Contact Info

"What you use in acting is everything you are as a human being."  Kim Hunter

Phone: 518 • 852 • 3859



Reflections on the Teaching of Theater and the Performing Arts

The microcosm of theater is a reflection of the macrocosm of our lives and our world — culture, society, politics, art, morals, values, history, relationships, change, growth, birth, death. I find, in both my semester classes and the one-on-one coaching with my middle school and high school students, that these young folks have the potential of defining, questioning, and processing the wide range of issues and elements which they are encountering in their day-to-day lives, in a proactive, deepening way. In my experience, the dramatic arts provide an intensely safe, rich medium and backdrop for students to explore themselves in the broader context of the outer world, which they are now meeting head-on. Improvisations, body and vocal exercises, and character and scene analyses are only a few of the possible methods of  delving into these areas. By stepping into the world of another person (such as through a character role), by studying the many layers that create situations of conflict (through research, discovery and discussion), and by recreating these elements within themselves (in actual acting and performance), students of theater are able to utilize and integrate the emotional, intellectual, and physical realms of Self.

As theater is actually rooted in the creation of community, the group dynamic is extremely important and powerful. I am emphatic that the group must build a strong foundation of safety, trust and respect, so that students are free to risk, to explore, and to create. This is the basis of creating a professional atmosphere in the classroom. At the same time, I find that students flourish when they feel truly seen, heard, and validated as individuals. One-on-one coaching deepens that rapport and trust and draws out a deeper level of self-confidence in the student.  As a teacher, one-on-one coaching facilitates a clearer understanding of the individual student, thereby helping me to fine-tune my approach and to elevate my awareness of what he or she needs... the journey is so very different for each and every student. I also feel strongly in bridging their awareness of how the skills they are developing in class (discipline, listening and communication skills, objective observation, thinking “outside the box”, self-expression, body awareness and poise, responsiveness, follow-through & accountability to each other, deepening of study and research skills, broadening of tolerance for “others”, self-initiative, solid work ethic, etc.) will support and feed their lives, no matter what path they ultimately choose.

In theater, we use all of ourselves and our being — voice, body, imagination, intellect, emotions, and life force/energy. I continue to stress to the young people I work with that all the artistic disciplines are interrelated and feed each other. Continuing to broaden and deepen our experience and skill through the disciplines of dance, music, fine arts, vocal studies, movement, literature, et al, enhances all aspects of one’s work. I encourage my “kids” to be avid students of Life – to continually seek to grow, to learn, to question, to observe. As I recently said to a student’s parent, I have come to the realization that my work is actually about helping students to connect more deeply with themselves, their thoughts and their talents.  Ultimately, my role, as teacher and mentor, is to support and nurture the unfoldment of each student’s own innate humanness and his or her connection to all of humanity.