College of Visual & Performing Arts
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When possible the Department of Theatre welcomes theatre and film artists to participate in our productions, classes and feature events. These guests—actors, directors, musicians, designers—all working at the top of their craft, are a window to the professional entertainment world. They inspire our students and invigorate our programs by sharing their vast experience and imparting fresh insights. Among those who have visited over the years—Eileen Heckart, John Amos, Bridget Hanley, Conrad John Schuck and Sally Struthers.
Barry Ratcliffe actor, producer, and motivational speaker recently shared his film “Dorothy and the Witches of Oz” with students, faculty and the public at a screening in the Pridemore Playhouse. In a question and answer session following the screening, Barry fielded questions ranging from “What was it like to work with Bruce Willis?” to “How challenging was it to act with the lion’s teeth?” He spoke a lot about making the film, even revealing information about the special effects. While here, he also led a master class, giving numerous insider actor tips on casting, marketing, online promotions, headshots, auditioning, agents, and career management.
Mark Beall music director, producer, composer, came from Nashville, Tennessee to provide musical direction for RU Theatre’s highly successful production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Having trained at Manhattanville College, Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music, and the Ecole d'Arts Americaine, Beall has worked on more than thirty-five different musicals at numerous theatres. His compositions range from animated film scores to chamber opera. He has taught at Belmont University and Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. Beall brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to his interactions with RU students as he led them to the staging of a smash musical!
Golden Globe and two-time Emmy winner Sally Struthers joined RU Theatre and Cinema to play Aunt Sally in Fifth of July and Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Best known as Gloria in the landmark sitcom “All in the Family,” the multi-talented Struthers is a star of regional theatre, Broadway, TV and film. Of working with the students at RU she said, “I just feel energized when I am around young, talented people. So it’s always fun to do that as a switch out from highly trained professional older people who are also great, but there is something about these kids that’s amazing.”