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Community Spotlight: Kristen Statt

By Ginny Butsch posted 03-14-2017 11:23


The Bird Girls in a performance of Seussical Jr. at Lakota East.


One of the main goals for our Theatre Education Community is to help theatre students and professionals from all over connect and identify with each other in order to build resources and support the theatre education field. We shine a spotlight on a different member every other week by conducting a simple interview.


Our latest Spotlight Member is Kristen Statt, the drama teacher and troupe director at Lakota East High School in Liberty Township, Ohio. Kristen is an experienced educator who always seems to know just the right resource or advice to help other Community members. Like many of you, she is in the midst of her spring show, Into the Woods, which opens this Friday (March 17). If you’re in the area, check it out!


Ginny: What kind of training/education did it take to get you to the job you have today?


Kristen: I got a BS in English/Theatre/Secondary Education at the University of Dayton. Basically, I had three majors. I had the dean of the English department and the dean of the Theatre department at the time helping me to work everything out, and I was so grateful for their support!


Ginny: Why do you believe theatre is important?


Kristen: Theatre can give so many different skills and opportunities to so many different kinds of students. Involvement in theatre not only provides an artistic outlet for many students, but it provides an opportunity for calculated risk-taking, a hands-on class in the middle of an academically driven day, and a social home for students who are trying to find their niche in the world.

 A Wrinkle in Time.


Ginny: What inspired you to become a teacher?


Kristen: Like many teachers, I grew up in a family where my mom was a teacher, my family respected educators, and I had fantastic teachers in high school that modeled what teaching could and should be like.


Ginny: What advice do you have for new theatre teachers?


Kristen: Build. Don’t expect everything to happen overnight. I know that is frustrating advice when you are starting out and have so many great ideas! But, in time, you can build systems and support. Parents and teachers have talents they can share with you, students grow up and become professionals in the business and can offer their expertise, local colleges may want to partner with you on projects. As long as you aren’t afraid to ask for help and seek out opportunities (like we encourage our students to), so many cool things that you could never imagine will come your way!

 Seussical Jr.


Ginny: Have you found a way to achieve a good work/life balance? If so, share your tips!


Kristen: Yes. It’s called, “send your children off to college!” When they were little, I brought big-wheels to Sunday night rehearsals in the gymnatorium. You do what you have to do. As a result, both of my children love everything about the theatre, so I guess it worked out.


Ginny: What was the first play you ever saw?


Kristen: I don’t know if it was the first play I saw, but it’s the one that sticks out in my early-childhood memories—when I was very young, I saw Yul Brynner touring as the king in The King and I. He was iconic for a reason. Even though he was dying when I saw him, his performance was captivating. I’ve since seen the show again, and even played in the pit for it once, but seeing it with Yul Brynner was amazing.


Ginny: What is your “dream” show? The one that you would love to direct at your school if there weren’t any obstacles?


Kristen: I tell my boss that if I knew I was on my way out, we’d do Rent. I think I’m just in the right demographic to love that show! It would never fly in the relatively conservative area where I live and work, but in my head, it’s still a fun idea!

Students rehearsing at Lakota East.


Ginny: What was the most difficult element of a production you’ve ever had to manage?


Kristen: When we did A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, we had three two-story buildings on stage and entrances and exits galore for the 10-minute chase scene at the end. It was a perfect storm—a cast of boys with the perfect energy and sense of comic timing for the show—which made it super-scary to manage in rehearsal. They pulled it off beautifully every show, but I practically held my breath every time they did it!


Ginny: What is unique about your theatre program?


Kristen: I love our program! I’m on year 10 in my current position, and there are a couple of really cool things we do. First of all, our Theater Arts class began as a Special Ed fine arts option. Now it is a fully integrated class where special ed and regular ed kids (many of whom would NEVER consider themselves “theater kids”) work side by side on the backstage mechanics of the three shows we produce.


The second cool thing is that in the fall, we do a completely student-produced children’s musical. Upper-classmen who want to explore their options in theatre and vocal music careers take on all of the traditionally adult roles in the production. The three adults on my core team act as active mentors throughout the process, but everything from design to rehearsals is completely student-run. Sometimes it is hard to keep our noses out of what is going on, but the students say the experience is extremely valuable.


Ginny: Name something on your bucket list.


Kristen: I really want to travel more. Specifically, I’d like to see Hawaii and Greece.


Ginny: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of theatre?


Kristen: I play French horn in a community symphony, with some of my music teacher friends, and I also enjoy yoga classes, and the community that comes with my studio.


Ginny: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?


Kristen: I fell in love with the western coast of Italy, on a trip to Europe years ago. It really is as pretty as a postcard there; the Mediterranean is an unbelievable blue. The town of Santa Margherita is a small town, with houses in the hills overlooking the sea, and a harbor with beaches and restaurants and shops. Plus, the access to different countries in Europe is so different than here. Based on my experiences to far, I would love to live there!


If you enjoyed Kristen’s interview as much as I did, add her as a contact in the Community, visit her theater website, or follow Lakota East Theatre on Twitter @LEHS_Theater.


Do you know someone who deserves a moment in the Spotlight? Tell me their name and why at Want to read more Community Spotlights? You can find them here.