New theater director comes to Kent Stark

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New Theatre Director at Stark

Allyson Nichols

Years of hard work in the theater industry have given Kent State Stark’s new theater director, Jim Weaver, many unique experiences.

Weaver performed on Broadway, directed plays in Europe, choreographed award-winning shows and now will be directing at the Kent State Stark Theatre.

Growing up in New York City, Weaver knew his whole life that he wanted to be in theater. This feeling was confirmed when he took his first acting classes when he was 10, 

While taking an acting workshop around the age of 19, other attendees convinced him to take dancing classes as it was believed it would help with the sense of freedom on the stage as an actor. He soon began attending the Harlem School of the Arts in New York City, which provided him everything he needed.

“It came in very handy because the more that you could do in this business, the better your chances are of working,” Weaver said.

At age 16, Weaver was able to perform in his first Broadway show, “Don’t Call Back,” a dramatic thriller about an actress being terrorized by her son and his friends. He’s performed in the Broadway shows “Marie Christine” and “Ragtime.”

While doing shows at The Porthouse Theatre, he met Terry Kent, the artistic director of the theater, and he found out about Kent State’s graduate program for theater. He decided to attend the school eventually graduating from the program.

Weaver has since directed and choreographed many plays, including the award-winning productions of “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Flloyd Collins.”

“I love puzzles and figuring out solutions to things and it really gives me a chance to incorporate what I’ve learned over the years as an actor,” Weaver said about directing. “It’s a fulfilling feeling to be able to watch what you’ve seen in your head come to life on the stage.”

While working as a performer, Weaver was able to travel around Europe. Through his performances, he came in contact with various companies and producers. This led to him being able to direct and choreograph shows overseas.

“It’s so much fun to know that you’re practicing your craft, you’re doing what you really want to do and you’re making a living out of it, but then you’re also getting to see all of these different places that you see pictures of or hear about,” Weaver said. “It’s just an amazing feeling. It changes your perspective.”

After the retirement of Kent State Stark’s previous theater director, Brian Newberg, Weaver was chosen to step into the role.

“One of the things I really to try to teach in my acting classes is that you have to challenge yourself as an actor and always stay present in the moment, that way it’s not the same every night,” Weaver said. “You don’t go on automatic pilot and you’re really communicating with whoever you’re acting with and then you’re able to keep on finding stuff.”

Weaver’s first production with the Kent State Stark Theatre, “Unnecessary Farce,” will be at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 and 17. An American Sign Language interpretation will be on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.

Allyson Nichols is the Kent State Stark reporter. Contact her at [email protected]