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Lizanne Wilson

Drama Teacher

Biography

As an artist, educator, and passionate advocate for children, Lizanne is deeply committed to fostering the growth of the children’s role as collaborators in their education. She has seen children discover their voices through Drama.

She grew up in LaGrange, Illinois and started drama class at age 9 when her mom put her in LaGrange Children’s Theatre.  She went on to work with transformative teachers in high school, then continued her theatre studies while majoring in English Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. She received my MFA in Acting from the University of Minnesota –Twin Cities. She worked as a professional actor for years in both the Twin Cities and Chicago. Favorite roles include: Lemon in Aunt Dan and Lemon, Sophie Tucker in Bubblin Brown Sugar and a tour of the US with the Illusion Theatre, where she worked with playwright and director Steven Dietz. Shortly after finishing graduate school, she was invited to join the The Children’s Theatre Company’s Acting Company, where she created many roles and had the treat of working with Tomie dePaola on his two original Strega Nona musicals. It still makes her smile to think about working with the amazing author who called her “My Calabrese Leslie Gore. ” At CTC, she was appointed as Director and Master Teacher, where she redesigned the Performing Apprentice Program for young adult artists and directed Apprentice Company shows including David Mamet’s Writing in Restaurants and  A Kurt Weil Musical Revue.

In Chicago, she had the pleasure of working  for Miss Ardis Krainik when she appeared as Ida in Die Fledermaus at Lyric Opera of Chicago, conducted  by Julius Rudel. In Chicago, her experience includes roles at Drury Lane, New Tuners Theatre and Footsteps, and collaboratively writing and devising the play A Few Simple Truths, directed by Michael Gellman at the Organic Theatre. For 24 years, she was the Drama Specialist at Baker Demonstration School in Wilmette, Illinois where she developed and taught a comprehensive Drama program.

She enjoys writing and working with teachers to integrate arts into the curriculum. She loves to travel and read and  practice Iyengar Yoga. She is the mother of two daughters and is married to theatre planner and theatrical lighting designer, Todd Hensley.  

Her experience as a teacher often calls upon her to design drama and arts programs for specific communities of learners. Middle school students are some of her favorite people, and she is delighted to have the opportunity to create a middle school Drama program for the Roycemore School.

Education

  • MFA (Acting) University of Minnesota
  • A.B. (English Literature) Washington University

Publications

  • Wilson, Lizanne, Gokce, Diana and O’Brien, Dana. A Learning Odyssey: Artistic Collaboration Around a Greek Myth. Schools: Studies in Education, October 2012. Journal article.
  • Wilson, Lizanne and McKenna, Kathleen. Multiple Intelligences: From Theory to Practice. Multiple Intelligences and Shakespeare: Sixth Graders Unlock Romeo and Juliet. International Association of Laboratory and University Affiliated Schools. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. (2008) Monograph.
  • Wilson, Lizanne. “A Story Without Words.” The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum Ed. Norfolk, Sherry, Jane Stenson and Diane Williams. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006. p.102-106. Book.
  • Wilson, Lizanne (March 2004) Old Friends. Broadcast on Mombo, A radio show syndicated through Pacifica Radio Network. Radio Broadcast.
  • Wilson, Lizanne (May 2004) Hats. Broadcast on Mombo, A radio show syndicated through Pacifica Radio Network. Radio Broadcast.
  • Wilson, Lizanne. (February 2002) We Have a Scene to Do Ms. Wilson: Drama in the Classroom. Followspot, Illinois Theatre Association Journal.
  • Wilson, Lizanne. (November 2000) How to Gather A Story. Followspot, The Illinois Theatre Association Journal.
  • Wilson, Lizanne. (May 1999) A Year of Movement. Followspot, The Illinois Theatre Association Journal.

Favorite Quote

“The arts, it has been said, cannot change the world, but they may change human beings who might change the world.”

~Maxine Greene

Why do you teach? What is the impact you hope to make on students?

Children are astonishing and hilarious, and they do amazing work. Theatre is both fun and transformative. Every day is new and full of possibility when I walk into the classroom to begin our class together.

Why Roycemore?

From the moment I entered the school, I experienced Roycemore’s community spirit. I relish an opportunity to collaborate and innovate within a vibrant learning community. I jumped at the challenge of creating something brand-new for the Roycemore middle school. I am excited by the diversity within the Roycemore community and the opportunities for growth: to explore with my middle school drama students and to challenge myself as a teaching artist.