posted January 23, 2007

Book Features Jean Reed Bahle of Hope Faculty

Jean Reed Bahle, assistant professor of theatre at Hope College, is one of 35 area women featured in the book "Amazing Women of West Michigan."

The book has been published by the Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., which describes it as "a celebration of women who strive to make their community a better place to live. From doctors and lawyers to social workers and artists, the 35 women featured here are each unique in the role they fulfill. They come into the story of western Michigan from a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds, yet all exhibit the same sort of courage, strength and determination." The book features profiles written by Crystal Bowman with black-and-white photographs by Tim Priest.

Bahle, who has taught at Hope since 1994, has been involved with the arts in West Michigan for 30 years as an actor, director, writer and teacher. The profile focuses on her love for theatre and her passion for sharing it with students, noting, "Jean enjoys connecting with great people, laughing together, and working hard. She calls it 'serious fun.'"

As an actor she has appeared in more than 40 shows, working with Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and, most prominently, with Actors' Theatre, where she has won numerous Grand Awards for her work as an actor and director.

She is also active as a free-lance talent in radio, industrial films and television. West Michigan television viewers have been able to see her most recently as "Grandma Zippy" in the children's program "Come On Over!," which is filmed at Hope and is featured on WOTV on Saturday mornings.

As a playwright, Bahle has been commissioned and has had produced several plays. The productions include "Soli's Story," performed at Hope in February and March of 1997.

At Hope she has taught the beginning Acting classes, Play Analysis, Introduction to Theatre and Playwriting, in addition to the college's Encounter with the Arts course.

She is a graduate of the University of Michigan. Her professional development studies have included two intensives with the Royal National Theatre in London as well as class work in New York City.

Bahle is one of two members of the Hope family featured in the book. Those profiled also include Terri Lynn Land, who was elected Michigan's secretary of state in November of 2002. Land is a 1981 Hope graduate.