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Faculty Friday: Lizanne Wilson, Middle School Drama

Faculty Friday Friday, 03 Mar 2023

For Faculty Friday this week, we’re introducing Lizanne Wilson, Roycemore’s Middle School Drama Teacher.

Lizanne is a teaching artist and creates a classroom culture built on mutual respect, collaboration, and teaching students to take their work and themselves seriously.

In Lizanne’s classroom, you won’t find students sitting and being lectured. Instead, they’re on their feet blocking scenes, writing scripts, and playing group games. Lizanne's hands-on approach to learning theatre is made possible because of her trust in students. Drama class is a place with room for everyone, and Lizanne uses the tools of theatremaking to help her students learn essential social-emotional skills, problem-solve, and resolve conflicts. Art and justice intertwine in her curriculum, and students contend with real-world issues in the work they produce.  

Lizanne’s journey with teaching drama began with coaching speech at her high school alma mater and working with students in afterschool programs. After beginning graduate school, she taught performance to business majors and was eventually hired by the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Company. There, she served as Director of the Apprentice Program, creating programs for early-career theatremakers to gain professional experience. After moving to Chicago, she spent over 24 years in Chicagoland independent schools before moving to Roycemore to design the Middle School drama program. During all of this, she was working as a freelance actor in both Minneapolis and Chicago and has appeared in shows at the Lyric Opera, Drury Lane Theatre, and the Organic Theatre.

In Lizanne’s own words, “Teaching is what finishes the circle of my work,” which is why it’s always been such an essential part of her artistic practice. Her primary goal as a teacher is to empower students to find their voice. In her class, students learn that they have everything they need to tell a story inside them. Through processes like devising (where instead of starting with a script, students create scenes through improvisation, asking questions, and dramaturgical research), Lizanne asks students to consider what stories are important to them. 

When she’s not in the classroom or theater, Lizanne enjoys spending time with her family. She’s a yoga practitioner and loves to read (Beloved by Toni Morrison is an all-time favorite), bake, and cook.

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