Earlier this year in January, the Theatre and Dance Program bid a bittersweet farewell as one of our dear colleagues, Christine Jones, left academia to begin a well-deserved retirement from teaching. Mrs. Jones came to NKU with an incredible resume and breadth of experience in stage, film, television, print, and voice-over work. In addition to having trained at both the University of Florida and the University of Virginia, her professional work was the cornerstone of her pedagogy and focused on the practical application of our craft and discipline. Mrs. Jones transferred her wealth of knowledge and professional work into meaningful and engaging training opportunities for her students.
During her time at Northern Kentucky University, Mrs. Jones shared with her students an abiding love and respect for the craft of theatre. This included teaching a variety of courses for the program, including multiple levels of acting, auditions, and film/television performance, as well as work in dialects, improvisation, and race/gender studies in theatre. The breadth of her experience and training granted Mrs. Jones a unique perspective on the training and professionalism required for a career in the theatre. Serving as mentor and advisor to many students during her time at NKU, Mrs. Jones always helped her students to achieve their best self as a person and an artist.
“It's hard for me to express sufficiently what a brilliant, skilled, warm, humane, and gracious actress, artist and collaborator Christine is"
As if her academic credentials weren’t impressive on their own, Mrs. Jones demonstrated the philosophy of life-long learning and the continuous pursuit of reinvention and betterment of one’s craft. She has appeared in numerous films, shorts, television series, and voice over projects over the past few years, including: Divine Decision: Double Down; Promises to Keep; Notzilla; Healing River; From Gettysburg to Baghdad; Once the Ground Thaws; Carol; Triangles and Tribulations; The Dooley and Pals Show; and 99.2: A SpyQuest Adventure, among many others. In 2006, Mrs. Jones moved further into the world of film and television by co-creating Table For Five Productions, which has gone on to produce the highly lauded series Divine Will which is now available on the PureFlix Entertainment Channel (pureflix.com). Recalling his time working with Mrs. Jones, Marc Leif – President of Rockin’ the Wall Studios and owner of Marc Leif Film Group shared:
“It's hard for me to express sufficiently what a brilliant, skilled, warm, humane, and gracious actress, artist and collaborator Christine is. She was an unalloyed blessing to work with; full of unflagging positive energy, ideas, and endless creativity. I would have simply died had I not had the blessing and good fortune to have had her work on my last project. She's simply magic.”
While raising three incredibly talented children, Kyley, Haley, and William with her high-school sweetheart husband Ken, Mrs. Jones began flexing another talent: writing. With her indefatigable spirit and talent for witty and thoughtful dialogue, Mrs. Jones started a collaborating with playwright Ken Jones and composer Jamey Strawn. Together they have created musicals which have been performed as far away as New Zealand and as close to home as The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. With multiple musicals now published, their canon includes: Sleeping Beauty: Rise and Shine; Snow White and the Dancing Dwarfs; Burgertown; Church Girls (available on iTunes); The Day Before Christmas; Lifelines; Lincoln: A Pioneer Tale; Cincinnati's Bicentennial Touring Show; Different Day; and Land Without Liberty. Thinking back on his writing partnership with Mrs. Jones, Jamey Strawn shared:
“It has truly been a joy to write musicals with Christine over the past 17+ years. As writing partners, we’ve enjoyed the luxury of collaborating with the freedom to express our ideas, argue about words, notes and rhythms, and make edits without the fear of offending each other or stepping on each other’s toes. We would feed off each other’s ideas, all for the good of the show. Her passion for writing and her wonderful sense of imagery made her lyrics a joy to set to music.”
While Mrs. Jones’ time teaching at NKU may have come to an end, her work as a writer, producer, director, and actress will continue for many years to come. Everyone who has worked with Christine or had her in class comes away better or stronger. As a major supporter of our program, we will all miss her and the way she inspired us to become better and stronger. Christine’s legacy will live on and our program will forever be a better place because of her. Cheers to our beloved colleague and friend and wishing you the very best in your retirement from teaching!