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APSU Department of Theatre and Dance keeps bringing big names to campus


Austin Peay State University (APSU) 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) Department of Theatre and Dance has had an incredible month with guest artists. 

Thanks to the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, the Office of Advancement and the Tennessee Theatre Association, from October 11th-November 6th, 2018 the department welcomed a nationally recognized choreographer, a Tony Award-winner, the Phantom of the Opera and much more. 

Jerry Winsett

Jerry Winsett

Here’s a brief overview:

  • Oct. 11-12: Dancer/choreographer Ellen Werksman visited several classrooms for discussions on the commercial dance industry and presented master classes on technique. Werksman founded Dancewerks, a dance entertainment company that has performed for Oprah Winfrey and with James Brown, Eartha Kit and Kenny Ortega. Dancewerks also helped during the piano sequence in the Tom Hanks’ film “Big.”
  • Oct. 18-20: The department also hosted the Tennessee Theatre Association’s Fall Conference. During the three days, students from around the region visited campus to participate in festivals, workshops and professional screening auditions.
    • The Theatre for Youth Festival presented the one-woman show “Harriet Tubman: One Woman’s Journey,” performed by Jackie Murray to 400 Clarksville elementary schoolchildren.
    • Our guest artist for the festival was Tony Award winner Levi Kreis, who won for the role of Jerry Lee Lewis in 2010’s “Million Dollar Quartet.” In his workshop “The Fearless Creative,” he spoke with students about finding that part of you that you should celebrate: “The thing that makes you different makes you a commodity. Don’t let anyone let you think that being different is not valuable.”
    • We hosted over 300 college and professional actors who screened for professional auditions in March at the Southeastern Theatre Conference, the largest theatre conference in the world.


  • Oct. 26: Students visited with distinguished Austin Peay alum Jerry Winsett, a stage, film and television actor, most recently seen in the Oscar-winning movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Winsett spoke to students about the film industry and shared advice on getting started. Asked for his best advice, he said, “Not to take things personally. Otherwise, the rejection will kill you.” Also, “Be nice to everyone. I don’t care who it is. Because all casting directors started at the lowest possible positions – personal assistants, secretaries, etc. They may one day remember you.”
  • Nov. 1: The Phantom himself, Quentin Oliver Lee, with the national tour of “The Phantom of the Opera,” visited. Lee spent an afternoon with students and faculty, giving a vocal master class to four musical theatre students and speaking on how to make an audition stand out: “The audition is the only time we get to do what we want. Have fun! As an actor you have to be unapologetic in whatever you do.”
  • Nov. 6: One-man show phenomenon Tim Mooney visited to put on his performance of “Moliere Than Thou.” Mooney has toured the country for two decades with a variety of shows where he performs great plays or a variety of works from Shakespeare and Moliere at “breakneck” speed, performing all of the parts with quick changes. 
Quentin Oliver Lee

Quentin Oliver Lee

For more about theatre and dance at APSU, visit




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