Willcock, stage combat expert, comes to Bryan

| October 20, 2012 | 0 Comments

By Maddie Mondell
Staff writer

Britain Willcock, known as “Mr. Beedubs” in the theater department for his initials and affinity for Buffalo Wild Wings, has recently been thrown into life on the hill. A graduate from Spring Arbor University in Michigan, Willcock received his masters at Regent University in Virginia Beach, specializing in stage combat.

He is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) and Christians in the Theater Arts (CITA). Willcock fell in love with stage combat in grad school, leading to his association with the SAFD. A video trailer of his work in stage fighting can be found on Youtube, where Willcock takes on five men by himself in “The Three Musketeers.”

Willcock has already made a splash on campus with his signature Vibram toe-shoes paired with suit jackets and buying chocolate and flowers for the costume department before the Hilltop Players’ first production “You Can’t Take It With You,” which Willcock directed.

“I’m keeping my head above water, I jumped in full speed with two classes already set and jumped in directing the first play and not knowing the students too well. It’s been a sprint from the get-go. The Communication Department has been incredibly welcoming. Some students at Bryan even helped me move in. They had the truck unpacked before we even got to the house,” said Willcock.

While teaching at Bryan, Willcock wants to transform students intoe artists with the skills of industry professionals and but who also see their craft as a form of worship. Willcock wants his students to be able to match secular artists in their trade and let their faith then show from their work.

Willcock enjoys Buffalo Wild Wings (He goes boneless), Mumford & Sons, and encouraging his students to think about art and theater and the effect and influence that it has on past and current cultures.

“I was Head Carpenter for the theater department at Regent University. Katie Fridsma, a Bryan alum, sent me a Facebook message and explained that her alma mater was looking for someone to fill a theater position. I debated my options and within a couple hours, my mentor, Paul Patton, the Head of the Communications Department at Spring Arbor, called to tell me that there was a professor at Bryan College who needed a replacement,” said Willcock.

Willcock and his family are accustomed to making quick decisions. The decision to go to graduate school only took about four days according to Willcock.

“My wife had good feelings about me going to grad school. She had already packed half the house in case we were going,” said Willcock.

Mary, Willcock’s wife of six years, plays cello and is currently planning on going to school and getting a degree in nursing. The Willcocks have a son, Caden, who is 6-years-old and a superhero and Star Wars enthusiast. Students can occasionally see him walking around campus disguised as a mini Darth Vadar. He recently graced Willcock’s Introduction to Theater class with his presence, dressed as Batman. Many students wonder if Caden will follow in his father’s example.

“I couldn’t escape theater,” said Willcock, when asked about how he got interested in drama.

“I fell in love with a VHS version of the 10th anniversary show of Les Miserables. I watched that video until it wouldn’t play anymore. Even then, I didn’t know what it was but I knew there was something magical about it,” said Willcock.

Willcock got his first taste of theater in the 6th grade in the role of Toad from “The Wind in the Willows.” Willcock wore his sister’s skirt and dyed his hair green. The principal laughed so much that they had to remove her from the auditorium. From then on, Willcock was hooked on theater.

“Growing up, I was quiet and nerdy and sat in the back of class, not talking to people. I was captain of the math academic team along with QuizzBusters, and the National Honors Society. I started out undergrad as pre-Med,” said Willcock.

But that couldn’t keep Willcock out of the theater for long, eventually leading to a major switch and a new focus.

The theater department has a couple weeks to rest before they get thrown into their next performance, “Cinderella.” Other courses that will be offered next year include advanced directing and Elizabethan theater taught by Professor Belisle, and Scene Study and Stage Combat (Note: Does not count for an EHS requirement.) taught by Willcock.

“We are created imago dei, and so we should partake in the beauty of creation in the talents that God has given us and that in sharing our art, we share ourselves and with that our true passions and the love of Christ will show.”

 

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