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Dr. Jack Wann, center, teaching a class on Shakespearean acting
Loft Theatre named in honor of Dr. Jack Wann
By David West

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University has named its Loft Theatre in honor of former artistic director Dr. Jack Wann.

Wann was a member of Northwestern State’s faculty from 1990 until 2003, building one of the top undergraduate theatre programs in the South. Under Wann, Northwestern gained accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre. More than 40 of his students worked in summer stock companies each year and a number of his former students are working professionally.

“It would be safe to say that the NSU Theatre and Dance program would not be nearly as successful today if it hadn't been for Dr. Wann's guidance,” said Coordinator of Theatre and Dance Scott Burrell. “Even today, the program's mission remains the same as it did when Dr. Wann rekindled the program in the 90s. A strong commitment to college academic work combined with practical training to support students into their entrance into the professional theatre/dance world.”  

Wann established the NSU Summer Theatre. He also regularly brought working theatre professionals to Natchitoches to hold workshops for students.

In 2002, he published a book, Shakesperience!: An Approach to Performing Shakespeare, and received the Mildred Hart Bailey Research Award from Northwestern State.

Wann was named professor emeritus after his retirement. He has maintained his close ties with Northwestern State by directing summer theatre productions and returning to campus annually to teach theatre classes. Wann taught a three-week class on Shakespearean acting at NSU this semester which concluded in early April.

"The name of Dr. Jack Wann is closely identified with the theatre program at Northwestern State. He led the reinstatement of the program and developed faculty and students to high levels of achievement in theatre,” said Northwestern State President Dr. Randall J. Webb. “He has shown great loyalty to Northwestern State and its students by returning each year to share his knowledge. Jack remains a beloved figure within the university and Natchitoches communities."

The Jack Wann Theatre is on the second floor of the A.A. Fredericks Center for Creative and Performing Arts and is being renovated to create a state of the art acting and movement laboratory theatre.