The Georgetown Palace Theatre recently announced the appointment of advanced doctoral student Kristen Rogers as their new Director of Education. When Rogers left Lubbock for Austin in the summer of 2015, course work finished and working on her dissertation, she started to check out theatres in the area. Georgetown Palace Theatre and their mission was one that particularly caught her eye.
"The genuine connection to the surrounding community is incredible," says Rogers. "I'd been trying to find a way to connect with them for a while. Finally, this last year I was able to direct The Secret Garden: Spring Edition. The young people in the cast blew me away with their talent and dedication. I knew then that I wanted to develop a long-term relationship with the Palace." Earlier this year, Palace Theatre's Executive Artistic Director Ron Watson reached out to Rogers to let her know that the Director of Education position had opened up.
Rogers jumped at the opportunity.
"The education programs at GPT have grown exponentially over the past few years, under the adept guidance of my predecessor," says Rogers. "This coming spring, we will be moving into a brand new 14,000+ square foot performing arts center built specifically for the GPT Education Department. It's completely thrilling and totally unheard of. My hope is that we will be able to continue to build on the success of the programs that are already working so well, while also developing some innovative, forward-looking education and performance opportunities for the larger community."
In addition to her work as an educator, Rogers is also an accomplished director who has frequently collaborated with Texas Tech alumnus Jaston Williams. Rogers believes that this type of work has had a great impact on her as an artist: "Working quickly and communicating efficiently to make sure shows run smoothly has given me great experience in functioning as both artist and administrator," says Rogers. "I've been able to develop new working relationships and networks, and I've learned the value of being able to problem-solve and find smart solutions on the spot."
Rogers credits the training she received with the Texas Tech University School of Theatre and Dance for allowing her to grow into a well-rounded artist.
"There is so much going on at TTU all the time," exclaims Rogers. "During my time there, I was able to act, to direct, to teach a variety of courses, to lead workshops, to research, to travel to conferences, to publish, to collaborate and create with other programs, and so much more. I was able to take advantage of an incredible variety of experiences as an artist, a practitioner, a scholar, an administrator, an educator. And I could not be more grateful! I think I have been able to continue to pursue lots of different kinds of opportunities out in the 'real world' because of the sheer number and variety of learning experiences I had at TTU."
Always the educator, Rogers offered a parting piece of advice for current students of Texas Tech University.
"You're in charge of your life," said Rogers. "This experience is going to change you in drastic ways. That is inevitable.
But you get to decide how."