Philosophy: What I've Learned
People before projects.
Artists matter more than the art we produce. Caring for ourselves has to take precedence, or we won't have the ability to create. Often, my choices as an artist are dictated by the reality of one or more artist's physical, emotional, and mental limitations, including my own. This is not to say that the product doesn't matter; I have extremely high standards for the work I create. Instead, I view opportunities to support artists' well-being as important limitations in the artistic process.
Limitations bring freedom.
Paralysis of choice is a real thing, so I completely embrace limitations; they are what drive me. I've lit over a dozen shows with a loaner or homemade dimmer board and hardware store lighting. I've put up multiple shows successfully without a true final dress because of an actor emergency or illness. I've dealt with heat, cold, rain (including pouring rain on a tin roof), and multiple other environmental issues and figured out a way to make it work. Sometimes that means editing and cutting, sometimes it means digging deep to find new ideas. I find limitations to be so crucial to my process that I'm not afraid to embrace those that I discover in the midst of the work.
True equality is not always written.
Actors of color, trans actors, actors with disabilities, and women (especially women with larger or different builds) often only get work when roles are written for "that type." I love opportunities to flip the script and cast and work with people "against type," because that's where the opportunity for true growth lies. This is true even for straight white male actors: giving actors an opportunity to stretch beyond their "type" is deeply rewarding. I pride myself on being able to identify the potential in unexpected casting choices and then support and foster that potential in the rehearsal process. I'm very good at recognizing the spark of potential and fanning it into a flame.
Theatre only truly works when we collaborate.
The best production meetings are the ones where problems are solved not between me and a single designer, but among the entire group. The best rehearsals are the ones where actors can be honest and tell me when something isn't working and we figure out a way forward together. I see my role more as an editor of a large textbook: I create the framework, but I'm far from the only writer. My role is to keep my eye on the vision while editing, guiding, and ensuring that a variety of perspectives are heard and appreciated.
No work exists in a vacuum.
While much of my recent work has been with texts written in the 21st century, I am not afraid of (and, in fact, often love) the classics. But for me, the question is always: "what does this play offer to us now?" Even most of the financially-assured, traditional canon can be conceived in a way that it contributes to the current cultural conversation in a meaningful way. I am particularly drawn to works written by women and playwrights from marginalized communities.
Biography: Just the Facts
- Founder and Artistic Director of This is Water Theatre in Bryan/College Station, TX (June 2013 - May 2018)
- Produced 12 full length plays (including 3 world premieres and 5 regional premieres), 8 short plays, and 7 staged readings as the first professional theatre company in our community using intimate and found spaces
- Conceived and oversaw creation of an original immersive theatrical experience entitled "The Undertaking" that spanned 5 venues
- Reached several thousand patrons (including a significant portion of millenials) in a challenging market with pay-what-you-can ticketing and innovative marketing
- Member of the Brazos Valley Theatre Collective (2015-2018)
- Led a successful cooperative marketing grant submission
- Guided joint marketing efforts
- Facilitated networking opportunities for member volunteer and professional theatres
- Artist-in-Residence at the Brazos Valley Players (2010-2012)
- Founder/Director of the Honorable Bards (2008-2010)
- Graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Theatre Arts
- Speech, debate, and acting coach for students nation-wide for 14 years
- Speaker at three TEDx conferences, in 2014, 2015, and 2017
- Written 1 full-length play, 1 one-act play, and 1 short play which have all been fully produced
- University Interscholastic League (UIL) One-Act Play Adjudicator since 2015
- Experience with lighting, sound, set, and costume design, as well as choreography
- Currently working for Texas A&M University Health Science Center to integrate the arts into the development of future healthcare providers through healthcare education and simulation