The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Charlotte Headrick Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Mike Dicianna.

April 7, 2015


“The Grande Dame of OSU Theater”  April 7, 2015  Location: Withycombe Hall, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Headrick provides a detailed overview of her family's deep Tennessee roots, her undergraduate experience at the University of Tennessee, her doctoral studies in theater and drama at the University of Georgia, and her early academic appointments at Appalachian State University and Young Harris College. From there, Headrick describes the circumstances that led her to relocate to Oregon State University and the period of adjustment that was required upon moving to a new and unfamiliar region of the country.

The primary focus of the session is Headrick's institutional memories of the theater arts at OSU, as compiled over a career spanning more than three decades. In this, she discusses the standing of theater and drama as a program within the Speech Communications department, her experiences as OSU's first woman faculty member in theater, some early productions that she led, and a few memorable student actors whom she directed. She likewise recalls the technical details of mounting productions in the Mitchell Playhouse, the transition to the Withycombe Theater, reactions that she has received from both peers and community members to various plays that she has staged, and specific productions that have made an impact on her student performers.

Headrick next turns her attention to her research on Irish female playwrights, discussing her doctoral dissertation, her involvement in professional organizations, and the anthology that she co-edited and published in 2014. She then reflects on certain of the awards that she has received, notes her involvement with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and shares her memories of her stay as a Moore Visiting Fellow at the National University of Ireland.

As the interview nears its end, Headrick recalls a few memorable moments of her career as a stage performer. The session concludes with Headrick's thoughts on the current state of the theater arts at OSU, her appreciation of President Ed Ray's support for the drama program, and campus productions that are upcoming in the year ahead.