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Written by Haekeye Caucus   
Friday, 10 February 2012 15:00

All the world – including Osage – is a stage!

Kids in Mitchell County will have a chance “to be or not to be” every summer thanks to a new theater program started by a University of Iowa student and two alumni.

The Osage Summer Theatre Program is designed to help K-12 students learn about all aspects of the theater, from acting to directing to sets and costumes, in classes and workshops. The program started small last summer and still attracted 35 students to the two-week program that culminates in the production of three plays.

The program was founded by UI senior Maggie Blake, along with Theresa Augsburger and Maggie Jones, two recent UI alumni. Blake said the three of them, all theater majors, wanted to use their education and their skills to work with children and provide a kind of community service. They settled on Osage, population 3,400, as the location for their theater because it's Jones' hometown.

The program is held in Osage's community center, the Cedar River Complex, which includes a state-of-the-art performance facility. Interns from the UI and Mitchell County high schools will help with production and education. The group hopes to eventually build a network of youth community theater organizations like it throughout Iowa.



The program not only introduces young children to the theater, it fills a need for high school students, too. The local school district recently cut its high school theater department, so students there who were interested in performing had nowhere to go.



University of Iowa student Maggie Blake: "Theater and kids are a great match because they get to put on hats and be silly and they love that, even the older kids. They can learn about teamwork and working together in a collaborative way."



The group is raising money to make the Osage program sustainable. It’s worked with Mitchell County businesses to develop sponsorships and recently received a $1,000 boost in the Rose Francis Elevator Pitch competition, sponsored by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center in the UI's Tippie College of Business. The competition gives UI students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to win start-up money for their businesses.

Update on Dental Building

In October, the University of Iowa dedicated a 33,000-square-foot addition to the UI College of Dentistry, which houses a wide array of programs and learning space to help prepare dental professionals for the 21st century.

The addition is now home to the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Geriatrics and Special Needs Clinic, the National Institutes of Health-supported Craniofacial Clinical Research Center, and small classrooms for problem-based and case-based learning. Endodontics, which was not a department in 1973 when the building was originally constructed, now has an outstanding facility.

Along with the new addition, the college’s research facilities were renovated and dedicated with support from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.

The real icing on the cake? The new addition was finished on time and slightly under budget.


The addition is part of a $65 million, multi-year College of Dentistry Building Transformation Project. The college is now beginning a six-phase, three- to four-year renovation of all dentistry clinics: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Family Dentistry, Oral Pathology, Radiology and Medicine, Admissions, Operative Dentistry, Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics.


UI College of Dentistry Dean David C. Johnsen: “We extend a huge thank-you to all the people and groups inside and outside the college who made this renovation project possible, including our elected officials, university officials, alumni, donors and friends.”


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