I do theatre and education. Separately is fine, but together is better.
I double majored in Theatre Education and Theatrical Design & Production at Illinois State University. After student teaching at Maine East High School I landed a position as "Theatre and Technical Coordinator / Auditorium Manager" at the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago. In my four years there, I provided technical support for hundreds of weekly assemblies, evening events and rentals. I founded the Middle School Stage Crew club (which built and crewed Mary Poppins and Bye, Bye, Birdie), shepherded a massive renovation of the auditorium control booth, and – as my boss once told me – "managed the most unmanageable room in the school."
I also put out a fire on stage once. That was exciting.
In my free time, I maintain a somewhat fanatical YouTube channel about musical theatre. What started as a hobby has quickly expanded into my own little corner of the internet. It's silly and fun. I like making the videos and people seem to like watching them.
Perhaps less productively, I'm a big retro and contemporary Nintendo player. I've sunk plenty of hours into Super Mario Maker recently. But my true love will always be Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door. Or Mario Kart with friends.
In production meetings about educational theatre, my agenda always has two headings: "The Art" and "The Education." It's easy to get caught up in one and forget about the other. The kids we teach deserve good art. Art that doesn't feel important is difficult to get invested in – like a math test that's not going to be graded.
The kids we teach also deserve a good education (naturally). Art – theatre especially – is about the whole human. So it's important to double check that we're coaching, advising, and responding empathetically along the way. Remember the human. Otherwise even the most wholesome artistic aspirations will fall short.
But that fire was pretty exciting. I got to use an extinguisher and everything.