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November 8, 2010   Columns Articles | Campus Closeups | Theater takes center stage for staffer
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Dina Canup, an administrative associate in the department of theatre and film studies, makes a point to see all the University Theatre shows. She also recently began her first semester of a Ph.D. program for theatre and performance studies. Photo by Peter Frey

Theater takes center stage for staffer

Sara Freeland

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By Sara Freeland | November 8, 2010
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Dina Canup, publicity coordinator and undergraduate administrator for the department of theatre and film studies, got her start in theater when she played Cinderella in her kindergarten class play.

Children's theater, high school drama group, college drama productions and community theater followed.

"It's always been there," she said. "Theater can be something you do for a living, something you do voluntarily, something you do educationally. It really builds a lifelong love regardless of what you do with it."

Canup came to UGA three years ago, leaving her job in real estate shortly before the market crashed.

"I looked at the job description and I'd been doing theater for fun, advertising through my real estate job and I'd taught students when I was getting my master's degree. I thought I was uniquely qualified for the job," she said. "It made perfect sense to me."

As an undergraduate at Auburn University, Canup majored in English, but managed to take more theater than English classes. She spent her time working in the costume shop and considered becoming a costume designer until she realized that she didn't really like to sew. Her first job out of college was ticket manager for the Birmingham Broadway Series, bringing touring Broadway shows to town and overseeing ticketing and advertising.

After completing her master's at UGA in 2001, she auditioned for a local performance of the Comedy of Errors directed by Fran Teague, an English professor for whom Canup had been a teaching assistant in the Writing Intensive Program.

She got the part of Adriana and said she fell in love with theater again. She's since stayed involved with the Town and Gown Players by acting, directing, serving on the board and doing publicity. Through the group she got to know some of the students and employees from UGA's theatre and film studies department.

When she was directing Play It Again, Sam in 2007, one of the actors, Steven Carroll, came to rehearsal in a suit. She learned that he was interviewing for a promotion at UGA. He was promoted to business manager in the department of theatre and film studies, and she applied for his previous position.

Now she assigns students for faculty advisers, helps clear students to register for classes and talks to prospective film and theatre students and their parents and was part of the design team for the Glee-inspired posters for the current production of The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee.

"It's a juggling act sometimes," she said. "We've got Spelling Bee going on, but it's prime time advisement season and high school seniors are starting to think about where they're going to go to school."

She frequently gives tours of the Fine Arts building and makes a point of giving prospective students the chance to stand out on the stage and look out into the auditorium.

"A lot of students want to go be professional actors, make it big on Broadway and that's great," she said. "I really try to help them make an informed decision."

Canup says there's a lot to know about a theater major.

"Especially for parents, they're terrified that their child will major in theater," she said.

So she makes sure they know that UGA's degree is a liberal arts degree and that the department really encourages double-majoring. "A theater major here is a degree for life no matter what you do to feed yourself," she said.

Theater teaches skills including communication, writing, research, critical thinking and teamwork, because as Canup says, " you can't operate your own lights."

Around the office Canup is known as a reliable and resourceful coworker.

"She's a fantastic person to work with," said David Saltz, head of the department of theatre and film studies. "She loves theater and is deeply committed to what she does. She's an incredibly positive and proactive person."


FACTS
Dina Canup

Administrative Associate II
Theatre and Film Studies
B.A., English, Auburn, 1993
M.A., Religion, UGA, 2001
At UGA: 3 years

UGA
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