Nationally renowned theatre director and educator Egla Birmingham Hassan will direct ISU Theatre’s It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play later this semester. Hassan was selected as one of the inaugural Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Artists in Residence, a new program funded by the Transforming Liberal Arts and Sciences Endowment which seeks bring renowned creative or performing artists to campus, primarily in music, theatre and creative writing, to participate in an artistic endeavor at ISU.
During her on campus residency, in addition to directing, Hassan will offer guest lecturers and master classes in multiple theatre classes, including Introduction to Performing Arts, Theatre and Society, Issues in Performing Arts, Directing I, and more.
Hassan is an accomplished director and professor of theatre whose 32-year career at Western Illinois University included heading the Master of Fine Arts in Directing program and helping young theatre artists to find their own voice. She has spent most of her adult life engaged in some form of theatrical pursuit. Whether that was exploring the relationship between religion and drama during her time at Christian Theological Seminary, performing with a small theatrical group in Pennsylvania, or writing plays for special audiences, Hassan says that she has always looked for the ways in which theatre speaks about the human condition.
“We are thrilled to offer our students the opportunity to work with and learn from a director and artist as accomplished and inspiring as Egla Hassan,” said Director of Theatre Brad Dell, who studied under Hassan at Western Illinois University. “And we are so truly grateful for the incredible support from Dean Schmittmann and the Transforming Liberal Arts and Sciences Endowment. Egla’s residency will be truly transformative for our students.”
Hassan is now retired from teaching but still works as a freelance director. She says she “still looks for opportunities to tell stories that gives audiences a look at our world, and sometimes, a mandate (or suggestion) to make it better…at a time when negative political rhetoric and social strife seems dominate our daily lives, it is exciting to direct a play whose major theme is included in the title: It’s a wonderful Life...”
It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play will perform November 30, December 1, 7, & 8 at 7:30 pm, December 2 at 1:00 pm and December 9 at 2:00 pm. Auditions for the production will occur on Tuesday, October 9. More information about auditions and performances can be found at www.theatre.iastate.edu.