Wolfe to be new CHS drama teacher
by Courtney Warren
Jun 14, 2014 | 2623 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After being without a drama teacher and still performing "The Wizard of Oz," Cleveland High School now has an instructor for the upcoming school year.

Wolfe recently graduated with a master's degree in art education and recently student teaches 4k-sixth grade art as an art intern at Hayes Cooper Center, which is how she became involved with the Cleveland School District.

Wolfe said she started teaching by accident.

While living in North Carolina and working as an actress she was asked to help teach a children's workshop.

"It was the best time ever. I continued working and doing workshops but then I started getting more teaching gigs than acting and I really got sucked in," said Wolfe.

Wolfe said she loves teaching because her students remind her that the magic of theatre is still out there.

"I fell in love with their happy faces. For them theatre is still magical and new and sometimes we forget that. Working with children brought the magic back and you can't help but be excited and happy. It's always new and fresh with kids and when I'm teaching it's like they keep that feeling alive that I had lost along the way. You get to watch them learn and grow but more importantly you get to watch their minds expand. It's the most unique experience," she said.

Wolfe said that being in theatre helped her make last friendships.

"The people I love most I met through theatre. My very best friend and I met when doing a Narnia performance. I was a singing, tap-dancing reindeer and she was a unicorn. You can embrace that silliness and not worry about how you look," she said.

Wolfe also said she was excited when she heard that the students at CHS performed The Wizard of Oz despite having no drama class to attend and no official teacher.

"I was so impressed. That shows real dedication and let's me know these kids really want to do something," she said.

Wolfe described a time where she knew she loved teaching by telling the story of the auction at Hayes Cooper's presentation of Alice In Wonderland.

"There is an auction right before the show and the money raised goes to the program and without it there wouldn't be a program. The kids know this and so before the show they were leaning with their ears up to the curtain and as the bids went higher and higher they got more excited. Devon was standing there and turns to be with the most intense look on his face and said, 'I just wanna be an actor!' It was so sincere and passionate and I wanted to just open the curtains and say, 'see this right here? This is why we do what we do,'" she said.

Wolfe said it's that deep-seeded passion that makes her love theatre.

"I love visual arts and have a great time doing it but my heart is in theatre. I don't know where I would be as a human being without it," she said.

Wolfe said she has a lot of plans and ideas for the drama program at CHS and intends to have students perform several times throughout the year.

"They haven't done a straight play (nonmusical) in a long time and I want to bring that back. They've also never done competitive theatre. Competitive theatre is an amazing experience and it’s a partnership with colleges and high schools. These competitions take place at colleges and some offer scholarships with awards. This allows the actors to be seen by the directors of these colleges. I had a friend get almost a full ride to Millsaps on one of those scholarships and it's also and excellent opportunity for the kids to meet other theatre people and show them they aren't alone. There are workshops such as method acting, scene studies, and how to read a script. But the most difficult part is at the end of your performance everyone immediately comes out, sits on the edge of the stage, and you're critiqued by the judges in front of the audience," she said.

Wolfe added this was a great opportunity for the actors because they are hearing from the perspective of someone who knows this art as a craft rather than just an audience member.

"You see a different take and you're always growing. This also allows you to learn to accept criticism gracefully because you can't throw a fit on stage. It's not a personal attack but how to improve. If you can't take corrective criticism you should probably be an accountant," said Wolfe with a smile.

Wolfe will be teaching several regular theatre classes.

"We will look at theatre as an art form and study the history of theatre, which is also very important and part of the art. We'll learn the rules and etiquette of theatre and the jobs of costume designer, stage manager, and lighting design and that these aren't just titles given but what each job means," she said.

A straight play is planned for the fall as well as a reader's theatre showcase, and a big musical is planned for the spring.

"Everyone in the class will perform at some point because you really can't grasp it until you do it. The kids are begging to perform Annie but they'll have to convince me during the fall semester that that's what musical they should perform," she said.

“Cleveland High School has an outstanding theatre tradition dating back to the 1920s. We are excited about Miss Wolfe becoming a member of our team and part of that tradition. She has a wealth of stage knowledge and experience, and I am confident that she will help our theatre department reach new heights," said CHS principal Steven Craddock.

Wolfe will begin teaching in August and has already begun studying textbooks and preparing for the grand performance—becoming a high school teacher.