Carolyn Conover is the new professor of theater at Blackburn College. Conover grew up on a sheep farm six miles from any paved road. Outside of school, she spent most of her time playing in the nearby woods with her brothers.
When asked what first got her interested in theater Conover replied, “I was born this way.” Conover has been performing ever since the third grade where she “played ‘The Tooth’ in a play about the dentist.” She began to take the craft quite seriously at the age of 13 when she started auditioning and performing at a community college near her home. From that point on she claims she has “not gone a full year since then” without performing. Throughout high school she performed in 8-10 shows a year.
Conover went on to get her bachelor’s degree in theater at Saint Mary of the Woods College in Indiana, her master’s in English and drama at Indiana State University and her Master of Fine Arts in theater from Michigan State University. Her first professional job was with Crossroads Repertory Theatre in Terre Haute, Indiana. She has since performed in several shows and works there as the dramaturge in the summer months. (A dramaturge is a member of a theater’s staff that helps arrange seasons of plays, hire actors and other clerical work.)
Conover taught in the English and Fine Arts department at Franklin College in Indiana for five years. While auditioning for M.F.A programs she taught theater appreciation for a year at Southeastern Illinois University before being accepted into the program at Michigan State University. Part of her graduate course work also required that she teach theater to undergraduate students while also working on her other courses and shows. After receiving her MFA, she accepted an assistant professor position teaching theater studies at Michigan State University. Shortly afterwards she came to teach at Blackburn.
Having attended and taught at both small liberal arts colleges and larger universities, Conover decided that she is better suited to teaching in an environment like Blackburn. “All I’ve ever wanted to do is work in theater and teach theater…I was looking for institutions where I could be a more impactful member of the faculty,” said Conover.
Conover is currently directing the fall play, “Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast” by Lee Potts and Marilyn Hetzel, which is a collection of vignettes from the Lewis Carroll novels “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” (see “Down the Rabbit Hole” on page 8). The performances will take place Nov. 3-5 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 6 at 2:00 p.m. in Bothwell Auditorium.
Next semester Conover will direct the spring musical comedy “Once Upon a Mattress” by Mary Rodgers, Marshall Barer, Jay Thompson and Dean Fuller. “Once Upon a Mattress” is a musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, “The Princess and the Pea.”