Virginia “Ginny” Chizer may well have set a record for active Thespian longevity. She was inducted into the Thespian troupe at Horace Mann High School in Gary, Indiana in 1948 and fifty-five years later she was still “acting well her part” as a volunteer.
A cum laude graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Ms. Chizer built the drama program at Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati from a single drama class to three. She taught for twenty-four years and directed more than fifty plays and musicals.
Very active at the state level, Ms. Chizer routinely attended conferences as a main stage screener. She directed the Ohio All-State Show, and at least one of her students participated in it for many years. She was inducted into the Ohio EdTA Hall of Fame in 2001.
Even after her retirement in 1993 she continued to attend the International Thespian Festival and worked in Festival security each year. She also volunteered at the EdTA home office, helping organize the college scholarship audition program and Play Marathon, and twice directed new student work in the Thespian Playworks program.
Her thirty-five-year participation in the Cincinnati theatre community includes acting, producing, working tech, directing, and board membership. She was active in the Cincinnati chapter of the Association of Community Theatres and the Ohio Community Theater Association, serving as an adjudicator, responder, and board member for both organizations. She received ACT-Cincinnati’s prestigious Art Rouse Award for her years of dedicated service to Cincinnati theatre.
Ms. Chizer’s influence and commitment to young people is manifested in the numerous former students who perform professionally in theatre, film, or television, and the many others who teach drama to new generations.