July 24, 2018
2018 Institute: Meet the Players: Taylor St. John
This summer we traveled to the other side of the country to make a new play called, The Cardinal with and about the people of Queens New York, the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. The production is part of Cornerstone’s Institute Summer Residency, which has brought together thirteen participants (“the players”) from across the United States and Canada to live, learn, and create together. In one month’s time, and working alongside Cornerstone staff, Ensemble and community members, these creative souls are learning Cornerstone’s process for creating community-engaged theater. By participating in classes, workshops, and taking part in every aspect of the play-making process from casting, auditions, rehearsals, costume/design build, and acting. This blog series is an opportunity for you to “Meet the Players”!
Taylor St. John AKA Associate #4/Puppeteer
A little about Taylor
“I am a current M.F.A. Directing Candidate at The University of Memphis. Prior to returning to grad school, I was based in Kansas City, MO where I taught theatre and worked as a freelance actor and director developing new plays. My work explores the questions: How can we create experiences and events that could only happen through the medium of theatre? How can art be a vehicle for creating community and seeking justice for voices not always given a seat at the table? I love working with young people, devising original work, and entering worlds not available to me in my every day life. Currently, I live in Memphis, TN with my fiancé Mary, dog Opie, and cat Olive.”
What inspired you to join Cornerstone’s Institute Summer Residency this year?
“I think now, perhaps more than ever in my lifetime, the world needs bridges between disagreement and communities of difference. I think Cornerstone has been bringing people together and sharing stories for a long time and I wanted to get into the mix and see how their process related and differed from my own.”
What has been your favorite moment thus far?
“My favorite moment occurred at the Flushing Town hall story circle. Watching the artful facilitation of those stories and hearing from the residents was truly powerful.”
What do you hope to learn from your experience this summer?
“How to incorporate the thirty-plus years of wisdom in doing this messy and wonderful work into my own practices as a facilitator, educator, and theatre-maker. There is so much wisdom here about embracing the community and all the challenges required along the way to create exceptional artistry that is with and by communities.”
Complete this sentence. Queens is….
“A true melting pot.”
Why do you think people should come and see the play?
“Like Queens itself, this play is a celebration and exploration of how communities made up of so many unique individuals co-exist. Also, the shadow puppets!”
The Cardinal performs August 10 & 11th. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets today!