many New Stage productions including A Christmas Carol and Driving Miss Daisy. He has worked in television and films including Huckleberry Finn and O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?, and his voice can be heard in many commercials and voiceovers. Completing the trio is Yohance Myles as John, also a former slave, now torn between the opportunities and responsibilities of his new-found freedom. Myles is currently a professor at Jackson State University and has recently completed a series of film and television projects which include, The Host, This is the End, Common Law, and Treme. Unger and Myles appear through the courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.


An Actor Chat is immediately following the performances on Wednesday, February 25 and Wednesday, March 5.


The Whipping Man performances are February 25 – March 9, 2014. Ticket prices are $28.00 with discounts available for students, senior citizens and groups. Student Rush tickets are also available one hour prior to each performance for $10 with valid student identification. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, charged by phone by calling the theatre at (601) 948-3531 or ordered online at The theatre is located in the Jane Reid Petty Theatre Center at 1100 Carlisle Street in the Belhaven neighborhood.

Mr. McCroom, our department's Technical Director and Set & Lighting Design instructor, recently did the lighting design for a New York production of "The Whipping Man". Here is part of the review of that production, highlighting the design team, including Mr McCroom:


"Scenic Designer William Bloodgood had his work cut out for him, considering that the entire action of the play takes place in the ruined foyer of an antebellum-style mansion in Richmond.  We see the crumbling grand staircase, the partially caved in roof and broken windows.  The once formal chairs have been disassembled for firewood; the once beautiful china is now chipped; the crystal chandelier is gone — all symbols of the destruction that war has wreaked on this place (and by extension the people and culture that once inhabited it).  Bloodgood has done an incredible job of crafting the production’s visual details to evoke the proper sense of place and a time.  The incessant rain that falls through the broken roof and which can be seen and heard through the windows during the play is masterfully done.

Since the majority of the story takes place at night, Lighting Designer Darren McCroom had to find a way to evoke the soft, flickering nature of candlelight.  Indeed, lighting (which when done right should be virtually unnoticed by the audience) plays an essential part in forging the emotional backdrop to any play.  McCroom succeeded admirably in creating such an atmosphere for these actors, enabling their characters to blossom.  The same can be said for the work of Costume Designer Gretchen Darrow-Crotty and Composer Michael Keck."

KCACTF – Feb. 3-9, 2014

January 28th, 2014 by speech

Congratulations to the Department of Speech and Theatre's five students nominated to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). The students will compete at the festival in Roanoke, VA February 3rd-9th, 2014.

The students nominated, from JSU's production of "Ruined" are:

Dylan Fleming (Acting), Tierra Williams (Acting), JacQuela Carter-Hulitt (Set Design), Quintavious Phillips (Stage Management), Paul McInnis (Student Directing Intern)

Director Dr. Nadia Bodie-Smith is very proud of their accomplishments and is looking forward to the competition.

The students will not only compete, but also attend workshops and audition for graduate schools and professional companies.

MADDRAMA Week – Jan 26-31st

January 28th, 2014 by speech

MADDRAMA Week Begins January 26th.  Click on the poster for a larger version with details and showtimes: