Kathleen Switzer

Theatre Artist

Time in Greater OC: 47+ Years

Neighborhood: Fullerton

Hometown: Placentia

What are you currently working on?

I am currently directing my high school's production of Our Town (to occur in May 2021) and two online productions, a quarantine version of The Addam's Family musical, and a radio play version of The 39 Steps also for my high school.

What's been inspiring you recently?

I have been inspired by the ways so many artists are finding to still create art. And lately, the slow return to live in-person performances has been keeping me motivated!

Tell us a story from your childhood that illuminates who you are as an artist.

When I was in elementary school, I used to team up with one of my neighbor friends to create various businesses...we had a pizza company, a circus, and also did various performances. While I didn't actually become involved in theatre until I was in high school, my love of building something from nothing clearly started at a young age, as evidenced by our entrepreneurial adventures.

Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

My biggest influence when it comes to theatre was my high school theatre teacher, Gai Jones, who welcomed me into her program and made me feel valued and important. She believed in me even when I didn't always believe in myself and that is the reason I am a high school theatre teacher today. My students are also heroes to me. Watching them choose to be vulnerable on a daily basis is inspiring.

What kind of theatre excites you?

I love ensemble-based plays. I love shows that incorporate unique staging techniques and lean heavily into "theatricality." Shows that find a way to incorporate other kinds of performance (live music, dance, etc.) are exciting for me not only to watch but to produce.

Outside of a theatre, what's your favorite hot spot in Orange County?
I'm happiest outside...so I would probably say Craig Park since I find myself there a lot.

What's the craziest thing you have ever needed to do for theatre?

I don't really feel like I have had to do anything too crazy. I guess, when I was inducted into my high school thespian troupe, I had to go into a random tie store in the mall and deliver a random monologue to one of the employees...that was probably the craziest thing I ever had to do.

What surprises you the most about your role in the theatre community?

I still find myself surprised that I have a theatrical home with Alchemy Theatre Company and that I was repeatedly welcomed on to the stage at Stages. As a high school theatre teacher, my time to perform is so limited, since I'm always directing my own kids, so finding companies that were willing to work with my nutty schedule, and repeatedly ask me back was a lovely thing.

What advice do you have for theatre artists just starting out in Orange County?

I would say audition everywhere and let the directors make the casting decisions regarding whether or not you are right for a role - don't take yourself out of the equation before you even audition. You never know what anyone is looking for, and even if you have conflicts with the rehearsal schedule, it is always worth it to audition.

Go ahead, promote your things...

You can stay up to date on all the goings-on in the El Dorado high school theatre department at www.edhstheatre.org or on Facebook (El Dorado High School Theatre Department).

Kathleen Switzer