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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

FRT gains new director

FRT+gains+new+director

The NMU Forest Roberts Theatre (FRT) has gained a new director after Ansley Valentine, the previous director, decided to leave the university to pursue other options at the end of last year.

The new director of the FRT was announced in a press release on Jan. 23. Bill Digneit is an NMU alum and also a co-owner of Double Trouble Productions in Marquette. He will begin his job as director in 2017.

Digneit said one goal of his is to share his new knowledge with his students in the upcoming years and that he feels that now is the right time for him to work with students in higher education.

“I always wanted to end up in higher education, but I really wanted to have professional experience. The time kind of felt right to throw my hat in the ring and I really want to push where the students can go, especially on the technical side,” he said.

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Digneit said he wants to teach his students things outside of the curriculum of traditional theater and that another one of his goals is to emphasize connecting with other programs on campus and adding more technological content to the curriculum.

“The campus here is a family—it’s a community and you really want to make sure that everybody is helping out each other and working together because the whole goal is to build successful future people that are going to be running the world here. If there are student organizations that want to do stuff I think that’d be great,” Digneit said.

Lastly, Digneit said he wants to bring more students on campus into the theatre.

“I would like to see more people coming to the theatre and people who have never walked in these doors and people who have never seen the shows. We need more people to get over that inertia of buying that ticket and coming to the shows for the first time,” Digneit said.

Paul Truckey, interim director of the FRT, said Digneit’s love for the theatre was one of the reasons for his appointment.

“One of the things we were looking for was someone who could really market the Forest Roberts Theatre,” he added.

David Pierce, technical director and production manager of the FRT, said a national search was performed to find the right director for the theater. He noted that roughly six to 10 applicants were considered for the position but Digneit was chosen.

“Digneit’s reputation and strong national presence in theatrical design and promotion made him the ideal candidate for the position,” Pierce said.

If students would like to see an FRT production, “Building Madness” will be shown from Feb. 22 to Feb. 25. It will be $10 for NMU students and $15 for general admission. More information can be found on nmu.edu/forestrobertstheatre.

“There’s something very raw and very in-the-moment when you go see a show because there is no redo—no takes. They are in that moment with you and you’re experiencing this atmosphere.

You’re transcending into this new world that the artists built for you from the second you walk into the lobby. We’re really going to work on this red carpet experience.” Digneit said.

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