February 21, 2019 | By Jake Weber
Noah Ascencio, '22, loves a competition—in high school, contests around the region and state were a great outlet to deepen his passion for everything theatre. It's not surprising that several of the country's top theatre programs offered five-figure scholarships for Ascencio to come to their school.
"They wanted me to pick one specific aspect of theatre and do that for all four years," he says of some of the offers he turned down. "I couldn't decide between acting, scenic design, costume design. Albion isn't a big theatre school, but here I can do everything."
The winner of Albion's 2018 Distinguished Artist Program scholarship, Ascencio built sets and served as props master for Albion's two fall-semester shows, and he has taken classes in scene painting, lighting design and set design. "I'm learning about wood grain and marble painting and how different colors work under different lights, which I never thought about before," he explains. "I can tell you how the light design works now, and I couldn’t before. What I'm learning takes theatre in a whole new direction."
"You just don't run into students who want to audition as an actor, a playwright, and a costume designer; those are usually mutually exclusive," says Zach Fischer, assistant professor of theatre and department chair. "But here at Albion, we don't have to make students 'pick a lane.' If Noah wants to do all these things—and I think he does—that works here. That's what distinguishes us from the bigger schools."
Ascencio also sees this approach as a good fit for his long-term plans. "If I'm going to work in a theatre in the future, I need to be able to do multiple things," he says. "I'm sure I'll specialize in something someday, but even then, I want to be as useful as I can."
Theatre and future aside, Ascencio is enjoying college. "I was placed in an art history course last semester, and now I want to do an art history minor," he says. "I want to go canoeing. I'm pretty happy here."
Ascencio is currently performing in Ordinary Days, which runs through February 23 at Herrick Theatre. Performances start at 8 p.m.
Noah Ascencio is a first-year student majoring in theatre. He is the child of John and Imberly Ascencio of Novi, Michigan, and a graduate of Novi High School.