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Aaron Hook '06 teaching in McCarthy Hall

October 2017


From stagehand to assistant technical director to shop foreman, Aaron Hook '06 has done it all; and now, to top it all off, he is teaching.

To fill in for an adjunct professor this semester, Hook teaches the Tuesday/Thursday section of Survey of Theatre (THTR 202), a beginner-level theatre class. The class takes place in McCarthy Hall, but Hook strives to offer a hands-on experience and finds ways to get his students out of the classroom.

Survey of Theatre covers the basics of theatre including types of stages, lighting, famous plays, general theatre history, working roles in theatre, auditions, and more. The class is required for theatre majors, but many non-majors also take it for fun or to cover a general education credit.

Hook's class is structured based on curriculum requirements, a theatre experience book, and advice from Theatre Department Chair Daniel Rairdin-Hale, who teaches the other two sections. Most recently, the class attended SAU's production of Lonely Planet to discuss the different aspects of theatre. Later in the semester, the class will attend SAU's production of Picasso at Lapin Agile and the Quad City Theatre Workshop's production of Almost, Maine directed by 2016 SAU alum Jordan McGinnis.

"I enjoy this class because it's a review for theatre kids and I can introduce it to people who are new to theatre," Hook said. "I like the more hands-on discussions we have. I benefitted greatly from the very hands-on experience St. Ambrose gave me, and I like the idea of being able to continue my trend."

Hook originally attended Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa, but transferred to SAU due to a recommendation he received from one of his professors. He finished classes at SAU in fall 2005. He then took some general education classes in 2006 at Scott Community College and graduated in Winter 2006 with a bachelor's degree in theatre.

After college, he married and moved so his wife Amanda, another SAU theatre alum, could go to graduate school at the University of Iowa. He worked at a newspaper in Iowa City and as a mechanic for a few years while also working as a stagehand as a side job.

"The biggest thing I learned during that time was that I wanted to do theatre," Hook said.

His wife received a job offer in the Quad Cities, so the couple moved back. Hook obtained a theatre design job with Denny Hitchcock at Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse where he was eventually hired as a full-time technical director. He also worked side jobs at Davenport Junior Theatre and at SAU.

Hook became the assistant technical director at SAU after realizing it was more suited to his skill set and his desire to work with people and teach. Now, the duties of his original position have been distributed between two different jobs, and Hook is considered the shop foreman, who ensures safety and helps students in the shop. In addition, Hook designs set lights for 2-3 SAU productions each year.

Previously, Hook has taught welding and metal work classes to engineers and has been a guest speaker in other classes to talk about lighting, dance, and technical theatre. Also, he taught a stagecraft class at Davenport Junior Theatre.

"I made a conscious decision that being more active in post-secondary lives was something I wanted to pursue," Hook said. "I enjoy the fact that when I come to work every day, I'm doing something a little different. A lot of young people need outlets like that."

Currently, Hook and Amanda have a 4-year-old son, Gavin. In addition to working side jobs at Davenport Junior Theatre and Circa '21, he is considering pursuing a master's degree.

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