Meet SCCC theater instructor Michele Van Hessen

 Classes begin August 15; fall play will feature local material 

SCCC theater instructor Michele Van Hessen was born in Los Angeles, where her father, Richard, worked as a sound mixer. He was nominated for an AcademyAward for Best Sound Recording for his work on the film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” In the 1950s, he headed film studios in Europe for David O. Selznick. He later worked for the BBC on Darrell’s Island, Bermuda, as head of a film and television studio.

Michele Van Hessen’s formal education began at Marymount in Rome, Italy, and she later studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. She went on to earn three master’s degrees in multiple disciplines, including drama and theater. While attending the State University of Northridge, she studied with Jeff Corey. She also studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.

Van Hessen established a professional acting career, touring the U.S. with the San Francisco Shakespeare Company. She worked for 12 years with La Mama Hollywood as artistic director. She has directed, written, and produced more than 20 plays, as well as writing and producing interactive mystery dinners for corporate and fundraising events.

Most recently, Van Hessen worked in Hawaii as media director for the Republicans in the House of Representatives. She continued her acting career with appearances on “Fantasy Island” and “Dupree and Me.”

In addition, she produced and served as the video photographer and editor for the community television station. Her background also includes newspaper journalism and film and theater reviews.

Fall classes begin August 15 at SCCC, and Van Hessen promises coursework that is “fun, on-camera, devoted to the advancing of personal skills. The art and craft of acting and communication are based on such things as timing, and improving self-worth.”

She plans a fall theater production of the classic American play by Thornton Wilder, “Our Town,” with a twist: the script will include adaptions based on local historian Lidai Hook-Gray’s book “Liberal and Seward County.

For more information about courses, Instructor Michele Van Hessen, or the fall play, contact michele.vanhessen@sccc.edu, or phone her at 620-417-1460. 

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