Evanston theater director celebrates role
Tim Rhoze is Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre artistic director. His performance roots span nearly three decades, starting in Detroit, Mich. | Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 13, 2013 12:04PM
Tim Rhoze, artistic director of the City of Evanston Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, is living the dream.
“I think that theatre literally saved my life,” said Rhoze, an Evanston resident who switched careers from being an engineer. This May will be his third year as Fleetwood-Jourdain artistic director.
He has performed more than a dozen plays at the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater and Northlight Theatre and has lived on both the east and west coasts.
Rhoze has one daughter, Kara, 17, who attends the Chicago Academy for the Arts. She is a “brilliant dancer,” says her proud dad.
For more information, visit www.cityofevanston.org/arts-culture/theatre/fleetwood-jourdain-theatre/
Q. What are your theater roots?
A. My theatre history goes back some years now, like to say over 25 years. It started off in Detroit, Michigan where I was born and raised although I was a prototype engineer before I got involved in theatre. I got involved in theatre fairly late, so to speak. It wasn’t something I did in high school or college. But when I was 22, 23 , I started doing some performances in Detroit, fell in love with the whole social aspect of theatre. The artistic aspect of it. And so I began to pursue it as a career.
Q. Your father, Charles Roseborough was a postal worker, but an actor at heart, no?
A. When I was younger, 8, 9, 10 years old, living, growing up in Detroit, going through the Detroit public school system, I was tested out and was labeled as functionally illiterate.
So I was one of those kids that were in that small classroom for remedial education; had a very difficult time in comprehending language and testing. It just wasn’t something that came easily to me. It was very difficult for me, actually.
My father was also a theater artist, but he worked full time at the post office. He wanted to do theatre so he did it part time. And he was doing a play at the longstanding Detroit Repertory Theatre and the name of the play was called “Ceremonies and Dark Old Men” by Lonnie Elder the Third. It’s a legendary play in the theatre community. And so, he would have me read all of the character’s lines so he could memorize his lines.
I could read I just had a difficult time comprehending. Well, I began to have this sort of rehearsal with my father who worked midnights at the post office. And what I found myself doing one night was taking that play and going up in my room and I read that play from cover to cover. And it clicked. The comprehension for theatre, for plays was phenomenal. I literally started at the age of 10, 11 and 12 reading things like Moliere, Shakespeare, (Henrik) Ibsen, because of the way the plays were structured spoke to me. And the way textbooks were written were very difficult for me.
But it enhanced my ability to learn. And so we do, we find the things that we can latch onto. And so I am very fortunate to be able to bring this kind of experience to the table as a director now, as an artistic director, who can actually make programming happen.
Q. What does the former prototype engineer in you say to those fearful of pursuing their dreams?
A. For anyone who is seeking their dreams, you have to pursue that, you have to go for it. Life is not promised to you tomorrow, so if you’re not pursuing it today, tomorrow you may not have that opportunity.