Riverside Theatre provides professional theatre connections

A unique relationship with Iowa City’s Riverside Theatre provides Cornell students with a direct connection to professional theater, both on campus and through Riverside productions just 20 miles away.

Riverside Theatre
Jody Hovland: "I know of no other college that partners in this way with a professional theatre company. The close relationships that develop by working as peers and struggling through the creative process together creates a bond that is extraordinary between faculty and students."

Riverside founders and artistic directors, Jody Hovland and Ron Clark, share a full-time teaching and directing position on Cornell’s faculty.  Hovland says she’s most proud of the Cornell/Riverside co-production that is staged every other year.

“It’s a remarkable bridge between professional artists and developing student artists,” she says. “I know of no other college that partners in this way with a professional theatre company. It combines the best of both academic and professional mentorship.”

Clark says Cornell’s facilities are “the best available among small colleges in the country.” And Hovland calls Cornell’s One Course At A Time schedule “a great luxury.”

“We essentially have the structure of an intensive acting studio, with students’ time dedicated exclusively to their acting projects,” she says. “I love having the students all to myself for a month, and am always thrilled with the progress that a truly disciplined student is able to make in that concentrated period.”

And Cornell faculty and students contribute significantly to Riverside productions in Iowa City, as well.  Theatre professors Mark Hunter and Scott Olinger are regular collaborators in directing and design, respectively, and music professor Don Chamberlain has contributed several musical scores. Cornell students often fill internships, and Cornell students and graduates have also been hired for production and acting roles.