After graduating, I moved back to California (my parents were in the Bay Area by that point, so that became home). I jumped almost immediately into a part time job at a Jewish non-profit (JCRC), and soon after, I began layering teaching theatre on top of that. Between September 2014-August 2017, I continued working for JCRC, and I taught for San Carlos Children's Theater, Palo Alto Children's Theatre, and TheatreWorks. Classes ranged from Intro to Theatre with 3-4 year olds to teen improv and writing new plays. I also directed shows and ran TheatreWorks' summer camp for two years. In August of 2017, I moved to Orlando to begin an MFA program in Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA), and I’m currently in the midst of my final year!
Where did you go to college and what was your major? How was that experience? What are you doing now?
I went to Smith College, in Northampton, MA. I double majored in Theatre and Jewish Studies. My time at Smith was and will likely remain the best four years of my life. Having had a small number of female classmates in my year at Sierra Canyon, it was actually Ms. Ellis who said to me, "Go. Go be with strong, smart women," and I can't thank her enough. Being able to spend four years surrounded by women, all of whom were the smartest in their high school class, and all of whom wanted nothing more than for one another to succeed, was a gift. I attended my 5-year reunion in May, and it was wonderful to fall right back into place with the school and the town and my friends.
As I mentioned above, I'm in the third year of my MFA program, which has been a very different beast entirely. It's been an important few years of discovering how and why I do the work I do, but I have to say--I'm looking forward to being finished!
When did you first come to SC and what was it like when you started?
I started in 9th grade, with a camping trip that I will literally never forget. We'd pitched our tent on an incline, so all three of us inside of it woke up stacked on top of each other! Deciding to attend Sierra Canyon was a big decision; I had always been a private school kid, but had done 7th and 8th grade in public school. I learn best in small, focused environments, and so my parents and I decided to take a chance on a fairly new school! I loved having teachers who knew me so well, and who taught me multiple times as I grew. I think often of freshman history with Miss Brown and how that connected directly into my experience in her APUSH class. I also still can't read without a pen in my hand thanks to her RUMN'ing! I think that being part of a small and fresh group of people fostered leadership qualities. Whether intentional or not, the autonomy that we were given at school was crucial, and I use it daily when I teach, reminding my young actors that they are each whole and important people who bring something to the space.
Are you still in contact with any SC classmates?
I'm in touch with a few people, primarily from the classes both above and below me: I stay in touch with Judson DeLoach--all the way from where he's stationed in Italy-- and I had the chance to have dinner with Jessica Rassp last summer. Plus, Frank Taylor and I braved a NYC rainstorm to grab drinks in December of last year!
Where do you see yourself in the near and distant future?
Probably back in California (but I see you, NYC!) ... and definitely working with young people. I've focused my theatre work on the educational side: that is, both teaching theatre and using theatre as a means to teach broader (life) skills. I love overlapping this work with communities and families, incorporating other kinds of art, picture books, school subjects, etc. My hope is to find a position where I can continue to teach and reach the community through theatre-based techniques!
Sierra Canyon School is a private, independent, non-sectarian, co-educational, college preparatory school for students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12 located in Chatsworth, California. The highly cosmopolitan campus community is reflective of the Greater Los Angeles area and the world at large. Students are empowered to realize their greatest creative, ethical, intellectual and physical promise through small class sizes, a diverse student-teacher culture and a family-like environment.