b'BECOMING A PILLAR OF Theatre THE ARTS AT HEIDELBERGInterview by Angela GilesIn the past three years, the Heidelberg TheatreQ: What are the skills a student develops while practicing theatre?program has gone from eight majors to 36Stephen: In addition to creativity and collaboration, one of the skills and from zero season subscribers to 120.that is impossible to articulate is grit and perseverance. In the theatre, Shows routinely sell out, and the quality ofwe teach through failure. Every day, we get up, we try something new the productions has increased simultaneously.and we know it wont be perfect. We get notes and feedback, and Most importantly, though, the studentwe try again. I think thats something that our contemporary students experience has been enhanced exponentially. need to explore and learnthat life is a process and its not all perfect We sat down with Theatre Director and Professor Stephen Svoboda toevery day. We need to acknowledge that you have to work hard to find out whats driving the successful re-emergence of the theatre, howget somewhere, that you have to have a growth mindset, and thats students are growing personally and professionally, and what we candifferent from other areas.expect going forward. Hint: The skys the limit! Q: What are the benefits the theatre programs brings to Heidelberg?Q: What do you see as the role of theatre in a liberal arts education? Stephen: Theres a perception that the two ways to bring disenfranchised Stephen: Wow, thats a big, loaded question. I think theatre and thestudents or populations together are through sports and the arts. arts allow our students to learn to think creatively and collaboratively.We really fully embrace the sports component here on campus but We talk about those as being really important skills for getting into thewere just starting to break the surface of the arts component. To me, workforce, but we dont always focus on those things in the classroom.in the course of one year, 4,000 people will come to see our shows We dont have a class in Creativity 101 or Collaboration 101. But workingand have a community experience, whether its a comedy and theyre in the theatre gives you those skills by the very nature of what we do.all laughing together or its Diary of Anne Frank and theyre all crying I also think that theatre majors and non-majors learn to synthesizetogether. I try to pick shows that matter, that I think will resonate for our ideas. We tend to look at ideas from many different points of view andentire student population, our faculty and staff and the community. I we have to figure out how were going to bring those together. In thewant us to have conversations about things that we need to talk about. framework of the liberal arts, I think theatre provides the sense thatSo I think the arts provide a place for discourse, a place for community you can do anything, that you can reinvent anything and you can workbonding, a place for emotional release and catharsis, a place that is very, collaboratively as a team to solve a problem. very important to our times right now.Q: How do you balance teaching theatre majors and non-majors simultaneously?Stephen: My philosophy is that everyone is an artist. They just might not know it yet. Theatre majors are generally already invested in the material. With non-majors, I need to show them how the arts apply to them. I try to pick material theyre going to relate to and find interesting, and then I really just try to give them concrete tools to put it all together. I have them do YouTube reviews of plays, bring in tech in the ways they like and I tend to use film in my classes a lot because thats a medium theyre familiar with.Summer 2019|15'