She moved on to Columbia College Chicago, where she found a delightful and remarkable group of creative, talented and strange theatre people, whom she remembers with great fondness. Ellie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Theatre at the ripe old age of 24. While at Columbia, she worked with Chicago's up and coming theatre community, including the now famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Hey, they were just a group of wacky ex-college kids at the time. Who woulda thunk it?
After graduation, Ellie spent her time working as a stage manager, lighting technician, sound technician, property mistress and general nuisance at places like Court Theatre, Organic Theatre Company, Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta Company, Body Politic, Victory Gardens and a couple of places she conveniently forgot. She taught basic construction skills and lighting to hundreds of high school kids at Northwestern University's "Cherub" program.
In the summer of 1986, she did time as the production stage manager at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, where she hob-nobbed with the likes of Jennifer Beals (Flash Dance), Anthony Edwards (Top Gun, ER) and William Hurt (Big Chill, Kiss of the Spider Woman). Much less impressive than it sounds, especially when she was shooing bats from the production office. (Theatre is glamourous!)
Since coming to SSC, Ellie has developed The Children's Theatre Company, which has become renowned through the south suburbs as THE place for plays for young audiences, schlepped band risers for hundreds of concerts, created and advised The PAC Rats Theatre Company, hung out with loads of really nice people and created the coolest office on campus.
In 1998 she began directing the children's plays at South Suburban College and continues the tradition of quality live entertainment for young audiences. Shunko brings her own sense of style and humour to her productions. Rehearsals are often a festive affair. Shunko firmly believes that if a cast must have fun at rehearsals and performances. "When the performers are enjoying themselves," she notes "the audience will, too."
Shunko chooses the scripts of double Shubert Playwriting award-winner, Michele L. Vacca, as her vehicles. "Michele's scripts are tightly written and enourmously entertaining, but they still leave plenty of room for artistic interpretation by the director and cast." Vacca and production teammate Robert Boburka, are the talent behind Classics On Stage! All of their children's theatre scripts and plays are available for production by amateur or professional companies.
While on her rare vacations from the theatre, Ellie goes hog-wild with her Kodak DC4800 digital and shoots anything that doesn't run away. She has also inexplicably become the official photographer of SSC's theatre and music departments. Zillions of her production photos can be seen (and swiped if you ask nicely) on the department websites.
pages last updated: Sun, Oct 19, 2003 at 9:50 PM