Longtime Theater Professor Clement ready to premier his first written play at CCRI
November 14, 2022
The reader has finally stepped out from behind the curtain to try his hand at writing.
More than two years since he first sat and began putting his thoughts into words, longtime Community College of Rhode Island Theater Professor and director Ted Clement is ready to present his sabbatical project, The Choice, an original play written by Clement and inspired by his life experiences growing up in a single-parent home in Woonsocket, RI. (See photo gallery.)
The Choice premiers Thursday at 3 pm at the Warwick campus’ Bobby Hackett Theatre with additional performances at 7 pm on Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19 before concluding with a second 3 pm matinee on Sunday, November 20. Admission is free, but donations are being collected by the CCRI Players at the door to support The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
A multi-talented director, actor, and mentor, Clement has worked in myriad capacities throughout his career, but until now had never actually written his own play.
“I’ve always said to my students, ‘I’m a reader, not a writer,’” Clement said.
That changed in the summer of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down events worldwide, from sports and concerts to parades and live theater. Feeling “blocked in” with no outlet to express his creativity, Clement spoke with longtime colleague and fellow director David Valentin, a CCRI alumnus, who suggested he write his own play.
Hesitant at first, Clement started small, writing one scene at a time, all based loosely on memories from his childhood in the Woonsocket neighborhood of Fairmount in the mid to late 1980s. Soon, Clement’s initial scene turned into a 20-minute play, at which point Clement gathered a group of colleagues via Zoom for an impromptu reading to solicit additional advice and suggestions.
“We had a great conversation with a bunch of great actors,” Clement said. “This is the the nature of the process of writing a play. It’s a collaborative thing right from the very beginning.”
Once in-person classes resumed at CCRI in the fall of 2021, Clement’s project took a backseat, so – with encouragement from his wife and CCRI English professor Dr. Christine Fox – he applied for a sabbatical before the start of the current fall semester. With the time to focus exclusively on his play, Clement wrote additional drafts, shared them with colleagues, then hosted his first free public staged reading at the Liston Campus in September, which inspired additional rewrites. Eventually, he tapped Valentin, a former student and the original inspiration behind this experiment, as his director and worked alongside him to assemble a who’s who of CCRI theater alumni as his cast and crew.
Now, more than two years since the idea’s inception, The Choice is ready for primetime. Clement describes it as “reflective of my experience” growing up, yet still a work of fiction, inspired primarily by Clement’s conversations with friends and colleagues who either grew up in single-parent homes or are single parents raising children.
The Choice tells the story of a single mother raising her teenage son. As a woman of faith and conviction, the mother occasionally butts heads with her son, all of which contributes to their unique family dynamic. The play also touches upon the stigmas associated with single parents during Clement’s childhood while reinforcing the concept that the connection those families feel for one another is not at all diminished because it wasn’t “what was considered a traditional family format” in that era.
This week’s premier of The Choice caps a long, “slightly terrifying” process and an experiment in theater “filled with discovery” for Clement, who over the past two and a half years stepped outside of his comfort zone to learn a new aspect of the craft he’s dedicated his entire life to. Clement is most looking forward to sharing this academic experience with colleagues; because it’s a workshop production, which means it’s a relatively modest production that does not include all the aspects of a full production, Clement could take The Choice in a number of different directions following this week’s premier.
“I’m an actor and director, so I’ve never had to come up with the story myself,” Clement said. “Being a playwright is arguably the most frightening experience I’ve had in theater because it’s so personal – not just because the content is personal, but because it’s my thoughts that I’m putting out there for others to experience.”
The Choice stars alumni Audrey Lavin Crawley, Elliot Gosselin, Steven Zailskas, and Stevie Smith, plus colleague Becky Minard. Current students Ilyus Evander (House Manager), Brandon Soriano (Sound Board Operator), Lia Pinto (Props Runner), and Nate Campbell (Assistant Director) are also working on the production along with alumni Rebecca Mooney (Stage Manager), Haley Ahlborg (Lighting Designer), Erika Fay Greenwood (Costume Designer), and Lauren Ferriera (Light Board Operator).
“I’m happy to discover I have the capacity to express myself through this part of the theater experiment,” he said. “Playwrights are the source of what we do in the theatre. We are all creative artists within the theater, but we are all creative interpretive artists. The story starts with the playwright.”
Three CCRI professors earn prestigious NISOD Awards for teaching excellence
September 19, 2023
Three Community College of Rhode Island professors earned 2023 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Awards, which recognize individuals doing extraordinary work on their campuses. This marks the second year in a row the college has had three different professors earn this distinction.
Class of '23 graduate named one of three Gamm Theater fellows for 2023-24
September 15, 2023
After fueling her passion for theater at the Community College of Rhode Island, Class of 2023 graduate Mireya Hoffens will continue to pursue her dream this year as one of three emerging artists to join the 2023–24 Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theater’s Gamm Fellowship Program.
CCRI announces $5 million partnership with Bally's to launch gaming-focused programming
September 14, 2023
The Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) today joined Governor Dan McKee, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, Majority Leader Christopher Blazejewski, and Bally’s Corporation Chairman Soo Kim to announce a $5 million donation to CCRI to develop and launch new programming in the gaming, hospitality, and security industries and to support student scholarships.
