This summer I have the joy of working not only as a teacher with the North Carolina Theatre’s Education Department but also as Sister Margaretta, a nun in the theatre’s production of The Sound of Music. And that is just what it is: “a joy.” I say this because not many words can describe the feeling of watching your own students grow as performers and individuals in the rehearsal and performance process of a full musical theatre production, and having the opportunity to work along side them – being then a part of that growth.
Part of this joy comes from watching the students take the ideas, philosophies and skills you have developed with them and use the skill on the stage in a major regional theatre production. Now we can reference actual moments in the classroom as well as allow the onstage experiences to reciprocate. For me, the best part of this production is seeing the students grow as individual performers – taking information and creating their own way of approaching material and creating as actors.
It is also a joy for me to experience the themes and material of The Sound of Music with the students. I see, and hopefully the students see, how theatre and music can transcend the everyday and help young artists as well as the community as a whole to touch on the artistic side of each of us. Experiencing a production such as this that focuses so much on the joy of creating art can encourage all those involved, from artist to audience, to become more creative and live their lives more fully and completely. And if all goes well we see how this translates to all those around us, fills our lives and everyone we come in contact with, with a more complete sense of self, a new way of approaching life, a fuller sense of living.
As a teacher, doing a production always teaches me. It makes me a better teacher by recharging the artistic battery and teaching me new ways of approaching material with my students. It may be new methodology of directing, working with others, and creating as a group. For the joy of teaching always is the give and take of ideas.
~Heather Patterson King, Sister Margaretta in The Sound of Music AND Program Director/Acting Department Head at the NC Theatre Conservatory