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Stephen Wiseley

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is theatre, and theatre is teaching. From infancy we learn through play, and it's no coincidence that the word "play" is synonymous with theatre. It is upon the empathy, enthusiasm, and positivity inherent in play that I have based my pedagogy.

Art creates empathy. When you see a painting or hear a song it makes you feel something. Inevitably that leads to the question "what was the artist feeling when they created this?" All art creates this empathy but when you see live theatre, the empathy response is more intense and more immediate than with any other art form. Not only is the viewer affected, but also the performer. By the connection with the character they are playing, the other performers on stage, and the audience the practitioner is also forever changed.

A successful educator exhibits enthusiasm and uses it to connect with their students the same way a performer connects with an audience. When a performer or a teacher successfully get's their audience's buy-in, all involved feed off of each other's energy and this enthusiasm feeds on itself, creating an environment in which learning thrives.

The empathy and enthusiasm I have mentioned will only go so far however, if not coupled with a positive attitude. If a career in theatre has taught me anything, it's the power of positivity. When something goes wrong, I have seen time and time again how things fall in place behind a positive attitude, and how easily they fall apart the moment negativity is allowed to take hold. This is equally true in teaching. No one approach or practice will work in all situations so positivity and adaptability keep the enthusiasm and momentum of a class moving.

I have devoted my professional career to supporting this art form because I know the importance of empathy in the world. I hold these convictions so strongly that I seek out opportunities to share them with young and aspiring practitioners. As satisfying as I find creating successful theatre, it is doubly satisfying when I can instill my enthusiasm for this art in others.

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