Alumni Association elects new President, Chair of Alumni Diversity Council
September 11, 2023
The college's Foundation Board and Alumni Association Board recently elected two new officers to key leadership positions on CCRI’s Alumni Association; Jeffrey C. Wright Jr. is the new Alumni Association President and Malida Khim is the Alumni Diversity Council Chair.
Getting to know Dr. Costigan: A student's perspective
September 11, 2023
CCRI student Kat Taylor attended Opening Day last month at the Warwick Campus and shares her experience interacting with Interim President Rosemary Costigan from the best seat in the house – front row center in the Great Hall – as the college's new leader addressed faculty and staff for the first time.
CCRI theatre students gain valuable insight during summertime internship
September 07, 2023
Two Community College of Rhode Island theater students are wrapping up a four-month paid internship at the Spectrum Theater Ensemble, a Providence-based theatre company showcasing neurodiverse artists.
Elissa Parente, 19, of Cranston and Jalen Rodriguez, 22, of Woonsocket, who is blind, have handled a variety of roles with STE, including marketing, publicity, social media, and even performing on stage during STE’s 4th Annual Neurodiversity New Play Festival (NNPF) this weekend in Providence.
Dr. Costigan begins tenure as CCRI's Interim President
September 01, 2023
When she first stepped foot on campus of the then Rhode Island Junior College in 1976, Dr. Rosemary A. Costigan never envisioned she’d one day serve as president of her alma mater.
Nearly five decades later, Dr. Costigan begins her tenure Friday, September 1, as Interim President of the present-day Community College of Rhode Island, becoming the first alumnus to serve in that capacity.
CCRI Dental Clinic Offering Free Appointments for the Fall
August 02, 2023
With the start of the fall semester a few weeks away, the Community College of Rhode Island is taking appointments for an array of free dental hygiene services at its Dental Hygiene Clinic located at the Lincoln campus.
The Dental Hygiene Clinic is a learning environment for dental hygiene students during each academic year where patients can schedule appointments Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 7:30 am – 5:30 pm, to receive free treatment from students under the supervision of a licensed dentist and dental hygienist. Patients are welcome for dental hygiene treatments every 12 months after initial completion.
CCRI Players Present Antony & Cleopatra
August 02, 2023
The CCRI Players present Antony & Cleopatra, the epic love story that moved the events of ancient empire, as part of CCRI’s Summer Repertory program at the Bobby Hackett Theatre in Warwick on August 3 – 6.
Cyber Camp Takes Over CCRI's Newport Campus
July 26, 2023
CCRI welcomed Governor Dan McKee, Newport Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong, and Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green to its Newport Campus to learn more about the Newport Public Schools’ Cyber Camp to promote learning beyond the formal school day and beyond the traditional 180-day school year.
Business Department Chair Coclin earns Teaching Excellence Award
June 28, 2023
CCRI Business and Professional Studies Department Chair and Associate Professor Maria Coclin has been named a regional recipient of the 2023 Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Teaching Excellence Award.
The ACBSP recognizes individuals each year who exemplify teaching excellence in the classroom.
CCRI's Cybersecurity Program Director earns Community Service Recognition Award
June 26, 2023
Community College of Rhode Island Computer Studies Assistant Professor and Cybersecurity Program Director Michael Kelly received a 2023 Center of Academic Excellence Community of Practice in Cyber Defense (CAE Cop-CD) Community Service Recognition Award at this year’s CAE in Cybersecurity Symposium for his outstanding contributions to the cybersecurity community.
Kelly – a 2019 recipient of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award – has led efforts to increase enrollment and add new programs to the college’s Computer Studies department, securing CCRI’s reputation as a national leader in Cybersecurity education.
Updated COVID-19 vaccination policy
June 20, 2023
CCRI students and employees no longer need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of enrollment or employment, effective July 1, 2023. This means that students attending Summer 2023 and Fall 2023 semesters will not have a vaccination requirement.
Getting to Know: Carlin Weirick
June 19, 2023
Today we meet Carlin Weirick, one of the newest members of the CCRI community whose unexpected journey through the Human Resources field has led her to a rewarded career as a recruiter with a keen eye for talent.
With a diverse background in several fields, she has brought her exceptional people skills and passion for helping others to CCRI, beginning her latest journey in May as the college's new Talent Acquisition & Diversity Recruiting Manager for the Department of Institutional Equity & Human Resources.
Medication Aide/Tech training for CNAs begins next week at Newport Campus
June 15, 2023
The Community College of Rhode Island’s Division of Workforce Partnerships is currently accepting applicants for the second cohort of its Medication Aide/Tech training for licensed Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) offered at the Newport County Campus.
Classes begin Thursday, June 22. The duration of the program is 48 hours over the course of eight weeks, or two three-hour sessions per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays with participants given the option to choose 9 am–12 pm or 1–4 pm.
Chairs submit names of 1/3 of department faculty (including new hires) who are to be evaluated during academic year
September 23, 2023 All Day
September 23, 2023 All Day
September 24, 2023 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Phillips Memorial Baptist Church
September 25, 2023 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
September 26, 2023 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
September 26, 2023 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
September 27, 2023 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
September 27, 2023 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
September 27, 2023 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM
September 27, 2023 8:30 PM - 10:30 PM