Spotlight: Kristin Rose Kelly

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On Facebook and here on the SITI Company blog, SITI has been spotlighting alumni of our many training programs. Today, we have the great pleasure of spotlighting Kristin Rose Kelly, who first trained with SITI Company in Saratoga Springs in 2015. Kristin is currently working towards her MFA in Directing and Public Dialogue at Virginia Tech. She is a queer and feminist director interested in comedy and musical theatre as a subversive tool and strengthening and supporting queer and feminist artist and community voices. Kristin is the 2015 recipient of the SETC Ballew Directing Award. She has previously worked with Irondale Ensemble Project, Queering Education Research Institute, SPARK Movement, Creative Arts Team, Dance Exchange, Ping Chong & Company, and Brooklyn Acting Lab. She was kind enough to answer some questions for us!

1. When did you first train with SITI?

Summer of 2015 at Skidmore

2. What are you most excited that you’re doing or working on right now?

I am working on writing and directing a docu-musical about women in engineering, A Chip On Her Shoulder. The play premiered at Virginia Tech (VT) this spring with verbatim interviews from VT’s community about the field of Engineering and how gender and other identity markers affect Engineers and the culture of the field and workplace. I am currently interviewing new participants from the Roanoke, Virginia area to be featured in a revised version of the show at Virginia Western Community College. The show will be a hybrid of old and new interviews! I am very excited and hope to continue the conversation in other communities!

3. What is the most important thing you learned from SITI?

Intentional and informed writing on stage with the voice and body. I am very aware as a director of all the ways actors might unintentionally write information on stage, like loud breaths or heavy feet which can crowd the storytelling. And learning this at SITI Company was not cerebral! This came out of the hard work of Suzuki training and recognizing in myself all the ways I can lose focus and begin to write unintentionally. On the other side of that, I also love catching subtle intentional writing an actor is working on and being able to build it up with them into something awesome!

4. What in your creative life are you proudest of?

I am most proud of showing up to trainings like SITI’s. Each time I commit to working with and learning from a company, I am very nervous and the nerves come from knowing I will grow and change. Showing up to trainings, putting myself out there, collaborating, asking questions, making a ton of mistakes, dedicating time to new artistic practices, and examining myself as an artist and human pushes me to the next version of myself and keeps me artistically hungry and hopeful.

5. Tell us about a piece of art that has recently inspired you.

This summer I had the pleasure of attending Dance Exchange’s Summer Institute and was an audience member to Liz Lerman’s repertoire. Thomas Dwyer and Matthew Cumbie performed a Journey duet that Liz originally developed as a solo. Thomas, an elderly member of the company, took on the piece as a solo for quite some time and now performs it as a duet with Matthew, the Associate Artistic Director. They shared the piece in the middle of a workshop where we were exploring a time when the ‘who’ mattered. The dance featured gesture, individual and shared text, and partnering. The narrative was about becoming and knowing one’s self. Watching a young and old man take on this story while thinking about a time when the ‘who’ mattered struck me. There are simple lines I will never forget, “I am not you.” and “I took responsibility for my own history.”

Keep up with our blog to read and learn about more SITI Alumni and what they’re up to by following SITI’s blogs at siti.org/blog. If there’s an alum you want an update on, email us at alumniupdates@siti.org!