I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. — Robert Frost four interrelated educational paths Tom would experience for some 50 years. His extensive experience as a theatre practitioner was complemented by formal theatre education in high school and college. He also learned many lessons from the school of hard knocks, transferring them to his theatre work. And, he learned professional teacher education skills as part of a teaching license in Career Technical Education (CTE), which qualified him to teach a high school theatre program. He has developed, through all his experiences, an edge that enables him to be successful in the theatre world as both practitioner and teacher, which requires a thick skin. Tom believes, “my work is my life is my education”. Along with developing his acting skills as a teenager, Tom learned to play and love the guitar, even playing in a few bands: first folk and then rock-n-roll. He also studied and practiced photography, getting pretty good at it as an amateur. Of his many interests as a teenager, he gave up hunting after shooting a squirrel. He didn’t like the feeling he got, so he decided to shoot them with a camera instead.
it, he decided he’d had enough of “trying to be cool” and went to Interlochen Arts Academy in Traverse City, Michigan. For the first time in his life, he was around other artistic young people and finally felt at home, breathing “alien air”. The mission of Interlochen is: Dedicated to the Promotion of World Friendship through the Universal Language of the Arts After Interlochen, it was on to the Southern Methodist University to study theatre. A full schedule of all things theatre immersed Tom in the world he loved most. It was here that all his previous experiences would become connected to the theatre. It was here he would learn a most important lesson: that every
experience, every person and every job shape the actor. In particular, it was here he met and studied under Joan Potter. Potter mentored Tom the way she had been mentored at the Actor’s Studio, under the guidance of Lee Strasburg. From Joan, he learned respect for his colleagues, love for the theatre, humility, and the recognition that process is everything and destination or product is irrelevant. He learned that theatre is “like melting snow”. Joan died five years ago. But she is still with Tom “in my head, urging me to commit, define, let go, and humble myself so that I may serve the play— and each moment I have with those I love. “ Continued on page 40
Richard III by William Shakespeare Directed by Tom Fulton
Tom was submitted to much ridicule in high school because he wanted to act and sing, which were considered “sissy” for a boy. Also, he worked hard at trying to be an athlete (football and basketball), but mostly because that’s what others told him he should be doing. He wanted his dad to be proud of him. After three years of
volume 13 | 2017 • www.aroundkent.net