KOKOMO, Ind. – Indiana University Kokomo will host Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) actors Rob and Jen Johansen this Friday (January 27) with a public performance as part of its Artists in Residence program.
The Johansens, who have played numerous lead roles in IRT productions, will share their talent in at 7 p.m. Friday in Kresge Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public. They will also spend time with students on Wednesday and Thursday.
Rob Johansen is a noted stage combat choreographer, and Jen Johansen recently trained with the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Susan Sciame-Giesecke, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, is excited to have successful, professional actors provide active learning experiences for students.
“Artists in Residence gives students the opportunity to meet established professionals in their fields, so they can see what it is like to work successfully in those artistic fields,” Sciame-Giesecke said. “We bring in performers in a variety of fields, which enhances our continued goal of academic excellence and student success.”
Sciame-Giesecke met Jen Johansen in May 2011, when her stepfather, Bill Hunt, received an honorary degree from IU Kokomo.
“We are excited to be able to partner with one of the great friends of our university,” she said.
Joann Kaiser, lecturer in communication arts, teaches the acting classes the Johansens will visit. She and a group of students recently saw them perform in “Julius Caesar.”
“They can see actors in action, professional artists, and see what it is like to be paid to act. It gives them a taste of what the real world holds,” Kaiser said.
The Johansens have performed in many Shakespeare productions. Kaiser said the performers talk about the plays from experience, and about why they are still relevant hundreds of years after their original productions.
The Johansens also plan a stage combat demonstration and open session at 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, in Kresge Auditorium.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.