The Loyola Department of Theatre Arts & Dance is thrilled to announce Sal Mannino as its new Artistic Director and Extraordinary Professor of Theatre Arts. Mannino will direct Stop Kiss in spring 2021 and is teaching Audition Techniques, Acting I and Directing I at present.
Mannino is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and received his MFA in Creative Producing from the California Institute of the Arts. Before coming to Loyola, he worked as a producer, performer, stage manager, and writer. In 2017, Mannino co-founded NightLight Labs, a Los Angeles-based interactive media company specializing in technology-driven storytelling. NighLight Labs, according to Mannino, “creates projects that take shape in many different forms including live performance, installations, apps, in addition to digital and location-based experiences.” He hopes to bring some of his unique experiences at NightLight to his work at Loyola, helping students adapt to the ever-changing theatrical landscape.
Mannino hopes to give students the opportunity to create their own works. “We will further empower generative student-artists to realize their entrepreneurial spirit,” he said, “encouraging them to self-produce and make an impact as an independent artist.” This will provide students with opportunities outside the traditional four shows produced each academic year to which many are accustomed.
Along with encouraging students to produce their own work, Mannino and TAD will be exploring an Artist-in-Residence program. This program will allow students to work side-by-side with professional theatre-makers in the New Orleans area and around the world, making connections and growing their network.
In his new position with the Theatre Arts & Dance Department, Mannino aims to be a guide for students, challenging them to explore and even fail. “Encouraged to fail, student-artists will learn to be resilient and disciplined,” he said. “This combination of perseverance and self-discipline is what it takes to be a successful theater-maker.” Mannino plans to encourage students to do radical things and experiment when creating to explore the different avenues theatre has to offer.
By Madeline Taliancich