The actors will be on campus for three days, starting Tuesday, March 25, leading a stage combat workshop, meeting with a humanities class and a Freshman Learning Community, and discussing plays with the "Conversations with Shakespeare," class. Their residency concludes with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in Kresge Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.
The Artists in Residence program gives students a chance to meet people working successfully in an artistic field, to ask questions and get an idea of what it takes to work in those professions, said Joann Kaiser, lecturer in communication arts.
"Rob and Jen are so approachable, and love being on our campus and working with students," she said. "This is a great opportunity for students to understand the discipline and training that goes into professional acting. Students benefit from the workshops and conversations about performance and literature."
The Johansens, who have appeared in many lead roles at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, previously were artists in residence at IU Kokomo in 2012. They've been friends of the campus since the 2011 Commencement, in which Jen Johansen's stepfather, Bill Hunt, received an honorary degree.
Rob Johansen has been a professional actor for 18 years, and a fight choreographer for 15 years. He has choreographed fights in more than 20 productions of Romeo and Juliet, and has played Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol 12 times. Jen Johansen has been a professional actor for 10 years, winning a leading actress award in Cincinnati for her performance in Time Stands Still. In 2011 she was awarded a Creative Renewal Fellowship, which allowed her to travel to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London for a month-long Shakespeare Intensive Training.
Together, they are co-artistic directors for ShadowApe Theatre Company, which prides itself on innovative theatrical work. This summer, they are producing a new piece for the IndyFringe Theatre Festival.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.