We’re highlighting the incredible teaching artists who contribute their skills, energy, and enthusiasm to Court’s Education Initiative. These artists have a wealth of experience in both education and theatre, and we feel honored to partner with them for our Artists-in-the-Schools program. In this post, we’re featuring Teaching Artist Jamaque Newberry!
When did you know you wanted to work in theatre? At what age did that become clear?
I was contemplating going back to school for acting for years, but I knew I wanted to do theatre around the age of 26 after I watched Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway. His commitment to storytelling made it clear acting was the next step in my journey.
Was there a teacher, teaching artist, or mentor that helped you find your love of theatre? Tell us about them and how their guidance still helps you today.
It has to be Travis Kiger. He was my high school speech coach, and he’s the true definition of an artist in my eyes. He taught me how to be a performer, developed my love for language, and instilled my love of the creation process. I take most of the lessons learned from him into my own lectures; I still use his method of dissecting monologues in my curriculum. His passion for teaching is a big reason I felt I could step into a classroom after college. If I can provide the same patience, passion, and dedication he gave me as a student, then I know I’m on the right path as an educator and artist.
Why did you want to become a teaching artist?
Becoming a teaching artist allowed me to continue doing my two passions – teaching and learning – simultaneously. I’m a big believer that the best teachers are the best learners. Students have so many perspectives, and they deepen my understanding of my own artistry.
What’s your favorite thing about being a TA at Court, specifically?
My favorite thing about TA’ing at Court would be the family we’ve created in the Education Department. It’s nice to be around fellow artists and educators with similar passions that we showcase in our own unique ways. We all just mesh, and the support we provide for each other is unmatched!
What play, or character from a play, best describes you?
James in Por’knockers by Lynn Nottage.
Jamaque Newberry (he/him) is an educator and actor from Fort Lauderdale. Before receiving his MFA in Acting at Northern Illinois University, he taught various subjects, such as film production, creative writing, and acting techniques on the 6th-12th grade level. He was also the Assistant Director of Forensics for a nationally renowned Speech and Debate program. Since transitioning to acting, he has worked on educational programming at theatres across the city. He now lives in Chicago to deepen his love for education and performance for generations to come.