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 interview.
Our latest Spotlight Member is Charlene
Thomas, troupe director of Troupe 7797 at Covenant Day School in Matthews, NC.
She has a wide range of experience in music and theatre, as well as with both
middle and high school students (Covenant Day School is K-12, so she teaches both
groups). I asked Charlene to answer a few questions for us so we could learn a
little more about her.
Photo via The Diana Ross Project
Ginny: In one
sentence (or one word), describe your career.
and complicated. I am not what you would consider your typical theatre teacher.
I was actually a music major. I got involved in theatre by auditioning and
performing for local musicals, off-broadway gigs, etc. Somehow I got hooked.
The rest is history.
Ginny: What is the most important advice
you can offer to new teachers just starting out?
Charlene: Pace yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes. Do not try to change
the world in a day. Find ways to keep teaching fun and exciting for you. Never
stop desiring to learn more. As educators, we should strive to set the example
of being lifelong learners.
Ginny: What is the resource you most
recommend to others in your profession (book, website, tool, app, etc)?
Charlene: Acting the Truth: The Acting Principles of Constantin Stanislavski by
Albert Pia. Great tool. You can glean from it what you need and apply it to
what the students are working on or you can follow the syllabus.
Ginny: What inspired you to become a
Charlene: From the time I graduated from college, I
had no intention of being a starving artist. When the opportunities to become
the next Quincy Jones or Spike Lee became few and far between, I looked for
part-time work; something where I could make a difference. The next thing I
know I was standing in front of a classroom full of busy 2nd graders; one of
whom called himself, "Bond. James Bond." From that point on, I was
hooked on teaching. I have been teaching ever since.
Ginny: Tell us about the moment that made
you decide to get involved in theatre.
Charlene: The day I saw Diana Ross in "Lady Sings the Blues." Am I dating
Ginny: Name something on your bucket list.
Charlene: I still have dreams of making it to Broadway!! Getting a masters in
theatre or directing would be nice too.
Ginny: If you could have a different
career, not related to theatre, what would you choose?
Charlene: My husband thinks I missed my calling as a computer geek but I would
probably be a writer or recording artist.
Ginny: How do
you spend your summer vacations?
Charlene: Spending as much time with my family as possible and traveling.
Charlene obviously sets a great example for
her students by continuing to look for ways to further her own education and
expand her horizons. We’re excited that Charlene will be joining us in
Cincinnati for our National Conference and look forward to the advice and
experience she can share. If you enjoyed Charlene’s interview, add her as a contact in the
Do you know someone who deserves a moment in the Spotlight? Tell me
their name and why at firstname.lastname@example.org.