COC Names New Theatre Department Chair
College says that Paul Wickline brings passion for drama and teaching.
Hoping to broaden both the selection of courses and range of students featured within the college’s already strong theatre program, College of the Canyons officials have named actor, director and career educator Paul Wickline chair of the college’s theatre department.
In addition to serving as chair of the department, Wickline -- who holds a B.A. in education in theatre and English from Western Washington University and an M.A. in Education with an emphasis in theatre from Central Washington University — will also produce the college’s student theatre season.
“I am thrilled to be working with the college’s theatre department and Performing Arts Center staff,” said Wickline. “They have a true passion for theatre and demonstrate daily their commitment and dedication by continually offering students individualized instruction from an outstanding group of faculty.”
Before coming to College of the Canyons, Wickline was a program coordinator and adjunct instructor for the extended education and summer school programs at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
Prior to that Wickline was director of theatre arts and a theatre instructor and director at Walla Walla Community College in southeastern Washington — where he directed the annual Outdoor Summer Musical at Fort Walla Walla and founded the Walla Walla Summer Acting Camp for high school students. Wickline has also been an adjunct faculty member and lecturer at Central Washington University, Walla Walla University and The Evergreen State College.
In 2003, the Walla Walla Public School District honored Wickline as one of three outstanding district educators with a Staff Achievement Grant. Following that success, in 2005 Wickline was awarded a Meritorious Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for his work as the language and text coach for the Walla Walla University production of “Othello.”
“The theatre has been my passion since the seventh grade,” Wickline said. “I had a very influential teacher while I was in middle school, who nurtured my talents and encouraged me. I only hope I can provide that same source of inspiration to my students.”
Wickline’s theatrical training includes study of classical acting with Wesley Vann Tassel, director and author of “Clues to Acting Shakespeare,” as well workshops on the Meisner technique with Larry Silverberg, and Spolin-based improvisations with Paul Sills at the Wisconsin Theater Game Center.
Though passionate about teaching, Wickline has produced and directed more than fifty stage productions in the last fifteen years including: “Cinderella,” The “Foreigner,” “South Pacific,” “Pippin,” “Godspell,” “The Fantasticks,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” In addition Wickline has remained an active performer in professional summer and regional theatre productions.
"Paul is a great addition to the college's theatre faculty," said Dr. Floyd Moos, the college’s dean of fine and performing arts. "With his training and professional background he brings a great deal of artistic vision, academic leadership, and management of the artistic process to our department."
Having already arrived on campus Wickline is enthusiastic about the opportunity to build upon the college’s theatre program, and hopes to see the department grow to become a stopping place for all students, not just those looking to pursue careers in the entertainment industry.
“Theatre courses at College of the Canyons aren’t just for budding actors,” said Wickline. “Students who take part in theatre classes develop confidence and self-esteem, the ability to think creatively and divergently and to speak clearly. They develop a strong work ethic both individually and collaboratively, and they become better students and better human beings.”
Adding that student recruitment to the department will be high on his list of priorities Wickline commented that he would like to increase the number of theatre courses offered at the college — specifically in the college’s technical theatre program — while also increasing the number of productions and performance projects available to students each semester.
"We have some fabulous students involved in our program, and I hope to go out and find a few more,” Wickline said. “I’d also like to develop a touring theatre project and a sequence of directing courses for students to take. But to do all of this we need even more quality students, who want a quality education they wont be able to get at another two-year program.”
The theatre department offers courses in both theory and practice. Faculty members are committed to teaching an immediately useful set of theatre skills including acting, script-writing, design, technical production and directing while providing a wide spectrum of production experiences in which to practice them — and placing the art of theatre in its larger historical context.