We are pleased to introduce another 2011 Directors Salon Panelist, Director Tamilla Woodard! Check out our Q&A with Tamilla below and see her speak at the Director Panel on Tuesday, April 12th.
In May/June 2011, Tamilla Woodard will be directing Polanski Polanski by Saviana Stanescu at Teatrul Odeon and the Sibiu International Theater Festival in Romania and The SoloNova Festival in New York City. In October 2011, she will be directing Nightlands by Sylvan Oswald at HERE for New Georges.
Q: What kind of work inspires you?
A: I’m inspired– turned on by impossibility. I love work that pushes the envelope of what can exist in a theatrical space. I don’t just mean physical boundaries but also what can be the dialogue between performer and audience. Sometimes the impossibility is just in the amount of time we have in which to create. For Overcoming Speechlessness we had 10 days of rehearsal. Lordy… but what a magnificent ride with amazing collaborators who through themselves into it…and that is only the beginning.
Q: What was the most difficult part about being an emerging director?
A: Finding the resources to support my big ideas! That still hasn’t changed.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in the early stages of your career?
A: Opportunity to practice the craft, time to develop a way of working. Also, my training was as an actor in both undergrad and grad school. My training was wonderful but sometimes limited my freedom to interpret as a director because I was so very faithful to the text. That very old drama school training adage ” if it’s not on the page, it shouldn’t be on the stage” took a long time to overcome. I feel much more empowered as an interpreter of the text now, mainly due to the enormous influence of my international collaborators. I have GREAT respect for the playwright and now feel much more confident in my role as an artist “in response” to another.
Q: What kind of advice would you give young directors?
A: The Team is everything. Work with people whose work you really admire, who astound you and inspire you even if you think they are way out of your league. Think of yourself, not as the boss, but as the facilitator of a collaborative process. My job is to get 100% out of every talented individual in the room. When that happens it makes for a pretty spectacular result.
Tamilla Woodard will be speaking at our Director Panel on Tuesday, April 12th at 7pm at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row!
UPCOMING: in May/June 2011 Polanski Polanski by Saviana Stanescu at Teatrul Odeon and the Sibiu International Theater Festival in Romania and The SoloNova Festival in New York City: in October 2011 Nightlands by Sylvan Oswald at HERE for New Georges; In April 2012 The Hotel Project, an Internationalists collaboration with Seres Comunes and Sabandijas de Palacio, in Mexico City. RECENT: the development and direction of Overcoming Speechlessness, an adaptation of Alice Walker’s essay for Culture Project’s Women Center Stage and two solo shows: Polanski Polanski starring Grant Neale and Broke Wide Open staring Rock WILK. In addition, Micia Mosely’s Where my Girls At? at The Hip Hop Theatre Festival in Washington DC and NYC. Last summer, as part of the Internationalists’ residency at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, she devised in collaboration with Playwright Kisha Takina Burgos, circus artists Sarah Gregory and composer Shawn Randell OH De Sea! a bilingual riff on Homer’s ODYSSEY. She has directed at HERE, The Actors Theatre of Louisville, PS122, DR 2, The Culture Project, Urban Stages, Dance Theatre Workshop, The Kitchen Theatre, The Lark Play development Center, Manhattan Class Company and for festivals around the US and internationally.
Her work has won best of festival awards, audience favorite awards, Top 10 Shows to See citations, New York Innovative Theatre nominations and critical acclaim in The New York Times, Variety and others. New Dramatists has honored her with The Charles Bowden Award and The League of Professional Theatre Women with the Josephine Abady Award.Tamilla is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, alumnus of The Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Women’s Project leadership council and on the Board of Directors for TerraNOVA Collective.
She is a founding member of The Internationalists – a collective of directors from around the world creating an interactive global theatrical community, co-founder of Launch, a theatrical venture that develops the work of phenomenal solo artists and an adjunct professor teaching solo performance at City College’s Center for Worker Education. More at www.tamilla.com