I'm a Storyteller at Heart.
I don't think I realized just how long I'd been telling stories until halfway through my first year of graduate school. I drew and illustrated my own Care Bears books at age six or seven, and have been writing stories - novels - ever since. Storytelling is an intimate part of who I am.
When I started my bachelors in English and Theatre (specifically acting) story telling, especially character journey, was what I was training myself to do. But when I took a scenic design course as part of the requirement for my Theatre Studies major, I was blown away by the intricacies of the story telling I was doing on stage. I could tell a story with a paintbrush and a drill! I could tell a story with props, with furniture, with lighting fixtures!
From there, the story has seemed to unfold itself. I designed another show the next semester that I had chosen as a design project in a high school class, and felt much more confident telling the story after I'd learned how to tell it. I did an internship for a summer theatre company where I designed two shows. I designed another show the very last semester of my bachelor's degree, and it became pretty clear that I had a knack for this kind of storytelling. The next eight months, preparing to apply to graduate schools, I designed two more shows, one at another summer theatre and one at my alma mater as a guest artist.
As the first student to aspire to graduate school for design or technology from my undergraduate program, it was a delightful surprise to be granted interviews with 16 schools at U/RTAs when I attended in Chicago in February of 2012. From there, it became clear to me that the University of Missouri-Kansas City was the school that would best fit the things I knew and the things I still needed to learn about scenic design. In my first year, I was given the opportunity to design a show (a full six months before most MFA candidates in the scenic design program are allowed to design for UMKC's program). I have since worked at Texas Shakespeare Festival as part of their properties department, and designed at the Coterie Theatre (one of the top five Theatre for Young Audiences in the United States according to Time Magazine) and the Unicorn Theatre here in Kansas City, as well as spending another summer in residence at the Berkshire Theatre Group as part of their properties team.
Since graduation I have steadily worked as a freelance artist, not only designing in Kansas City at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre and The Unicorn Theatre, but also in Indianapolis for The Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project. I also designed the premiere of an original family musical, Puddin and the Grumble, which deals with the issue of hunger in America today, commissioned by the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska. The summers of 2015 and 2016 were spent in KC painting for the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, and I spent four months in Virginia between the fall of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 working at Hollins University as both a professor, painter and designer. Currently I serve as Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Design and Technology at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.