What draws me most to Theatre and Performance Studies (TAPS) is that these arts and research areas provide to me the clearest, most fully dimensional view of human experience. I ascribe to theories of communication that suggest that all of our interactions are essentially storytelling. Wearing this theoretical lens, the work and play of TAPS are organic, though highly reflective and aesthetically enhanced parts of my "regular" life. The creative and reflexive processes essential to the arts of TAPS allow me to understand and to help others make meaning of our lives both here and now and in far away places and/or long ago times.
The scope of experience that TAPS provides was a tremendous and welcome discovery to me. I grew up in a very rural area and my small high school didn't have any kind of theatre program. I was not encouraged to view theatre as a part of my life plan. I came to TAPS by way of a long and winding road. Here I am, nonetheless, and I have always found it a great joy to see others find a home in TAPS as well. There are so many places here to feel at home, after all. Like so many others, I started out with small roles in plays and then larger ones. Acting seemed the main thing to do, and I loved doing it. Then I discovered the history of theatre, as well as the many other art forms TAPS draws upon. I quickly realized that whatever skill or talent I had, I could apply it and develop it in TAPS. I ended up teaching, running a theatre program, writing about TAPS, directing shows, managing budgets, schedules, etc. Eventually, I was asked to go beyond arts administration and into more general academic administration. Of course there was just as much drama helping run a college or university as ever there was running a theatre program, so everything seemed pretty familiar! Now I am so fortunate to be part of a university level TAPS program that is fresh and new and that joins more traditional Theatre Studies with the burgeoning field of Performance Studies. In my view, these disciplinary areas can best be appreciated and applied in tandem.
Throughout my career, it has always been important to me to share texts performatively (prose, poetry, dramatic works, historical analyses, etc.) to community groups outside of academic, university, or professional settings. I have greatly enjoyed the opportunities I have had to present my research, writing, and solo works at high schools, to community groups, at libraries and museums, as well as churches. My CV references some examples of these kinds of presentations, as I think it is important for members of any academic community to be part of broader efforts to educate and enrich the lives of those outside the walls of the institutions they serve.