in teaching is to stimulate, challenge, and support students to realize their potential as artists, citizens, and humans. Their minds and hearts are the most critical resources we have, and I pursue the following approaches to foster their growth:
TO EMPOWER STUDENTS
to recognize their potency as artists and citizens, I ask questions about leadership, citizenship, and the impact of their work. Whether in public high schools or private universities, I encourage young people to engage with the wider world and recognize the importance of cultivating their voices. I promote critical thinking, facilitate brave conversations about equality and diversity, and spotlight the many ways theatre can promote social justice. My experience of coming out before LGBT people had mainstream acceptance forged my connection to anyone facing oppression and my commitment to oppose racism, I bring these values to everything I do as an educator and an artist.
TO FOSTER OWNERSHIP
of their artistic process and dedication to their collaborators and audience, I approach teaching as an exchange between creative artists. I believe we all bring unique ideas and experience into the room, and I value the growth that emerges from respectful exchanges. I create a safe working space where each student’s creative ideas are valued and welcomed. My approach to collaboration comes from training with Anne Bogart and Tina Landau; I use the Viewpoints work to build ensemble, heighten awareness to the present moment, and establish a working vocabulary for any project. I lead students through composition processes that challenge them to create the theatrical worlds for each project.
TO NURTURE ARTISTRY
and foster discipline and skills, I engage students in challenging projects which also stimulate my own growth as an artist. Whether through full productions or classroom activities/project-based learning, I create experiences for active learning. I ask a lot of questions, build trust, and encourage risk-taking. I strive to attend to each student's personal objectives: whether honing in on specific skills, habits, or approaches to the process. I hold students to high standards in their written work and research, and maintain accountability for deadlines and responsibilities to partners, groups, and themselves.
TO BUILD KNOWLEDGE
both analytical historical, I ask students to conduct research and explore the background of plays, playwrights, and theatrical movements. I create assignments to activate academic research and apply it in real-world contexts. I love the classics and approach them as living texts that invite interpretation and adaptation. I believe that students will be empowered by a solid grasp of dramatic literature, and an understanding of how social, economic, and political forces influence theatre and theatre-makers.
TO ENCOURAGE INTROSPECTION
about themselves and their work, I ask students the same questions I ask myself and my collaborators when approaching a project: Why have I chosen this project? Why do I need to work on this play? What is my point of view? What do I want to say? Who is my audience and how do I want to impact them? By guiding students to connect to their own purpose and explore the essence of their creativity, I urge them to make choices that align with their own values and beliefs.