LIFE LESSONS BEYOND THE SCRIPT
Since July 2012, Scott Irelan has served as the chair of the College of Creative Arts and Communication’s Theatre and Dance Department. Irelan has also taught a number of classes at Youngstown State University and has directed the University Theatre’s fall 2012 production of “Rent.”
Originally from Toledo, Irelan attended Bowling Green State University to study something other than theatre and performance.
“I started out as a research science major,” Irelan said. “It just didn’t appeal to me. That’s when I decided to switch to a speech and communication major and received my undergrad in that.”
After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BGSU, Irelan went on to become a professional actor for a few years before pursuing his doctorate in performance studies from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
“It gave me the chance to wander,” he said. “I pursued different projects and different work to be prepared when I go back to teach.”
Irelan said he was immediately drawn to YSU’s campus because he had heard of the fantastic reputation that the University Theatre possesses and also to get his feet wet in administrative education.
“I was struck by the intellectual curiosity of the students that I talked to when I visited,” he said. “I like being back in a university setting and the energy is different, particularly at a public university like YSU. I really do enjoy it.”
Besides being drawn to the university, Irelan was also drawn to the location of the campus.
“I grew up in Toledo so I was really excited to get back to Ohio,” he said. “So getting back to somewhere within four hours of my family was something I was really interested in.”
Irelan currently teaches classes such as theater history, script analysis and dramatic literature.
“It’s not my place to pontificate, but more my place to share information,” Irelan said. “I keep learning sessions light and sort of just jaunt through history. I also like to teach the history of the certain plays that are being produced at the time.”
Matthew Malloy, a senior theatre major, currently has Irelan for one of his theatre classes.
“He is one of the smartest people I have ever met,” Malloy said. “He just spews information off the top of his head. It’s insane.”
Irlean also directed University Theatre’s production of Rent in fall 2012 and said it was a very exciting process for both him and the students involved in the production.
“It was nice to be able to start off my first year here directing a big piece like that,” he said. “It really got me interacted with students and helped me learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of the place.”
Natalie Martzial, a junior, played the character Maureen in University Theatre’s production of “Rent.”
“Dr. Irelan has done wonders for the theatre department,” Martzial said. “He’s a great teacher and director and is always willing to help students with any problems they may have.”
In the future, Irelan said he hopes to able to direct more plays, even if it may be a little production or a class project.
“We have some pretty cool shows,” Irelan said. “The theatre and dance program is really unique. Instead of labs, we have performances.”
Malloy said that Irelan really cares about his students in every way possible.
“He’s just really cool and down to earth,” Malloy said. “You really can tell he cares about each and every one of us.”
Irelan has also made a lifestyle choice of becoming a vegetarian since 1998.
“It is so hard around this time of year,” he said. “The smell of ham just gets me.”