I began my directing journey at the age of 13, with my middle school theatre troupe, The Metal Shop Players. As middle schoolers, we had lofty goals, accomplishing 3 fully staged productions a year. I got a taste for directing when a close friend of mine wrote an original play which I was able to direct within the troupe. From there, I went on to assist directors in high school, and came to Northwestern University eager to learn more about this specific craft.
At Northwestern, I received an excellent education in directing, taking multiple masterclasses with working directors, professors, and M.F.A candidates, assisting professors and M.F.A candidates, taking relevant courses on directing, and most importantly, getting firsthand practice via the huge student theatre collective on campus.
As a director on campus, I was able to direct contemporary plays, musicals, new works where I got to collaborate with my playwright peers, one acts, 10 minute plays, and much more. More broadly, in my time at Northwestern I worked on a huge range of plays, spanning from Theatre for Young Audiences to classics.
Relevant directing coursework: Fundamentals of Directing, Directing Sarah Ruhl, Text Analysis, Toy Theatre, The Art of Storytelling, Community-Based Theatre, and a 3 year Acting Sequence. I am a firm believer that being a good artists expands beyond traditional education in theatre, and my liberal arts education in all fields solidified my understanding of the stories I want to tell, as well as the most effective ways to connect with humans from all walks of life. As such, I also focused my studies in sociology, psychology, and environmental studies.
As the Artistic Director of a student theatre company, I learned the demands of producing and administrating theatrical work from a behind the scenes perspective. I led the company in seeing out our mission statement: to produce theatre relevant to social and political issues, and to explore the intersections of arts and activism. I mentored several directors of our productions, including directors of devised works, and documentary theatre works. My time on this theatre company gave me insight into what it takes to produce artistic work, provided me an artistic community with which I could expand my understanding of theatre, activism, and social and political current events, and gave me an opportunity to practice leadership and mentorship.
In my senior year at Northwestern, I accepted a tremendous opportunity to be the Assistant Director of the Goodman Theatre's production of Roe, directed by Vanessa Stalling. This experience allowed me to shadow a fantastically accomplished professional director , contribute to a professional rehearsal room, and be a part of an award winning regional theatre mainstage production. Additionally, I was tasked with leading the understudy rehearsals, which gave me hands on experience working with professional theatre actors. I am immensely grateful to this day for the opportunity and mentorship provided to me by Vanessa.
Post graduation, I was hoping to continue to assist professional directors in the Chicago area, and begin a directing career. Unfortunately, those plans were disrupted by the pandemic, as were the lives of so many artists. I have decided to take the challenge of starting an artistic career into my own hands by independently producing virtual theatre . The realm of possibilities for virtual theatre are, in fact, endless, and I am excited to be at the forefront of this exciting new artistic medium. I encourage you to check out my Independent Projects & Productions page for more information.
A LIL' SAMPLING
See my Productions page for more photos!
Check out photos from the first ever production I directed at the age of 13: Falling Out by Kamaile Alnas-Benson!