As an educator in theatre, my focus is to inspire knowledgeable students while also cultivating artists who understand the art form’s traditions, encouraging them to pursue innovative forms of art. My goals as a professor are to foster an environment that is diverse, inclusive, and at its core, based on equity. I want to invite my students to the table to have meaningful conversations to change the power dynamic within any environment where theatre is being created. The need for equity within sex, gender, race, sexuality, and disability is the foundation of my teaching philosophy. I meet students where they are and help them become performers, academics, artists, and knowledgeable community members within our world.
As a director, I create theater that focuses on the spiritual nature built within any given text, allowing rites of passage to help create storytelling. Using cultural, political, and religious perspectives to develop deep character connections and real human interactions, I strive to create productions that use a modern ritualistic lens to connect with the audience on a more meaningful level. Using a combination of Viewpoints, Suzuki, the tools and philosophies of Stanislavsky’s system, and eastern forms of performance arts, I actively study how to create new forms of art that are diverse and inclusive to both the team developing the art and the audience viewing the work. As a teacher, I ask students to broaden their theatrical horizons and to use theories as a tool for inspiration to create meaningful work, both in their lives and the community around them. As a teacher, I want to be a collaborator in the development of the student’s craft.
As an educator, my work begins and ends with the student.
For students to learn how to act, they must first learn the traditional approach to the craft of acting so that when modern methodologies of acting fail, the performers have the knowledge to rely on their craft to get them through their performance. Once the actors have control over their craft, the modern methodology of acting can begin to be incorporated.
Stage movement within training, whether that be through Laban, Viewpoints, or Suzuki, is vital. Performers often get stuck in their heads. Actors must learn how to use their bodies to maximize their performance.
Don’t Just Talk About Art; Create Art
As both a student and an educator, I find that many professors talk about theory, history, and performance; however, they forget that the theatre is a physically driven art form. The only way to truly learn how to create theater is by doing, by creating. While learning about theories is important in academia, practical application is vital.