Theatre

Design and Performance Instruction for Tennessee’s Young Thespians

Our philosophy is simple — to supply an opportunity for the student to learn. We do this by providing a program of dedicated and focused study in all areas of theatrical studies, with an emphasis on the process of creating live theatre. Students are to be given every opportunity possible to explore, to question, and to grow. The Theatre Program is a safe place where there are no wrong answers and no stupid questions. It is an environment fostering open communication and the exchange of knowledge and ideas. The mission of the Theatre Program of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts is based on the idea that we are part of a “school” and the objective should always be on learning and exploring the multiple facets of the art of theatre. The mission of the Theatre Program is to instill in every student the respect and understanding of all aspects of the theatrical process as it leads to its final culmination in the performance, as well as to give the student the knowledge, skills, and creative opportunities to realize their own potential and grow as an individual, an artist, and a craftsman. Additionally, the student should gain a sense of where the art of theatre resides in relationship to the other art forms of the school, and how all these art forms are interrelated.

Theatre Curriculum

There are now two classifications for theatre students: Performance and Design. Students may apply for both concentrations but must realize they will be accepted into only one classification — not both. However, all students must demonstrate a willingness to participate and learn in all aspects of theatre. Instruction will include skills and knowledge development in areas such as:  

  • PERFORMANCE STUDIES (Stage Movement, Stage Combat, Alexander Technique, Acting for the Stage, Acting for the Camera, Vocal Training, Musical Theatre, Pantomime, Improvisation, Dance, Auditioning, etc.)
  • DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY (Costumes, Scenery, Lighting, etc.)
  • THEATRICAL/LITERARY STUDIES (Playwriting, Theatre History, Dramaturgy, etc.)
  • THEATRE MANAGEMENT (Theatre Business, Stage Management, etc.)

Goals

The Theatre Arts discipline embodies four fundamental goals and component knowledge, processes, and skills which this Tennessee framework terms strands. The goals are to enable the learner to:

1. Develop means of expression for the individual through the use of drama/theatre experiences

a. Sensory perception b. Emotional expression c. Imagination d. Movement e. Language f. Voice g. Artistic discipline h. Concentration i. Self-concept

2. Create drama/theatre through individual effort, group interaction, and artistic collaboration

a. Ensemble and interpersonal skills b. Problem solving c. Improvisation d. Acting e. Directing f. Playmaking and Playwriting g. Technical elements h. Theatre management

3. Experience drama/theatre in its multicultural, social, and historical contexts

a. Dramatic literature b. Theatre history and heritage c. Drama/Theatre in a multicultural society d. Roles and careers

4. Form aesthetic judgments of drama/theatre experiences

a. Elements of drama b. Audience c. Theatre and other arts d. Aesthetic response  

 

Jeff Gibson

Theatre Chair

Jeff Gibson is Chair of the Theatre Division of the Tennessee Governors’ School for the Arts.   Gibson is Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Middle Tennessee State University where he teaches courses in arts management.  Gibson serves as Past Chair of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Region IV, Vice President of Administration for Southeastern Theatre Conference, and former Assistant to the President of Watkins College of Art&Design in Nashville, Tennessee.  He received his MFA in Theatre Management from the University of Alabama and served as a management assistant at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.      

 

Theatre Faculty

Justin Reed

Theatre Prouction Coordinator

Justin Reed is from Cleveland, TN, where he first began working in theatre at his local high school.  After graduating from... read more

Justin Reed

Theatre Prouction Coordinator

Justin Reed is from Cleveland, TN, where he first began working in theatre at his local high school.  After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in Theatre, he began his current job as Manager of Tucker Theatre and the Boutwell Dramatic Arts facility at MTSU. He is involved in many facets of the Theatre and Dance program including events, ticketing, marketing, construction, and technology management. Justin is very excited to be working with the Governor’s School again this year.    

