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Comedic star takes on instructor role

By Leslie Vryenhoek | Sept. 4, 2007

Andy Jones, star of stage and screen, takes on a very different role this fall. The St. John’s performer is slated to teach Memorial students in the Diploma in Performance and Communications Media program the ins and outs of mounting a play.

It’s a craft the local writer, actor and renowned funnyman knows well. For 30 years, he’s been delighting audiences and garnering critical acclaim.

A former member of the Newfoundland comedy troupe CODCO, he has written five one-man comedy shows: Out of the Bin, Still Alive, King O’ Fun, To The Wall, and, most recently, An Evening with Uncle Val. The latter had a successful run at Eastern Front Theatre’s On the Waterfront Festival in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia this summer. Jones has toured extensively across Canada, the UK, and Ireland, and last spring performed in Australia.

Mr. Jones has also had major roles in several films, including Rare Birds and Young Triffie. His numerous awards include two Gemini awards, Emmy and Genie nominations, election to the Newfoundland Arts Council Hall of Honour, The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council’s Award of Excellence, and the ACTRA Award of Excellence for Lifetime Achievement. 

Now students of English 4401: Producing the Play will benefit from his experience and talent.

In the course, they will learn the ropes from developing a script to a mounting a full production with actors, sets, costumes and lights.

“Each instructor takes a new spin with this course and Andy will be no different,” said diploma program coordinator Jason Smith. “Andy intends to focus on sketch comedy from writing to production for stage or studio.”

A joint initiative of the Department of English, DELT and CBC Television, the Diploma in Performance and Communications Media is an experiential learning program that introduces students to theatre and video production. Other courses cover acting, directing, and video production, and students also benefit from an instructional field placement.

Each fall, the program takes on about 12 students. Auditions were held at the end of August to fill the roster.

In 2000, Memorial presented Mr. Jones with an honorary degree.