on faculty since 2005
Ph.D., Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 2009
M.A., Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 2002
B.A., Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1997
For Associate Professor John Sebestyen, the theatre is a place to be both seen and heard, a place where story-telling and authentic communication come together. “In theatre,” said Sebestyen, “the power of a story well told can change the lives of not only audience members, but also us as participants in the telling of those stories.”
Changing lives and opening doors to new opportunities is the focus of Sebestyen’s teaching. He sees theatre as “a place of convergence for many other studies and art forms. It can nurture creativity and strengthen community.
“An immense part of learning theatre comes from doing theatre. The courses I teach utilize a variety of strategies and approaches. I feel that it is important to actually put into practice the concepts being studied,” said Sebestyen. He finds that strategy works as well with students in the classroom as in rehearsal, and he seeks to understand them all as individuals.
The completion of Trinity’s Art and Communication Center fills Sebestyen with anticipation for what it will mean to the College and students interested in pursuing communication arts degrees. Trinity’s proximity to professional theatre in Chicago also offers a unique way for student actors, directors, and technicians to explore many aspects of the theatre and experience for themselves the caliber of professional productions that only a city like Chicago can provide.
Sebestyen believes that participation in theatre courses and productions can help students “in whatever area they choose to enter after college. Involvement in theatre requires commitment, discipline, flexibility, and good communication,” all essential skills that can be applied to any career or profession.
Offstage and outside the classroom, Sebestyen enjoys a variety of pursuits, among them traveling, attending performances, reading, and playing the piano. A few personal highlights include seeing the original Broadway cast perform the musical, The Light in the Piazza; reading the book To Kill a Mockingbird; playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata; and visiting friends in Herefordshire, England. Native Ohioans, Sebestyen and his wife, Heidi, are the new owners of a 94-year-old brick bungalow in Blue Island, Illinois.
Chair, Emerging Scholars Debut Panel of the Religion & Theatre Focus Group, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Denver, Colorado, August 2008.
Chair, Emerging Scholars Debut Panel of the Religion & Theatre Focus Group, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, New Orleans, Louisiana, July 2007.
“Theatre and the Practices of Healing and Testimony.” Position Paper. Shaping Communities: The Role of Theatre in the Christian Academy, Seminars in Christian Scholarship, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 2007.
“Creative Collaboration: Bridging the Aesthetic Distance between Art and Theatre at a Small Liberal Arts College.” With Emily Kennerk. Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Chicago, Illinois, August 2006.
Session Coordinator / Respondent, “Theatre Session: Performing Memory, Resistance, and Witness.” Trajectories of Memory: Intergenerational Representations of the Holocaust in History and the Arts, Bowling Green, Ohio, March 2006.