Agreement with Norris Cultural

By Bill Schwingel

The Northern Illinois Stage Company will perform in St. Charles this summer as the result of an agreement between NIU and the Dellora A. Norris Cultural Arts Center in St. Charles.

The Stage Company is a professional production company of the NIU Department of Theatre Arts and has performed in Woodstock for the past five years.

The Norris Center hosts more theater and musical productions than NIU, offers a larger stage and a recently upgraded sound system, said Albert Tucci, NIU theatre arts department chairman.

The Norris Center also includes more than twice the number of seats of the Woodstock Opera House, where the NIU company has held summer performances since 1984, he said.

“The move to the Norris Cultural Arts Center in St. Charles is a wonderful opportunity to enlarge our audience base as a regional theater,” Tucci said.

The joint venture is a “natural extension” of why “the donors gave us the land,” said Norris Center President Max Hunt at a news conference Thursday.

“This is an opportunity for both the Norris Center and NIU to strengthen our programming for the region. We’ll have to see where this takes us—we’re open-minded,” said Hunt.

“Three productions are planned in future years, and we also hope to bring a production from campus—during the school year—to the Norris Center,” said NIU President John LaTourette.

“We have begun talks about bringing educational programs to the center that will complement programs in area schools,” he said.

NIU summer productions offer training for students and young professional actors. Company members devote all their time to rehearsals and performances, similar to the conditions found in professional theater.

Summer productions will include “Noises Off” by Michael Frayn and the musical “Peter Pan,” which will begin in July.

Programs including guest artists, summer theater camps, residences for interns and workshops in directing and design connected with summer productions are being discussed.