Faces of UCM: Emily Coffin

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – Three giant metal windows hang from the ceiling in the Highlander Theatre this week. Emily Coffin made them.

Coffin is a carpenter for the scene shop and also plays the role of Vi Moore in the University of Central Missouri Department of Theatre and Dance’s rendition of “Footloose.” Coffin said it took her weeks to finish the metal windows.

“I’m just really proud of them because they took forever,” Coffin said.

Conner Bosworth, who plays Chuck Cranston in “Footloose,” described Coffin as incredibly driven.

“Emily did all of the welding for the show,” Bosworth said. “At least all of the welding for the three giant windows. And it was her first time ever welding and they turned out to look really awesome.”

Coffin said she and the rest of the cast have been preparing for “Footloose” since the first week of classes. She said they have rehearsed from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday each week since August, not including the hours the technical crew has worked to build the set.

“The woodshop is open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. every single day and I’m in there most days because I work about 10 hours a week,” Coffin said. “So usually I will stay from two to five so that I can have from five to six to go get dinner and change and get all my stuff together for rehearsal and come back.”

Coffin said keeping everything balanced while working on both the technical and performance side of things can be hard.

“Making sure that I can fully commit to both areas without trying to make one take priority over the other (is challenging) because the show can’t happen without either side,” Coffin said. “So I can’t decide that one is more important than the other.”

Coffin said she first started building sets in high school.

“It was just a thing our high school theatre teacher was very adamant about every actor knowing at least something about doing tech,” Coffin said. “He felt that (shop) was really, really important for us to understand all the work that goes into both sides.”

Coffin said her teacher put her in charge of building a set for a production in high school.

“Then it ended up being something that I just fell in love with and I loved so much and it just stuck,” Coffin said.

Coffin’s love for carpentry led her to work as summer stock for The Ohio Light Opera this past summer. She said summer stock is when some professional theatres bring in younger artists to be technical workers for their summer productions. She said she worked on a total of seven productions there, most of them operas.

“It was different because there my title was just tech. I did not do any performance or anything, I was just there to be a carpenter and to build,” Coffin said. “But it was really cool because I got a lot of responsibility that went along with it and I learned so much that summer, not just about tech, but about professional theatre in general and the people there were so nice and so cool and so fun to be around, it was such a good experience.”

Coffin said “Footloose” is the biggest cast she’s had the chance to work with since she came to UCM.

“And it’s just been a really cool experience getting to work and bounce ideas off of so many people throughout the entire process both with tech and with the cast and the crew and the directors and everything,” Coffin said. “It’s just been so much fun.”

Coffin said she can’t wait for people to see “Footloose.” The show is at 7:30 p.m. Oct 4-7 in the Highlander Theatre, with the last show Sunday, Oct. 8, at 2 p.m.

“It’s everything you really, really love about ‘Footloose’ the movie,” Coffin said. “It’s all of the classic songs ­ – ‘Holding Out For A Hero’, ‘Let’s Hear it For The Boy,’ it’s all the fun of the movie and it’s got so much heart and so much just passion poured into it from every single person involved.”

One Comment

Lynn Coffin

Hey everybody…. THAT’s my GRAND DAUGHTER!!! She’s smart, she’s tough, she’s dedicated and if that’s not enough, she’s Beautiful! I’m Sooooo proud. Can’t wait to see her Footloose accomplishments!


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