Stefanie Harris is the director of The Jester And The Dragon, and one fourth of the artistic team behind WalkUpArts. We asked her a couple questions to get to know her better.
What's your favorite part of working on a new show?
The people I work with are always my favorite part of working on any show. When I'm directing, I'm really precious about the very beginning of the rehearsal process, when everyone is still feeling each other out. I love hearing everyone's initial reactions to the material and learning what of themselves they are ready to bring to the table. I believe deeply in the power of ensemble, so the first few days of having the team in the room together and witnessing the building of that chemistry is really exciting for me.
When has art helped you overcome something in your life?
I'd say every day but that feels a little dramatic.
The summer after I graduated from college, I was working on two new pieces of theater that I deeply loved. That transitional period of time may otherwise have felt daunting, but having opportunities to use my artistic voice both as a performer and as a director was really liberating, and provided me with structure and momentum that continues to propel me forward.
What are some what-ifs you're following or hope to follow soon?
WalkUpArts is an on-going what-if that I am following and will continue to follow.
I am also dedicating some time to refocusing my attention on acting, so I'm pursuing additional training and hoping to explore new avenues therein.
What other artists inspire you?
My WUA collaborators - Audrey Frischman, Philip Santos Schaffer, and Matt Engle - each for individual reasons, but collectively because they work so incredibly hard and they are all thinkers.
My friend Jordan Chlapecka of Linked Dance Theatre because he has an impeccable eye for style, and I always find his work to be original and heartfelt.
Also: Maggie Nelson, Sarah Ruhl, Ursula Le Guin, Cicely Berry, Marin Ireland, Robert Icke, Steve McQueen (film director), Mogwai, Tigran Hamasyan, and Peter Gabriel are all people who I will likely never meet but whose work has really moved me and/or I find myself referring to constantly.
What projects do you have coming up next?
Small Plays for Giants is currently my sole artistic pursuit from now through July.
Stefanie Harris is an actor/director living in New York City. The basis of her education - and first love in theater - was in classical texts. She receives a BFA in theater performance from Hofstra University and as a supplement to her education spent a summer studying Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She has previously performed with the Living Theatre and has been a member of the WalkUpArts artistic team since 2015. Hobbies include: making soups. Aspirations include: quitting her day jobs.
Tickets are now on sale for The Jester And The Dragon!