Halena Kays

Director

Halena Kays is an assistant professor of theatre at MTSU.  A professional director and performer from Chicago, Halena served as... read more

Halena Kays

Director

Halena Kays is an assistant professor of theatre at MTSU.  A professional director and performer from Chicago, Halena served as artistic director of The Hypocrites theater company and co-founder and former artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys.  Chicago directing credits include:Endgame, Ivywild, Six Characters in Search of an Author at The Hypocrites; The Magic Play at The Goodman, Lord of the Flies at Steppenwolf theatre company; Burning Bluebeard, Pop/Waits, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Daredevils, Daredevils Hamlet and Fake Lake at The Neo-Futurists (artistic associate); Roustabout at Concordia College; Buried in Bughouse Square at The University of Chicago.

Kays is a founding member of the artistic collaborative, The Ruffians, a UT-Austin and Northwestern grad and former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit. Halena has been nominated for a Jefferson Citation for Best Supporting Actress and Best Direction, was the recipient of the prestigious 3Arts Award and was named one of the top 50 “players” in Chicago theater by NewCity.   

Jim Armstrong

Stage Manager

Jim Armstrong is a freelance stage manager in New York City. He just finished his engagement with Lively Productions in... read more

Jim Armstrong

Stage Manager

Jim Armstrong is a freelance stage manager in New York City. He just finished his engagement with Lively Productions in their series of productions, Blogologues, and is now working as an administrative intern for Hello Entertainment. His most recent work in stage management has been his involvement with Carol Lempert’s one-woman show, After Anne Frank, which participated in the NY Fringe Festival last year and has been rippling since.        

Trish Clark

Costume Design & Technology

Trish is a costume designer from Nashville, Tennessee.  Some of her favorite design projects include Metamorphoses and The Dining Room... read more

Trish Clark

Costume Design & Technology

Trish is a costume designer from Nashville, Tennessee.  Some of her favorite design projects include Metamorphoses and The Dining Room for Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, The Medium for Belmont Opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Tennessee Shakespeare, and The Crucible, The Underpants and Sweeney Todd, and Big River – all for Nashville Repertory Theatre, where she is the resident designer.  

She also creates costumes for movies, including Billy, The Early Years and The Hanna Montana Movie, as well as for musical artists and groups including Naomi Judd, Taylor Swift and Def Leppard.   Trish worked for Gaylord Entertainment, (Opryland U.S.A., Fiesta Texas, Opryland Talent, and T.N.N.) for ten years as a draper and pattern room supervisor and she still loves draping and was a guest draper/tailor on Nashville Ballet’s The Nutcracker. She has also worked as patternmaker for Les Miserables and as costume designer for A Raisin in the Sun, Frost/Nixon, Crowns, Doubt, and The Foreigner at Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Richard K. Davis, LC, IESNA

Lighting Designer

Richard is a Senior Partner with ARDEE DESIGN GROUP, LLC, which specializes in Entertainment and Architectural lighting. He has completed... read more

Richard K. Davis, LC, IESNA

Lighting Designer

Richard is a Senior Partner with ARDEE DESIGN GROUP, LLC, which specializes in Entertainment and Architectural lighting. He has completed projects across the spectrum for such organizations as Gaylord Entertainment, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Belmont University, HGTV, Dance Theatre of Tennessee, Shop at Home Networks, Nashville Ballet, and CNN Washington. Prior to joining ADG, Richard developed a diverse portfolio while working in NYC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Japan.

While he has worked on various Film, Television, and concert touring projects, his specialty resides firmly in lighting for Theatrical and Dance productions. Such varied projects include “And so we Dance” and “Eurydice” (Belmont University); “The Holberg Suite” and “Coppélia” (Nashville Ballet); “The Piper”, “The Laramie Project”, and “Atlanta” (Actors Bridge); “Latin Heat” and “Carmen” (DTT); and “Dracula” and “Regarding Henry” (Film). He has developed a unique approach to lighting design – combining a cinematic style with real-world and architectural lighting to create not just illumination, but an illuminated environment for live production.

He encourages others to master the art of observation as a critical tool toward understanding the magic and emotion of Light. Richard has earned his Lighting Certification from the NCQLP, is on the Board of Directors for Dance Theatre of Tennessee, and is President Elect for the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America – Middle Tennessee Chapter.

