Klonowski is teaching three classes this semester: Public Communication, Introduction to Theatre and Film and Theatre Production.
[wzslider autoplay=”true” info=”true” lightbox=”true”]
David Burke, professor of theatre, has taught at Union for 26 years and has only seen four other theatre professors at Union in his career.
For the past few years, Burke has been the only permanent Union theatre faculty member, with visiting and adjunct professors being hired when needed.
Enter new visiting theatre professor, John Klonowski, stage left.
Klonowski comes to Union from the theatre department at Bethel University, where he has been for the past three years.
“During the first couple of months [at Bethel] I thought it would be beneficial to connect with some of the theatre professors at the nearby universities,” Klonowski said.
Burke was the first theatre professor that Klonowski met from the area. They have kept in contact ever since.
“I felt the Lord tugging on my heart to leave Bethel. One day, I went to have coffee with David and told myself I would not ask if there was a job opening at Union,” Klonowski said. “When we sat down, the first words out of his mouth were about another theatre faculty position opening up at Union.
“A few months later, I was interviewing for the job.”
He specializes in technical theatre, which includes the magic behind set construction, lighting and overall production of a play.
Klonowski earned a bachelor’s degree in speech education with a minor in theatre from Lewis University in Joliet, Ill., and received an MFA in Scenic Design from the University of California at Davis in Davis, Calif.
He has an intriguing background, having performed in Chicago and Los Angeles and worked at Universal Studios in Hollywood.
“One cool thing I did for a couple of winters was performing ‘The Grinch’ at Universal Studios,” Klonowski said. “I spent several hours in the makeup chair getting prosthetics glued to my face. It was a unique experience.”
Many of the students involved in the theatre program are eager to see what Klonowski has to offer. He is very straightforward about his goal in teaching theatre and drama to students.
“[The students] need to make sure that this is their calling and, if so, to nurture those gifts that God has ordained them with,” Klonowski said. “It is about the parable of the talents. We need to invest in our calling and gifts because it is part of our worship.
“Then it is my job to equip and encourage them.”
Bryanna England, sophomore theatre and broadcast journalism double major, said she believes Klonowski’s presence will benefit the students.
“He is very encouraging in both the way he describes his experiences in the theatre and in the way that he communicates about our textbook material,” said England, who is enrolled in Klonowski’s theatre production class. “[He is] inspiring, passionate, fun [and] knowledgeable.”
Klownoski not only aims to encourage his students but has a vision for the future of the Union theatre.
“I have been given the assignment to build a drama ministry team that will perform outreach-oriented productions,” he said. “I would love to see this program expand into something even more vibrant and glorifying to God.”
Klonowski will be directing a show this semester titled, “A Servant and Two Masters,” which is set to premiere toward the end of November.