Roundabout Master Teaching Artist Leah Reddy has worked with Education at Roundabout for the past ten years. During the day, Leah can be found in classrooms leading residencies and workshops. In the evening, you may see Leah at one of Roundabout’s theatres engaging audiences in a pre-show discussion. During the summer, Leah acts as the Marketing mentor for Student Production Workshop. Leah is also a contributing writer for Roundabout’s UPSTAGE guides, where she writes articles and activities for teachers to use with their students.
In addition to her work with students and patrons, Leah serves in leadership positions. As a member of the Teaching Artist Advisory Group, Leah works with other teaching artists to better Roundabout’s TA training, which she also co-facilitates. She also serves as a Partnership Coordinator for Brooklyn School for Music and Theatre, where she works with school leadership and educators to ensure that the school’s partnership with Roundabout best serves their goals.
Education Coordinator Sarah Kutnowsky spoke with Leah about her career and work at Roundabout.
Sarah Kutnowsky: Tell me a bit about yourself and your artistry.
Leah Reddy: I grew up on the west side of Cincinnati, Ohio. I went to The Ohio State University and moved to New York after graduation. I started out as an actor/director, but in the past five years I've spent more time on writing, photography, and video production, in addition to teaching. All the work I do comes back to telling a story, and I'm never sure what I'm going to be doing next.
SK: How did you come to be a teaching artist? Could you share your first arts education experience?
LR: I answered an audition notice for Roundabout on Playbill.com right after I moved to city. The audition consisted of teaching a lesson, and I used the plot of the Saved by the Bell episode about zit cream to talk about script analysis. My first arts education experience was probably kindergarten dance class. I didn't get hooked on theatre until second grade, when we performed "Achoo! The Mouse That Saved Christmas" in our holiday program. I played Nibbles, and most of my lines involved eating cheese.
SK: What is your favorite part about working as a teaching artist?
LR: I love making theatre, seeing theatre, and talking about theatre, and that's what I get to do as a teaching artist. I love the community theatre creates, and thinking about how we build community. My teaching work is also part activism. I hope that it empowers students to express themselves and think critically about representation in the media and how the stories we see and share shape us. I also hope it gets them thinking about the professional world and how to make their way in it. Also, my fellow TAs and the Education staff are the most amazing people and artists. They challenge and inspire me all the time.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
LR: I had the opportunity to shoot a series of short videos about issues around water access in Cuba this summer. We're editing them now and they'll be used a water justice conference in 2017.
Over the next month, Leah will share her experience working with students at Brooklyn School for Music and Theatre in a residency focusing on restorative justice for the Roundabout blog.
Education @ Roundabout, Teaching Artist Tuesday