One of the main goals
for our Theatre Education Community is to help theatre students and
professionals from all over connect and identify with each other in order to
build resources and support the theatre education field. We plan to shine a
spotlight on a different member every other week by conducting a simple
Our first Spotlight
Member is Scott Piehler, troupe director of Troupe 6745 at Providence Christian
Academy in Lilburn, GA. He’s been a positive presence in the Community,
offering prompt and helpful advice and opinions on a range of topics, including
technical theatre, play selection and advocacy. I asked Scott to answer a few questions for us so we
could learn a little more about him.
Image via Purcellville
Ginny: First, tell us about the moment that
made you decide to get involved in theatre.
Scott: I grew up in New Hampshire. The
Granite State is overflowing with summer stock and community theatre. I
remember being awed by a local production as a child, and then being thrilled
to play Jack Pumpkinhead as a third grader. When I entered the New Hampton
School, I was blessed to train under Van McLeod and his artist-in-residence
program. Van is now the Commissioner of the NH Dept. of Cultural Resources. I
stepped away from the stage for a while, but when I started volunteering for my
daughter’s Elementary plays, it eventually led me to my current position. (She
is now a college freshman.) I truly credit my time away from the stage for
making me the director I am today. I am able to call upon a broad range of
disciplines. Very useful when running a one-man department!
Ginny: Why do you believe theatre is
Scott: For me, it’s very basic, and
very practical. It’s what I tell my students and their parents: Whatever it is
you plan to do, be it at-home parent, salesperson, retail clerk, preacher,
doctor, performer, or CEO, at some point in your life you will have to stand in
front of another person and convince them of something. Nothing prepares
you for that like theatre.
Ginny: Any tips for new theatre teachers?
Scott: R-E-L-A-X. My fellow faculty
members always comment on how relaxed I seem during show week, and how fairly
unstressed the cast and crew is. These are called plays, we should be having
fun. We may be making a statement, but we’re not curing cancer here. Maybe it’s
my radio background. Until the show starts, we’re not late. And ultimately, the
show is not about me. A good friend once told me a manager has only three jobs:
cheerleader, bulldozer, and umbrella. That is to say we encourage, clear
obstacles, and shield our performers from distraction. When the curtain goes
up, my job is over. It’s their turn.
Ginny: What would you define as your proudest
Scott: My marriage. In September, I
will celebrate 27 years with my wife, Tamar. We were high school sweethearts,
then on-again, off-again, then married in our early ‘20s. I can’t imagine life
Ginny: Do you have any hobbies or interests
outside of theatre?
Scott: I am a freelance voice over
artist. If you go to Historic Speedwell in Morristown, NJ, you will find an
exhibit that features me as the voice of Alfred Vail, the co-creator of the
Ginny: What is something we would be
surprised to learn about you?
Scott: I am probably the best pinball
player you know. 1993 Atlanta PAPA Division B Champion, proud owner of a 1990
Williams Riverboat Gambler, and absolutely addicted to Farsight Studios “Pinball
Arcade” on my iPad.
When Scott isn’t playing pinball, teaching,
serving as the voice of historical figures, or spending time with his family,
he also publishes his own blog on theatre and stagecraft, which I found very thought-provoking,
specifically one entry, “Tenacity Trumps Talent.” If
you enjoyed Scott’s interview, I’d encourage you to check out his blog and add him as a contact in the Community to learn more!