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Mercer County Community College president makes her Kelsey Theatre debut


To paraphrase an old adage, you can take the actor out of the theater – but you can’t take the theater out of the actor.

“I tell people that I use my theater degree every day – not because I am acting all day, but because the theater teaches us a way of listening, observing, and analyzing human beings that is now at the core of my understanding of people’s motivations and behaviors,” said Dr. Deborah E. Preston, president of Mercer County Community College. “I don’t know how I’d get through the day without that understanding.”

Preston will soon have a chance to use her theater training much more directly, as she makes her debut at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre in The MTM Players’ production of the classic holiday play, “Parfumerie,” Nov. 24 through Dec. 3. And while she is a veteran of numerous stage productions, she said this will be her first performance in front of a live audience in seven years.

Preston assumed her duties at MCCC last July, following a five-year stint as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Raritan Valley Community College and more than 20 years in academia.

In “Parfumerie,” she plays the role of a somewhat persnickety shop customer, but regardless of the role, she said it’s just good to get back on the stage.

“I love being back in a production,” Preston said. “I feel so at home, hearing theater lingo, seeing the show gradually emerge from chaos, and hanging out with theater people. When I do live theater, it brings me back in touch with my own creativity, and it allows me to practice mental and physical skills that took a long time to develop. I certainly don’t want to see them atrophy!”

Tickets are available at or 609-570-3333 Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon.

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