Dowling Guest Speaker for Spotlight Series, Director of The Winter's Tale

Guest director Vincent Dowling, center, conducts auditions at E. Turner Stump Theatre. Photo by Gary Harwood
Guest director Vincent Dowling (center) conducts auditions at E. Turner Stump Theatre. Photo by Gary Harwood 
Kent State University’s School of Theatre and Dance and The Roe Green Visiting Director Series are hosting famed actor, author and director Vincent Dowling as the guest speaker for the “Spotlight Series” on Monday, April 24.

This event, modeled after Bravo’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the E. Turner Stump Theatre in the Music and Speech Center. Dr. John Crawford, director of the School of Theatre and Dance, will moderate the discussion.

Dowling, born in Dublin in 1929, has acquired many accolades over the span of his life, including an Emmy for his PBS TV production and direction of “The Playboy of the Western World,” the Loyola Mellon Humanitarians Award, The Cleveland Irish-American Archives Award, and was the first recipient of the prestigious “Wild Geese” Award.

This June will mark Dowling’s 56th year in the theatre business. His interest in the theatre began while working with an insurance company in Dublin. When a companion he worked with began attending acting school part time, jealousy and interest provoked him to attend the school as well.

While enrolled in the Brendan Smith Academy of Acting, he says, “I realized I understood what it was all about.” From there, his career took off.

He has now played over 100 roles in various plays, is a Lifetime Associate Director of the Abbey Theatre, The National Theatre of Ireland, and also a former Artistic Director, and later Producing Director in North America.

Dowling says his connection with Kent State University “is a bit of a long story.” The initial connection starts with a close friendship with former art professor of Kent State University and his wife, Joe and Aglesa O’Sickey.

Over time Dowling developed more connections and friendships through the university that would eventually lead to the School of Theatre and Dance asking him to guest direct their production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, and speak for the “Spotlight Series.”

“I was in love with [Kent State] before I got here.” Dowling says. When meeting with faculty to discuss the play before he moved to Kent, he explains that he felt “exhilarated with the amount of enthusiasm and commitment the faculty had with the play and the quality of studies.”

One of Vincent Dowling’s concerns in moving to Kent for the period of time he would be working on the play was with his radio show in Northampton. “I didn’t want to leave the show,” Dowling explains.

Dowling airs his hour-long program every two weeks on the local radio station, Valley Free Radio. WKSU has given him the opportunity to record in its station and then send the recording to Valley Free Radio. “So far every show has gone out on time” Dowling says.

Dowling is also working with the Kent State University Press to publish his second book, The Very Owl’s in Circles Move.

Furthermore, Dowling is grateful for the students he is able to work with on the play.

The Winter’s Tale is said to be Shakespeare’s greatest exploration of the cycles of human life, interweaving elements of jealousy and comedy. Dowling explains “jealousy is a great drama, but difficult to bring to life.” However, he is “blessed to have such [a] powerful and talented” cast that can portray the emotion so well.

During the “Speaker Spotlight,” Dowling will talk on the art of acting, and provide invaluable advice on how to break into the theatre business. Dowling will also perform some of his work for attendees as well as take questions from the audience.

After the event, Dowling will also be available during the complimentary reception to speak personally with guests.

The Winter’s Tale will show April 21-30 at Kent State University in the Wright-Curtis Theatre in the Music and Speech Center.

Performances for The Winter’s Tale will run Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 330-672-2497.

By Kathy Matas

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