Menu & Search
Northwest faculty member Stephanie Jorandby and found students spent their summer working with the River Campus Summer Arts Festival at Southeast Missouri State University. Pictured are Jorandby (left) with Northwest students Remy Lupo (bottom center), Patrick McGary (right), Emma Aldrich (center) and Sierra Coleman (top). (Submitted photos)

Northwest faculty member Stephanie Jorandby and found students spent their summer working with the River Campus Summer Arts Festival at Southeast Missouri State University. Pictured are Jorandby (left) with Northwest students Remy Lupo (bottom center), Patrick McGary (right), Emma Aldrich (center) and Sierra Coleman (top). (Submitted photos)

Sept. 19, 2019

Costume instructor, students practice skills at summer arts festival

By Kala Dixon, communication assistant


Northwest Missouri State University faculty member Stephanie Jorandby spent her summer creating cat costumes, building stage props and collaborating with child actors.

Jorandby, an assistant professor of theatre and costume, was hired for the summer to help with the River Campus Summer Arts Festival at Southeast Missouri State University. She was the costume designer for a production of “The Aristocats Kids” and props designer for “Newsies.”

Stephanie Jorandby's rendering of costumes for “The Aristocats Kids.”

Stephanie Jorandby's rendering of costumes for “The Aristocats Kids.”

Four Northwest students accompanied her and worked as paid interns for the festival. Sophomore Emma Aldrich from Hubbard, Iowa, served as stage manager; sophomore Remy Lupo from Omaha, Nebraska, served as carpenter and technician; freshman Patrick McGary from Overland Park, Kansas, served as sound technician; and senior Sierra Coleman from Perry, Iowa, served as costume technician.

“This was a very valuable experience,” McGary said. “It taught me so much about the sound field that I haven’t had the opportunity to learn.”

The director of the River Campus Summer Arts Festival contacted Jorandby directly for suggestions on who to hire for the summer. And her recommendations were acknowledged.  

“Oh my goodness, it was wonderful,” Jorandby said. “We were thrilled when we found out we had four kids going. The kids were just ecstatic.”

Working as props designer for “Newsies” required Jorandby to be flexible and adaptable to any situation. She was in charge of designing, finding and helping to construct stage props.

“Sometimes my day included three times back and forth to the Dollar Store or Walmart to get random stuff,” Jorandby said. “It’s responding to things that happen in rehearsal and working through your plans.”

While Jorandby is usually involved with theater in the educational field, working in the professional field proved to be a different experience.

Being the costume designer for “The Aristocats Kids” placed Jorandby in a workplace environment she had not experienced before. She was responsible for designing the children’s costumes, collaborating with an assistant and introducing the costumes to the children.

“7- to 14-year-old kids pretending to be cats – there is nothing more perfect than that,” Jorandby said. “I haven’t done a lot of theater with young performers, but working with kids is magic. They were all so professional.”

She added, “The biggest thing I learned while being a member of theater company this past summer was the critical importance of a well-planned, well-organized, and well-executed company schedule. By planning ahead and budgeting human resources carefully, our production manager made sure that everyone would be really proud of the end result.”

Patrick McGary, pictured during a performance of "Newsies," worked as a sound engineer at the River Campus Summer Arts Festival.

Patrick McGary, pictured during a performance of "Newsies," worked as a sound engineer at the River Campus Summer Arts Festival.

Jorandby also learned techniques and skills she plans to incorporate in her Northwest classroom.

“In this profession you are always teaching, and you are always learning,” Jorandby said. “The most critical lessons I take away from experiences like this are about current professional practices in the theatre and production industry. I know exactly what the professional climate is like within the industry right now and can update my coursework and studio practices constantly in order to provide the most current level of profession-based learning to our Northwest students.”

Jorandby’s interest in theater and performance peaked in high school when she had to choose between pursuing synchronized swimming or theater classes.

“I gave up my sport and I never looked back,” Jorandby said. “That was a really good decision for me.”

One of Jorandby’s favorite accomplishments while at Northwest was when she and a student’s dresses for “Learned Ladies” were nominated for the parade at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

“The reason I was proud of that accomplishment is because I had a student assistant designer who was the draper for that show—meaning she did the pattern making,” Jorandby said. “I’m proud of accomplishments like that because I’m showcasing the work my students put in to bring it to life. That is the goal of goals.”

Jorandby joined the Northwest staff in 2014 six years ago. She teaches theatre appreciation, stage makeup, and design principles for theatre, among other theatre-related courses. She has a master’s degree in fine arts in theatre design with an emphasis on costume from Southern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in studio art from Wisconsin Lutheran College.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704