My teaching philosophy is influenced by my own education. I earned two B.A. degrees, one a double major in Political Science and Philosophy and the other in Theater. Linking the performing arts to economic, cultural and socio-political history encourages my students to explore a range of ideas and disciplines. Industry specific information plays a role in design and technical theatre pursuits, but students must have an intellectual curiosity and imagination to succeed in theatrical design and production. A liberal arts perspective nurtures both.
Discussion and projects introduce my students to the skill sets needed to communicate abstract thoughts and bring ideas to fruition. The classroom setting also provides entry-level students with opportunities to discover creative talents and new interests they had never considered as career options or avocations. I hope they will share my passion for supporting the story telling of theater and dance through the visual environment. I have shifted classes to include more experiential learning options. Directed experimentation is an effective tool for encouraging student intellectual and artistic exploration. Immersion in the activity allows students to make aesthetic and intuitive design responses instead of becoming overwhelmed by technical jargon of theater technology and design.
One of the greatest challenges in discipline specific courses is molding a student’s process without limiting creative exploration. I acknowledge their artistic perspective. I do not expect their work to look as though I designed or painted it; I expect the visual elements to serve the production and to be created through a collaborative process with the rest of the production and creative team. The process can be challenging, but the final rewards are tremendous.