Teresa is an actor, writer, director and arts educator who mentors students and teachers nationwide in understanding Shakespeare’s works, building confidence through performance skills and improving literacy. She completed her Masters in English in 2015, currently lectures in Theatre Studies and Shakespeare and is a resident artist at Bell Shakespeare.
What has your Fellowship enabled you to do, explore, or gain that you wouldn’t have otherwise?
Time and space for creativity, new writing, brainstorming and reinventing is well known to be a rare and precious commodity in the arts community. Most of the time we are chasing our tales completing current tasks on tight budgets, and are rarely allow to explore without some commercial pressure. Often artists will either compromise their work or go out on an independent limb and work for free. Even large successful theatre companies are usually limited to employing people in roles that are functional and commercially essential. This fellowship has given me the time to create, write and imagine new possibilities. The Bell Shakespeare education department reaches around 80,000 students nationally every year. Our program is vast and demanding and we have never had the time or resources to stop and look at our materials to ensure they are current, challenging and suitable to students of all abilities. After all these years this fellowship is finally making this possible.
What impact has your Fellowship had on your ability to lead in the 21st century?
First and foremost this fellowship has allowed me to better lead our national team of Arts Educators and provide them with the tools required to connect with students of varied ages and social and cultural backgrounds. However, it goes beyond this. It’s about leading through thinking beyond what has always ‘been done’ in education. This fellowship has afforded me the space to create new concepts and strategies to reach Australian youth in 2018. To navigate new ways to ensure classic and complicated language texts aren’t reduced or forgotten, and are made accessible and relatable to them. Most of all, to make sure all Australian students feel they deserve such an education, one that is usually reserved for metropolitan private schools. I want to lead the way by empowering young people to reach beyond their own worlds and the limitations that have been placed on what they think they can achieve.
How do you imagine your Fellowship will impact on your personal and professional growth in the next chapter of your life?
Not only do I now feel like I can make a solid and long lasting contribution to education in Australia with my current work, but I’m now starting to think bigger and further into the future. The fellowship provides a wider scope to imagine larger programs, reaching more communities and with more digital innovation. The more I travel around Australia to remote communities and meet isolated youth the more I’m faced with systemic social issues, apathy and a general lack of hope or opportunity. Our country is vast and varied and these issues often seem insurmountable. What I have been granted is the opportunity to think beyond our current limited reach, to imagine new ways to share our approach, which in turn has had a long lasting effect on how I view the potential and possibilities of our industry.