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Theatre Arts Training Teaching Artists
Theatre Arts Training offers beginning classes to advanced technique for students ages 2-18 building creativity, curiosity, and confidence. As a staple in our theatre for over 10 years, TAT serves over 3,000 children each year. This would not be possible without our amazing teaching staff that are dedicated to the growth and development of young people. We spoke with veteran Teaching Artist Taous Khazem about her work with TAT and what drives her to educate, challenge and inspire young people through this program.
CTC: Tell us about your background. How has it prepared you for your work as a teaching artist?
TK: When I was in college I studied abroad in Paris. The day I arrived my musician aunt hailed me a taxi and sent me off to the American School in Paris where I met the theatre teacher who asked me to teach a 3 hour workshop. I had no idea what to do but I figured it out! A year later I was back in Paris studying at the Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School. In order to pay my tuition I taught English. I would always draw on my theatre background in order to teach. Ever since I have always taught alongside my work as an actress. I feel like teaching makes me a better performer. I lived in Algeria for 3 years (2008-2011) and taught a lot of physical theatre workshops. I worked and reworked approaches to the work in French and Arabic.
CTC: What inspires you to work with young people?
TK: When I was young, I so badly wanted to be a performer but I was very shy. It took a lot of work to find my footing on stage. I learned to trust myself and the stories I wanted to tell. It means so much to me to give the gift of theatre, performance, and learning to have confidence to young people.
CTC: What is the importance of TAT for young people?
TK: TAT students learn how to work together. They learn that maybe they had an idea about a fellow student, a scene, a theatre exercise that changes over the session. TAT students learn to use what they've learned outside of class--in class. I see and hear my students making connections all the time, understanding theatre and themselves on a deeper level. Students might start a session afraid to speak loudly and express their ideas. By feeling safe, supported and challenged many students leave class with confidence and strength.
CTC: How has being involved in TAT taught you about yourself as a person and as an artist?
TK: Every session I learn something new--a better way to explain a concept, a better way to guide students to get to know themselves better as performers and actors. Being involved in TAT has taught me to create classes with high expectations but also to keep the work fun, relaxed and exciting. I love watching students surprise themselves.
CTC: Describe one of the most rewarding experiences you have had as a teaching artist at CTC.
TK: During the summer of 2013 I taught a week long class where we adapted a novel into a short play. We used mime and other physical theatre techniques to create the play. The students took so many risks and created something really exciting. They were shocked to not use props and set pieces and came to really embrace making a play using only their bodies, voices and imaginations.