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NOVA theatre professor releases Western drama series

Kathryn O’Sullivan, head of the Theatre Program at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College, has written and produced an online Western drama series. “Thurston” tells the story of residents of a remote mining town in the Kansas Ozarks and their struggle for survival.

“Doing a Western Web series intrigued me because the genre lends itself to an infinite variety of stories and Web series are the new frontier of entertainment. I’m interested in the men and women that inhabited the ‘Wild West,’ how they survived harsh frontier life and what that says about the human spirit,” O’Sullivan said.

O’Sullivan shot some of the scenes at the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre in Bristow. “Virginia has a wealth of historic properties. When I discovered the beautifully restored cabin at the Centre I knew it would be perfect for the series,” she said. “It also gave the actors and crew a taste of roughing it because we had to shoot without electricity or heat.”

Several people with NOVA connections were involved in the production. NOVA adjunct professors Lisa Nanni-Messegee and Todd Messegee served as production manager and assistant director/set photographer respectively. One of O’Sullivan’s current students, Nicholas Barry (of Fairfax) was a production assistant and two former students, Bob Martin (of Sterling) and Garry Westcott (of Alexandria) have roles in the series. 

Martin plays Garrett Thurston. He has served in acting and directing capacities for several productions at the Manassas Campus, including “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” “Dracula,” “The Birds,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Strange Boarders.”

Westcott plays Marshal Perry Robinson. He began performing in radio commercials at the age of seven. His stage credits include “Hamlet,” “The Apple Tree,” “The Allegation” and “The Age of Aquarius.” Film credits include “Call to Danger,” a Peter Graves made-for-TV movie; “Don’t Drink the Water,” a Woody Allen film adaptation of his play; and “F.I.S.T.,” a Sylvester Stallone film. 

The first two episodes of “Thurston” are available at www.thurston-series.com. To learn more about the series, contact O’Sullivan at kosullivan@nvcc.edu.

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.