Mount Mercy University has many new faces on campus this year, including Iowa native Nich Radcliffe, Mount Mercy’s first drama coordinator. Radcliffe said he is excited about bringing a “unique and different” thought process to MMU.
Radcliffe graduated high school in Vinton, Iowa and attended college at National Louis University in Chicago where he received an outstanding scholar award and graduated second in his class with a BA in Theatre Arts. He stayed in Chicago for 15 years after graduating and worked as a teacher, actor, director, technician and set designer.
A notable highlight of his career was directing “Trice,” a world premier production of an unproduced screen play about Jack Trice, a black lineman for Iowa State College’s 1923 football team. During a game against the University of Minnesota, Trice was trampled by the opposing team and died from the injuries. “It was an important story; one that I felt needed to be told. It could not wait for a film to be made,” Radcliffe said.
Other career highlights include playing Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar”, acting in two world premiers written specifically for him and working with Tony Award nominee Lara Teeter. Radcliffe has worked alongside Tony award winners Andy White and Mary Zimmerman. He has also helped build sets for Broadway, the NFL and Oprah Winfrey.
Radcliffe’s new part-time position was created when Kathy Pudzuvelis retired after 38 years in MMU’s drama department. “The university is in a transition due to the length of her service,” Radcliffe said. “When somebody is in a position for that long, and then all of the sudden they retire and somebody else comes in, it’s a big change.”
Radcliffe teaches Intro to Dramatic Arts, and also oversees the Drama Club.
In his first year at MMU, Radcliffe said he hopes to see a significant increase in participation in the drama department. To aid in achieving his goal, he has decided to direct a play that he describes as “interesting,” “exciting” and “a big departure” from what MMU has done in the recent past. “The Crucible,” written by Arthur Miller, is a drama based on the Salem Witch Trials and is filled with “a lot of great roles,” Radcliffe said. “It’s a real ensemble show. None of the parts of huge, so the time commitment is doable for a lot of people. It means everybody gets good stage time,” he explained.
Radcliffe also said he hopes to see more involvement from males. Erasing the stereotypes males hold when associated with drama is important. “What’s a theatre guy anyway?” asked Radcliffe, a former football and basketball player, “A lot of professional actors started out as athletes and transitioned into film/theatre.”
Radcliffe will kick off his first year at Mount Mercy starting with auditions for the fall play, “The Crucible.” Auditions will be held in McAuley Theater on Sept. 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Nich Radcliffe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was written by Amanda Mayotte, Feaure Editor, and was originally published in the Mount Mercy Times in the September 12, 2012, issue.