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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Ms. Southwick enters stage left

Ms. Southwick at home in the Black Box.

By Alok Ganguly, Hannah Jacobson and Sam Jackson
Staff Writers

Andrea Southwick, a new teacher at WA, is involved with the theatre arts program. She teaches Intro to Stage, Public Speaking and Acting.

Q: What made you want to work at WA?

A: Mr. Towers. He has created an amazing theatre program over a number of years. I’ve known about this theatre program for a long time. I’ve known Mr. Towers through the greater theatre community; he also did his graduate work at Boston University at the same time that I was doing my graduate work there, so we were in some classes together. He let me know that this opening was here, and I was very excited about it, because he has created a theatre arts program here that is very rare, in most high schools, so I was really eager to be a part of it.

Q: What do you like so far about WA?

A: You know what I love about it? It’s how welcoming and positive and supportive not only the faculty are, but the students are. I’m actually really surprised that I walk through the halls and I am constantly hearing ‘Hi Ms. Southwick!’ and I’m still getting people’s names down so I’m really quite impressed by that and I feel very welcomed.

Q: Is there anything that you don’t like about WA so far?

A: That’s a hard one to say. Maybe that lunch is so fast. We have such a short amount of time for lunch.

Q: Do you have any goals for the students in your classes?

A: I have a lot of goals. Because I teach three very distinctive courses, I’m not teaching the same class to everybody. I have different goals for each class. For the intro to stage class, my main goal is to help people fall in love with theatre, and help them realize that theatre can apply to anything that they want to do in their lives. For my public speaking class, the goal is to help people to feel much more confident at getting up in front of people and speaking, and also to actually enjoy it. For the acting class, my goal is to open up a whole world of acting technique to actors.

Q: Of those three classes, do you have one you which you enjoy teaching the most?

A: Well I have a particular fondness for the acting class, because I’m a theatre person, and because the people who are taking the acting class already have a certain amount of background, so they come into it ready to sort of leap off into a bunch of different directions, so I just have fun in that class.

Q: Do you have any personal goals for yourself?

A: For me, because I come from a background of either working professionally at the theatre or teaching at the college level, the things that I’m really interested in here are working with kids of all interests, all levels, all aptitudes and finding those ways of integrating what I do into what’s going to be helpful for them. That’s my greater goal, working here in a place where that’s done all the time, where I’m watching my colleagues do that on a daily basis.

Q: How does where you have worked before compare to WA?

A: In terms of high school, I’ve done some work at Acton-Boxborough High School, but it’s really been from the outside. I’ve come in and taught workshops, done some summer stuff, directed plays, but I haven’t been working within the school. I’ve worked for years with kids through summer camp programs. But primarily, I work in university settings. So really I’m finding that teaching is all the same, and for many years ran my own studio, for theatre arts for adults, so I was working with people who were just out of high school, all the way to people in their eighties. Working here, I’m finding that I have a lot of freedom to do a lot of creative work, and there are also problems with working within a set structure that we have for high school kids.

Q: Do you haveĀ anything else you would like to share?

A: Even though theatre was my primary focus, I grew up on a farm, and I know how to milk a cow. It is actually on my resume! As an actor you have a one page resume, and at the bottom there is a section that says special skills, and I always put “milking a cow”, because it would get a conversation started.

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