May 26, 2018
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NESCom turns the stage into a classroom

Brian Swartz | BDN
Brian Swartz | BDN
Arnold Champion, a sophomore majoring in Entertainment Production at the New England School of Communications in Bangor, finishes building a TV set for use in the Winterport Open Stage sci-fi comedy “The Man from Planet 52.” Champion, who lives in Corinth, has helped build the set for the play, which runs Nov. 9-11. “I was working in my church one summer for Vacation Bible School, building a set [for another play], and I enjoyed doing this,” he said. After applying to major in Video Production at NESCom, Champion changed majors “the day they announced the Entertainment Production program.” After graduating from NESCom, he hopes to pursue a master’s degree in design.
By Jodi Hersey, Special to The Weekly

A new degree program at the New England School of Communications is attracting people to the college.
“Entertainment Production is something that was in the works for about five years, ever since Husson [University] decided to build a theater,” said Ken Stack, director of entertainment production at NESCom. Entertainment Production, one of three bachelor-of-science degrees offered at the school, was introduced last year; 17 students are enrolled in the program.
“There are three different aspects of production in the entertainment world,” Stack said..”Event design, which includes lighting and scene design. Then there’s technical direction, which is productions and shows. The third is production management for those interested in becoming a stage manager, a director or organizing events.”
The Entertainment Production students gain their knowledge and skills from inside the classroom and on the stage. “One of the exciting things about EP is we’re really starting to focus our work within our curriculum so what you’re studying on the board gets put on,” said Stack.
Sophomore Arnold Champion of Corinth is learning that lesson first hand. He’s building the set for the sci-fi comedy “The Man from Planet 52” for the Winterport Open Stage. Shows are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Nov. 9-10 and 3 p.m., Nov. 11.
“It’s a really silly play for kids that I think everyone will enjoy,” said Champion. “I love that I get this hands-on opportunity. I’m actually doing an event-design class this semester, and usually you go through the process with a hypothetical show. but I get to do it hands on with an actual show and see the end result.”
Champion said he did have a few challenges while working on the play set. “Midterm week was tough, trying to balance school and work with set design for the play,” he said. “But I know there isn’t a lot of opportunities to get hands-on work in theater, so that makes it worthwhile.”
Stack is thrilled with the opportunities that students like Champion are being given at the Gracie Theatre and other area playhouses. He said that EP students will be able to put their education to work upon graduation.
“They’re not limited to theater,” said Stack. “I’d love to see them working on cruise ships, theme parks, anywhere in the entertainment industry.”
High school students and others interested in entertainment production or other programs offered by NESCom can learn more at the college’s open house, slated for Saturday, Nov. 10. To register or for more information, log onto or call  (888) 877-1876.

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