by Sherry Lucas
Jackson State University interim speech and theater chairman Mark Henderson’s role as the head of a national professional organization could help bring a conference to Jackson and entice celebrities here for organization-sponsored events, he said.
“And of course, our Jackson State students are going to be on the forefront of that,” said Henderson, who recently became the 32nd president of the National Association of Dramatic & Speech Arts Inc.
Also, JSU junior Christopher Cox became the association’s national student president, Henderson said.
The association already has a 2013 conference site, but Henderson is studying needs for a future gathering.
He said the two-year post gives him the opportunity to integrate JSU’s vision of finding ways to bridge an arts gap.
“We’ve got Jackson State students who are interested in pursuing careers and transitioning to graduate school for theater … that would give me the room to create programs as the president, and sponsor those here on this campus” under the auspices of the national association, he said. That would expose students to more graduate schools and professional companies.
He’ll try to do that on different member campuses, he said, “but of course, you know, home is first.” That will also give students a chance to work with the national body.
Henderson is the director of MADDRAMA performance troupe at JSU.
Founded in 1936, the National Association of Dramatic & Speech Arts Inc. is a professional affiliation of performers, administrators, educators, students, technicians and craftsmen of theater, communicative arts and allied interests, its website states. It has 25-30 college and university members, Henderson said.