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 shine a spotlight on different members by conducting a simple interview.
Our next Spotlight is Lindsay Brustein, an EdTA professional member and the theatre teacher for St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. Lindsay has been involved in our Community for several years and contributes encouragement, advice, and interesting questions to inspire conversation.
Do you have any tips for new theatre teachers?
Give yourself lots of grace! The first few years teaching are a huge adjustment personally and professionally, and it takes time to get on your feet. Hang in there and it will get easier.
What was the first role you ever played?
The first show I ever saw was a touring production of Annie. At the end of the show, I told my parents I wanted to “do that” (be on stage). A few months later, the church my family attended announced a production of Annie. My first role was as the orphan Kate when I was five years old.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I always loved kids, but it didn’t occur to me until about halfway through college that I could combine my love of theatre with my love for working with young people. I was lucky enough to have two mentors in college, Betsy Quinn and Rives Collins, who pulled me into this field with open arms and showed me the many possibilities within theatre education.
What is unique about your program?
I currently teach at a private boarding/day school in Austin, Texas. Because we have a boarding program, my students come from all over the world. I’ve had students in shows from China, Korea, Japan, Mexico, all over the US, and beyond.
What was the most difficult element of a production you’ve ever had to manage?
This year due to COVID, we recorded a radio play for our fall production. We rehearsed completely remotely and got a small amount of recording equipment to distribute each week among different actors. Managing recording sessions on Zoom was definitely a challenge. From tech issues to Zoom fatigue to teaching students to use new equipment, we always had some issue come up. But it was all worth it to make sure our students had a positive theatre experience this fall.
What would you consider your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
Probably my entire first year teaching (I was at a different school at the time). There’s no one moment that stands out from the year, but as all seasoned teachers know, the challenge and stress of a teacher’s first year can’t be understated. There were of course wonderful successes and victories along the way, but all in all, my teaching that year was definitely not my finest work.
If you could have a different career, what would you choose?
I don’t know if this counts since it’s in the same field, but I would probably pursue educational administration. I love thinking about the big picture of schools and how they function in our communities. Or in fantasy land, I’d be the host of a home makeover show.
How do you relax after a busy day?
With a toddler and an infant at home, there’s not much relaxing to be done. But I love coming home to hang out with them; they always take my mind off work. If I do get a moment to myself, I like to read, work out, and/or take a nap!
What toy do you most remember from your childhood?
The Skip It. My friends and I used to have competitions to see how many skips we could get before messing up.
If you enjoyed Lindsay’s interview as much as we did, add her as a contact in the Community.
Do you know someone who deserves a moment in the Spotlight? Tell me their name and why at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to read more Community Spotlights? You can find them here.