“What is the possibility of theatre?”
Jewel Walker asks this question in his essay “On Stage Movement” in Master Teachers of Theatre. This question continues to inspire me as an artist, teacher, and scholar as I strive to create work that is innovative and compelling. To me, the theatre is a "world of yes" in which all other worlds are possible. I borrow this phrase from a passage in the poem "love is a place" by e. e. cummings:
love is a place
& through this place of
(with brightness of peace)
yes is a world
& in this world of
Currently, I am an Associate Professor of Theatre at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. Geneva is my hometown and my position at the Colleges facilitated my return to the Finger Lakes. Prior to accepting my current position, I taught for five years at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and for three years at Lock Haven University. I have taken on a number of roles in the theatre, both onstage and off but as an artist the bulk of my work has been in directing. In recent years I have branched out to playwriting and the exploration of an array of physical theatre styles. My experience has been that theatre artistry, pedagogy, and scholarship can be woven together in such a way that each enriches the others. My directing experience ranges from University and Community-Based Theatre to Theatre for Young People and Professional Theatre. My primary teaching at HWS includes courses such as Theatre History I & II, African American Theatre, Feminist Theatre, and Acting I. As a scholar I focus on feminist theatre historiography and have pursued an active research program that has enabled me to publish and present my scholarship in a wide array of forums. Recently, the focus of my research has been the intersection of first-wave feminisms (suffrage, reproductive politics, labor issues) and performance. I have written a great deal on the actress, radical suffragette, and birth control crusader, Kitty Marion. My scholarship has often operated in tandem with my production work, especially in regards to plays that address matters of social justice and history. I believe that pedagogy, practice, and scholarship are equally integral components of my role as a theatre artist, scholar, and educator.
Omnia sol temperat, absens in remota (the sun warms everything, even when I am far away)
"Omnia Sol (Let Your Heart Be Staid)" is a piece of choral music by Z. Randall Stroope, inspired by a passage from "Carmina Burana." In his description of "Omnia Sol," the composer suggests that "omnia sol" or "everywhere light" is a metaphor for the kinship we have with others, even if we are no longer in each other's presence. I see my work in the theatre as facilitating that sense of "omnia sol" or "everywhere light" through my collaborations with other artists, mentoring of students, and the impact of my work upon audiences. Although the work of the theatre is fleeting and ephemeral, the traces it leaves behind can be indelibly marked on our lives.
Inside The Smith Opera House (Geneva, NY). Photo by Kevin Colton.