This week on Yes But Why, we chat with Jessica Thonen, theatrical design and technology professor at Eckerd College.
Jessica Thonen is a passionate community builder. At Eckerd College, she supports the BA and BFA degree programs for the Theatre Dept. And they are truly lucky to have her.
With a BA in drama from University of Dallas and an MFA from West Virginia University, Jessica Thonen has designed scenery and costumes in Europe, Off-Broadway, and throughout the United States. She has extensive touring experience, working at venues such as Radio City Music Hall and the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles as well as Norwegian Creative Studios, the entertainment arm of Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings.
Jessica and I are friends from way back, as you can hear in our chat. She is the reason I first moved to New York City; she got me my first BIG DEAL THEATER job right out of college. We both worked as stage managers for the NYU Tisch School of the Arts graduate acting program. It was an amazing experience and yet, in this chat, we talk mostly about our insane living situation at the time!
In our conversation, we discuss her work in the props department at Texas Shakespeare Festival and how that got her started on her path. She tells me about her graduate work in scenery and costumes as well as the extensive touring experience she has done during her career. We talk about the community building and mentoring she has gotten to do since joining the theater academia world.
Jessica is constantly making new theatrical pieces with her students. Check out THIS interview about a recent project, "Into the Wind," that Jessica co-created with Jenn Rapp during the pandemic!
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