As an artist, educator and passionate advocate for children, I am deeply committed to fostering the growth of the children’s role as collaborators in their education. I have seen children discover their voices through Drama.
I grew up in LaGrange, Illinois and started drama class at age 9 when my mom put me in LaGrange Children’s Theatre. I went on to work with transformative teachers in high school, then continued my theatre studies while majoring in English Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. I received my MFA in Acting from the University of Minnesota –Twin Cities. I 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 I worked with playwright and director Steven Dietz. Shortly after finishing graduate school, I was invited to join the The Children’s Theatre Company’s Acting Company, where I created many roles and had the treat of working with Tomie dePaola on his two original Strega Nona musicals. It still makes me smile to think about working with the amazing author who called me “My Calabrese Leslie Gore. ” At CTC, I was appointed as Director and Master Teacher, where I 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, I had the pleasure of working for Miss Ardis Krainik when I appeared as Ida in Die Fledermaus at Lyric Opera of Chicago, conducted by Julius Rudel. In Chicago, my 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, I was the Drama Specialist at Baker Demonstration School in Wilmette, Illinois where I developed and taught a comprehensive Drama program.
I enjoy writing and working with teachers to integrate arts into the curriculum. I love to travel and read and practice Iyengar Yoga. I am the mother of two daughters and am married to theatre planner and theatrical lighting designer, Todd Hensley.
My experience as a teacher often calls upon me to design drama and arts programs for specific communities of learners. Middle school students are some of my favorite people, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to create a middle school Drama program for the Roycemore School.
“The arts, it has been said, cannot change the world, but they may change human beings who might change the world.”
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.
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.