Harryet Candee: What are some of the applications and lesson plans you have applied to with your students that you learned while studying Arts Education? Annie Considine: The pedagogy of the education work at Shakespeare & Company is pretty unique, so lots of different teachers in these programs have created their own exercises (I get all my good ideas from them). All the work goes toward reinforcing a couple of key things: we try to foster non-competitive, supportive environments in schools, as well as spaces where students feel safe enough to try things and fail. But we are not therapists - we are directors and teachers. Our job is to put on a play. If students get something else out of it, that’s wonderful, but we don’t go searching for it. We just create the space.
Artistic Bodyshot, photo by Brian McConkey
ACTOR Interview by harryet candee
14 • MAY 2017 THE ARTFUL MIND
Prior to teaching you were acting. So, I am wondering what did you learn from your acting experiences that you now apply to your students? Annie: I think there can be two extremes in the world of theater: the art and the industry. The industry for actors can be image-driven, full of competition, and your success is usually determined by how much money you make. The art of acting, however, is about self-awareness and listening to your scene partners. Your success is defined by your artistic and collaborative abilities, which are not always commercially viable. Sometimes, you get a lot of great art in an industrially successful show (Hamilton, for instance), but not always. I try to teach students the art of acting, and not worry about the industry. Almost all of the students I teach are not interested in being professional actors anyway, and you can get so much more pleasure out practicing acting without the stress of trying to make a living out of it. I recently read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love), in which she said that until recently, she had a day job and wrote on the side because it took the creative pressure off of her to sustain herself financially through writing. She did better work because of it, and her financial success came as a side product. I want my students to know that being a successful actor is not necessarily the same as being financially or commercially successful. When you went to Bosnia & Herzegovina, and worked for a youth theater company in the city, was there a world of new material you learned and use today for yourself and your students in directing and acting? Were many of the techniques and ways about the stage similar to here, similar to Shakespeare & Company’s training style?