Candace Vance

Working at SPU has been a dream come true. I graduated from SPU myself in 1995 with a double major in Theatre and Latin American Studies. After guest teaching for a few years and completing my graduate work, I began teaching at SPU in earnest in 2006. I teach “Acting I,” Acting II,” “Acting III,” “Theatre Voice,” and “Auditioning.”

I’ve been most inspired by live theatre. From a young age, I was entranced by the magic of the theatre, fascinated by the people willing to devote their talents to such an ephemeral form, and drawn to the craft of acting. I was blessed to grow up in a thriving theatre city and in a family with high regard for the arts, so I was consistently exposed to theatre throughout my childhood and teen years.

Before I arrived at SPU as an undergrad, I was tracked to “go Ivy League” for my undergraduate degree. But I was conflicted about moving so far from my family. Dr. Robert Drovdahl, a longtime friend, invited me to preview SPU. Kim Gilnett got involved and invited me to audition for Fine and Performing Arts scholarships and visit the Theatre Department. The rest is history. Those men spoke profoundly into my life just by extending an invitation, and once I was on campus I sensed a deep “rightness” about attending SPU.

My faith, passionate before coming to SPU, became a foundational bedrock during my undergraduate years. My coursework, relationships with professors, personal study, extracurricular activities, and experiences in the Theatre Department helped to shape my overall approach to my life’s work. I continue to work out this approach to this day, and am grateful for the holistic teaching I received at SPU.

As a teacher at SPU, I love that my students are with me in studio (in the classroom), and onstage (some have interned with me onstage). They see my shows, they read my reviews, they all hear the ups and downs of whatever project I’m working on. We need this as artists — collaboration, fellowship, mutual support, and the opportunity to experience firsthand what it is we’re studying. That experience has been highlighted over my years in the Theatre Department by acting in The Dining Room with Don Yanik, being directed by George Scranton in Painting Churches, and having the late James Chapman as an advisor and friend.

Jerry Collum

Jerry Collum is assistant professor of Theatre and technical director at SPU.