David Ian Lee

Acting Instructor

David has worked as an actor and director internationally, off-Broadway, and with regional theatres including Utah Shakespeare, New York Classical,... read more

David Ian Lee

Acting Instructor

David has worked as an actor and director internationally, off-Broadway, and with regional theatres including Utah Shakespeare, New York Classical, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Rep., and Nashville Repertory Theatre. David is an internationally produced playwright, with his play The Curing Room having received multiple UK productions and confirmed for Canada and South Africa. An alumnus of the William Esper Studio, he received his MFA in Directing from Illinois State University. www.davidianlee.com for more information. 

Joseph Walker

Musical Theatre Instructor

Joseph Walker is a Staff Pianist and Vocal Coach at Middle Tennessee State University, where he received his M.A in... read more

Joseph Walker

Musical Theatre Instructor

Joseph Walker is a Staff Pianist and Vocal Coach at Middle Tennessee State University, where he received his M.A in Collaborative piano in 2008.  He obtained a B.A. in Music from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia in 2000.  His primary piano teachers were Dr. Kevin Vogelsang, Dr. Kevin Hampton, Dr. Caleb Harris, and Dr. Leopoldo Erice.  Mr. Walker has an active career as a collaborative pianist and a vocal coach to the vocal performance majors at MTSU.  He has also played for numerous faculty and student recitals.  Mr. Walker has also worked in the Theater Department at Mtsu as the musical Director in several productions.

Nicholas Ryan

Scenic Design & Technology

Nicholas Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Technical Theatre at Middle Tennessee State University.  Recently Nicholas was an Instructor of... read more

Nicholas Ryan

Scenic Design & Technology

Nicholas Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Technical Theatre at Middle Tennessee State University.  Recently Nicholas was an Instructor of Theatre for Tennessee Tech University.  He served as the Production Manager for all of Tech Players’ productions as well as providing the design for several productions.  Nicholas received his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in Technical Production from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

While at Chapel Hill he worked for PlayMakers Repertory Company a LORT D regional theatre.  Nicholas was the Production Technical Director for Noël Coward’s Private Lives at PlayMakers Repertory Company.  He has also worked as the Technical Director for Cortland Repertory Theatre.  Some notable productions from Cortland include Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story, The Full Monty, and I’ll Be Back Before Midnight.  Nicholas also served as a carpenter for the Tony Award Winning Regional Theatre Utah Shakespeare Festival where he worked on the sets for Scapin, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Les Misérables for the Randall L. Jones Theatre. 

Richard Browder

Choreographer

Richard is excited to be returning this year as a teacher for the school. Since his summer of 1986 when... read more

Richard Browder

Choreographer

Richard is excited to be returning this year as a teacher for the school. Since his summer of 1986 when he was one of the first Governor’s School Theatre students, Richard has received his undergraduate degree in theatre at Middle Tennessee State University, received graduate work in acting at the University of Southern Mississippi, and his Masters in Education at Middle Tennessee State University. He has also worked across the region as a professional actor in such theatres as Tennessee Repertory Theatre were he was seen in such productions as Twelve Angry Men, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and 1776 directed by Rene Copland.

He has also worked in Nashville Children’s Theatre production of Aladdin, Seusical and School House Rock Live. Richard choreographed productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Urintown, and Rent for Middle Tennessee State University. Richard also works as a choreographer for Siegel High School’s Chamber choir where he choreographed productions such as Once on This Island, Tommy, Aida, Evita, and Children of Eden, and Phantom of the Opera.  

 

Vocal Music

Vocal Music

The School for the Arts provides educational instruction for students skilled in strings, wind ensemble, piano, and both choral and opera technique..

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Theatre

Theatre

The theater school is a program of dedicated and focused study in all areas of theatrical studies, with an emphasis on the process of creating live theatre.

read more
Visual Art

Visual Art

Visual Arts students learn human understanding, achievement and self-development through the study and practice of visual art.

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Dance

Dance

Governor’s School students learn that dance is inherent to our heritage and world and that of others around us. Students are encouraged to perceive, evaluate, and understand dance as a conveyor of culture.

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Filmmaking

Filmmaking

Filmmaking students are introduced to both the theory and technical aspects of filmmaking. Through lectures, films and hand-on experiences, students will learn the three aspects of filmmaking: pre-production, production, and post-production.

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Instrumental Program

Instrumental Program

The School for the Arts provides educational instruction for students skilled in strings, wind ensemble, piano, and both choral and opera technique..

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