People’s Light is excited to welcome Kathryn Moroney to our full-time staff in the new role of Director of Education & Civic Practice. Read the interview below to get to know her!
Marcie Bramucci: Kathryn, you’ve just arrived at People’s Light. What are you up to this week?
Kathryn Moroney: I arrived just as the Teen and Youth sessions of our SummerBLAST program kicked off, so I divide my time between the logistics of making sure our students and their families and teaching artists all have everything they need, and visiting the classrooms to really get a sense of what’s unfolding there. We have wonderfully experienced Teaching Artists, and we also have a pretty inspiring mix of first-time participants alongside students who keep returning for multiple People’s Light experiences. It’s important for me to understand the nuance and depth of what’s happening in classrooms, so I can think about all we have to offer and how to keep sharing in new ways.
Of course when I’m not doing all that I’m also madly matching new names and faces, learning new protocols and paperwork, and dissecting our production calendar to plan out all the next programs ahead in the new 2018-19 season!
Marcie: How would you describe your new position?
Kathryn: My role as Director of Education and Civic Practice means that I get to think about all the countless ways to make learning opportunities through theatre. Part of that is planning for school participation: working with classroom groups who will attend our productions or host Teaching Artists in their schools for longer-term residency work. Part of that is giving community youth and adults experiences of being art-makers themselves; our Saturday classes and summer programs are good examples. I’ll also help to steer longer partnerships, such as the work of the New Voices Ensemble, whose members not only study in theatre classes but also develop their own performance of the course of a whole year visiting at People’s Light.
I would call myself a producer, facilitator and educator; I have to be able to plan budgets and staff and schedules, but I also have to see the potential in each production, each affiliated artist, and each community relationship for how we might explore and teach something new together.
Marcie: Why theatre?
Kathryn: I was lucky to start seeing theatre at a very young age, but for me it was in high school when I realized that theatre was my favorite way of learning about the world. For all that I had studied history, social issues, poetry, and many “Big Important Themes” in school, those lessons stuck with me most when they were expressed in personal stories and I could feel the emotional connection to what was at stake for an individual. In theatre we watch cause and effect, we watch the consequences of choices. Theatre may explore Big Ideas but the scale is always human; it’s actor-sized, audience-sized, and as immediate as what happens right in front of you. For me, nothing else compares for making me feel and think all at once, and I love watching first-time artists and first-time audiences make the same discovery.
Marcie: You are only in your second (at the time of posting this it will be third) week in Malvern. Where are you coming from? What will/do you miss most?
Kathryn: I’m coming from leading the Education programs at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. Along with many colleagues and friends I made during my years there, what I’ll miss most of all is the Gulf of Mexico: swimming year-round, and sitting in the sand with my coffee to watch sunrises. When I was in Florida, though, I missed the change of seasons – especially Fall, which is my favorite. I’m going to be thrilled to watch the leaves change and to have to pull on a sweater!
Marcie: What excites you most about joining the People’s Light team?
Kathryn: I’m excited about the plays and artists in the season. I’m excited about the community resources and history – the expertise of so many individuals and partner organizations who help inform the planning and the programs here. I’m excited about all the staff I’m getting to know; the people at this organization strike me as curious, ambitious, and generous, which is a pretty powerful combination. I’m excited about all of it!
Marcie: What do you like to do when you aren’t running theatre education programs?
Kathryn: I love to travel, whether to visit my family and friends spread around the country or to visit entirely new places. When I’m not traveling, I’m actually pretty good at playing tourist near home – I love exploring local restaurants, performances, nature walks, festivals depending on the season. I used to enjoy running before I let that habit go, and I’m hoping to start up again. (If I declare that publicly, now I’m committed to following through!)
Marcie: What is a wish that you have (large or small)?
Kathryn: Let’s start with a small wish that will grow: I hope that all of the audiences and families and teachers and colleagues I am about to meet will be candid and open and talkative! I plan to listen and learn a lot this year, so I hope everyone will tell me their own hopes and wishes for People’s Light, and for this new corner of the world I’m getting to know.
Kathryn Moroney joins the staff at People’s Light as the Director of Education and Civic Practice. She previously served as Education Director at Asolo Repertory Theatre (Sarasota, FL), Associate Director of Education at Geva Theatre Center (Rochester, NY) and as a freelance teaching artist with Women’s Project (New York, NY), Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philly Young Playwrights, Bristol Riverside Theatre, City Theatre (Pittsburgh, PA), Epiphany Theatre Company (Saratoga Springs, NY), and Theatre for a New Audience’s Shakespeare Fellows Project. Kathryn has also worked in new play development with PlayPenn, Write Now/Bonderman Playwriting for Youth Symposium, Primary Stages (New York, NY) and Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven, CT), and as a director of new work. Kathryn earned her B.F.A. in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.