School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Retiring SMTD professors reviving tradition of ‘Last Lecture’

Professors Karen Sheridan, Kerro Knox 3 will present combined lecture on April 15

icon of a calendarApril 8, 2024

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Retiring SMTD professors reviving tradition of ‘Last Lecture’
Karen Sheridan and Kerro Knox 3
Professors Karen Sheridan and Kerro Knox 3 will present a combined “Last Lecture” at 5 p.m. on April 15 in the Varner Recital Hall on the OU campus. The event is free and open to the public

The Department of Theatre at Oakland University is reviving the tradition of retiring faculty presenting a “Last Lecture.”

The “Last Lecture” series is a tradition at Oakland that gives a retiring faculty member an opportunity to reflect on his or her career, the history of the university and what they see as the future for the university. The program also provides an opportunity to thank a departing faculty member for his or her contributions to the university.

“Calling it a lecture is quite a stretch for two theatre people; more storytelling and reminiscing is the name of the game,” said Karen Sheridan, a distinguished professor of theatre at OU.

On Monday, April 15, Sheridan will join Professor Kerro Knox 3 to present a combined “Last Lecture” at 5 p.m. in the Varner Recital Hall on the OU campus. The event is free and open to the public.

“A unique aspect of this event is that we are doing our ‘Last Lecture’ together,” said Knox, professor of theatre and associate director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. “Due to the nature of theatre, and the fact that we have collaborated on so many projects, it seemed like a no-brainer.”

Knox has been at OU for 27 years, while Sheridan has taught at the university for 33 years.

“We have worked together, produced theatre together, acted together, and started a study abroad course in Greece in 2011, which is still running,” Sheridan said. “We make each other laugh, and we drive each other nuts, so this should be a good time. And if no one laughs, we’ll move quickly on to refreshments.”

A question-and-answer session will follow the “lecture” portion of the event.

Varner Recital Hall is located at 371 Varner Drive in Rochester, Mich.

About Kerro Knox 3

Kerro Knox 3 teaches lighting design and theatre history, as well as serving as the associate director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

He has designed countless shows in all areas of music, theatre and dance at Oakland, recently lighting for The Laramie Project, and scenery and lighting for the upcoming opera Hansel and Gretel

He also has directed several productions, and is currently developing a children’s theatre show Caribbean Dreamin’ based on Caribbean folk tales and tracing the development of the steel drum, which will play this May and tour to local elementary schools. He also directed the one-man musical Herringbone at the Body Politic Theatre in Chicago and in Los Angeles. For several summers, he has traveled to Greece to teach, design, and perform.

Knox designs lighting regularly for the dance companies Eisenhower Dance Detroit, Take Root, and Patterson Rhythm Pace; which have taken him to New York City, Poland and South Korea. His work for Meadow Brook Theatre includes Ladies in Lavender and Arsenic and Old Lace.

He received his BA in American Studies from Yale College and his MFA in Technical Design and Production from the Yale School of Drama.

Prior to Oakland, he taught at Syracuse University and at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He is former co-chair of Region III for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

About Karen Sheridan

Karen Sheridan has taught all levels of acting and things related to theatre for 33 years at Oakland University. She directed 59 productions here, most recently A Little Night Music produced at the historic Strand Theatre in Pontiac.

Her directing includes classical and contemporary plays, Shakespeare and musical theatre, opera and pieces for actors with orchestra. Four of her Oakland productions were invited to perform at regional American College Theatre Festivals. Cloud Nine performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Sheridan came to Oakland after a national tour of Into the Woods and maintained a professional career. She is grateful for her opportunities at Meadow Brook Theatre, Williamston Theatre, Detroit Public Theatre, Flint Rep and the former Attic and Jewish Ensemble Theatres; as well as her many summers at Peninsula Players and years of playing “Sister” in Late Nite Catechism.

She’s co-founded a study abroad in Greece, taught in the Honors College, given the keynote at Convocation, served on the University Research Committee, written a poem for an Art Gallery exhibit, and selected many a Judd Family Fund recipient.

Sheridan is grateful for the 25-year partnership with our interpreters, working with Deaf artists and bringing accessible performances to our community. She became a distinguished professor in 2020 and is a proud recipient of the Monica E. Emerson Diversity Award for her commitment to diversity and inclusion on stage.

Sheridan received her BA in Theatre from Loyola University, studied mime in Paris with Etienne Decroux, and received her MFA in Acting from the Goodman School of Drama/DePaul. She taught at both her alma maters, at Stateville Correctional Facility and Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. Sheridan thanks all her teachers, students, collaborators, family and friends for the wild ride.

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