My father was the principal at my hometown, Central Middle School. A year before his death, he restored the school gynamisum into the 1000-seat auditorium it was meant to be, and directed a play which was the first I ever saw. It was a life changing moment for me; I was magnetized by the theatre and its power to transport me to another space and time. A year after his death, our school superintendent hired a full-time drama teacher at the high school; and by the end of that year, I was granted an audition for The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Playing Benjamin Bunny, wearing the comedy furry animal costume, the grease paint makeup, feeling the stage lights, the smell of a fog machine, painting the sets, helping to make the props, hearing the audience’s laughter - my life was changed forever. I was bitten by the transformative power of the performing arts. I never looked back.
I believe the arts should be available to every child on earth. The creative arts teach lateral thinking, problem solving, and invention which empowers us to overcome obstacles by creative, non-violent means – no doubt it will be creative thinking that solves global warming, our global plastic pandemic, and no doubt creative thinking will one day launch us into space to replenish our dwindling fresh water supplies. Creative thinking is the key to the history and future of our globe - and something many schools can no longer afford to teach our children; often the first undesired cut in any school system despite it’s longterm impact. Inspired by Mozart’s masterpiece, The Magic Flute, I also believe that arts education helps us transform suppressed and painful emotions such as grief and anger into presence and abundance. Might we all learn to express our difficult emotions through music or writing, for example, instead of emotional or physical violence? In this age of gun shootings, war, and rising Nationalism, I believe giving our children the gift of music, painting, sculpture, acting, writing, directing, filming - creative expression - is the greatest gift we can offer them to reduce isolationism, depression and rage, to help us all see and hear others’ stories, and to approach the world with a greater understanding of community.
Alongside my directing career, I am passionate about teaching to students and advocating arts education across all National platforms. I am a regular Guest Professor, Director and Lecturer at Harvard University, Brown University, New York University, Northwestern, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. My courses range from Acting and Directing, to Devising New Work, Physical Theatre, and Collaboration. I also love public and motivational speaking. It is the power of creative writing and public speaking, oratory, that empowers us to inspire our communities to grow and to evolve into more inclusive spaces for our families and new friends. I also work with a series of high profile clients on Public Speaking, Motivational Speaking and Oratory.
To book me for educational work, masterclasses, private course work in theatre and opera, or for private Public Speaking courses, click here.