Megan Thrift: Theater Arts Educator

 

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ARTIST STATEMENT:

I vehemently believe that theatre is for everyone- and that that’s what makes the art form unique. I want my students to know that of course, it’s the art of storytelling, or the art of collaboration, but that there is also something distinctly, exclusively you that makes this form of human expression more human. In my classroom I have the distinct honor to work with, encourage, inspire, and create art with the next generation of artists, advocates and audience members. In our student-driven production company Rambunctious Theatre, our mission is to create lively, engaging, engrossing theatre that tells a story we can believe in. Keeping this mission in mind, as an educator-director when I choose a play or a musical I obsess over what new and exciting challenges my students could tackle, the range or style this adds to their resumes or vernacular, but perhaps just as importantly, what story are we sharing with our audience of students and community members? I practice color blind and gender blind casting, choose plots that celebrate the ability, not stereotype. For example, I loved the play NEVERWHERE for a lot of reasons, but specifically because it featured a strong female protagonist who did not need to be romantically involved with the male protagonist.

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BIO:

My theatre journey began in high school, in an active, dynamic, and challenging theatre program headed by Scott Pafumi. After high school, I attended George Mason University, where I received a BA in Theatre with Minors in Education and Dance. While at Mason I made it my goal to experience all elements of the theatrical process so that I could be a more well-rounded theater teacher, and the incredible faculty and program encouraged that goal and made it an incredible journey. I have so much respect, love, and admiration for the vibrant, determined teachers whose lessons on art and life I carry with me and treasure completely: Ken Elston, Ed Gero, Heather McDonald, Kristen Johnsen-Neshati, Kaulani Lee, Tim Chew, Mary Lechter, Kevin Murray, Paul D’Andrea, Rick Davis. While at Mason I started a new paid position for a student production manager, which I was very proud of, but before that I had the enormous opportunity to work for Mary Lechter at AFYP and begin my formal path as an educator and begin to develop my pedagogy. Concurrently, I began working at The Keegan Theatre and was in awe of the women who surrounded me, who I learned from constantly, not just about theatre but about balance and awareness: Susan Marie Rhea, Sheri Herren, Linda High, Kerry Waters Lucas, Christina Coakley, Kerri Rambow. In the past 10 years I have worked on 27 shows at Keegan in various capacities (acting, playwriting, lighting design, stage management, assistant directing), SM’d a 7 city Ireland tour of Fool For Love in 2010, and have the great honor of being a company member. I’ve also spent time in North Carolina where I did freelance lighting design (14 productions), my favorite project being for Zenph & Quincy Jones, as well as some exciting devising work with other DC area transplants who formed Haymaker Theatre. Returning to DC, I began work in Events Production with RCI, worked for The Shakespeare Theatre Education department, and soon after applied to Mason’s (new) Masters in Theatre Education Certificate Program. Now I’m in my 3rd year at Robinson Secondary School (FCPS) teaching high school theatre arts 1-4, IB theatre I & II, and technical theatre 1-4. I am incredibly grateful for my students, my school, and the immensely talented educators I collaborate with daily.

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