The Department of Drama welcomed alumna, Vickie Washington, 1975, Speech and Drama, as a guest director for ‘Speech and Debate,’ this year’s initial offering for the TWU Theatre. Ms. Washington is a respected stage director in the North Texas region as well as a faculty member at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. This production marks her debut as a director at the Redbud Theater Complex at TWU.
The TWU students enjoyed the energetic and enthusiastic style with which Vickie approached the production. ‘Speech and Debate’ is a bit of a dark comedy that requires a special touch. When asked how she would approach the material Vickie replied “With joy, openness and determination. We are going to have a ball!” The play ran through the first two weekends in October.
TWU Alumni Connection was curious to learn what made her want to come back to TWU to direct this production. “I got asked! Seriously, I had the good fortune to have Rhonda Gorman (TWU faculty) costume a production of ‘Fences’ that I directed. She invited me to the campus to see a production of ‘Cherry Orchard.’ I loved it, I was nostalgic, and I’m thrilled to be invited back to direct.”
Here is a bit of Q and A that we had with Vickie regarding her time at TWU:
TWU Alumni Connection: What brought you to TWU for your education?
Vickie: My plan was to become a social worker and save the world! I only wanted to attend one school, Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. I applied there and to one other school, Washington University; got accepted to both. I thought my work was done! Then I found out we needed money! Soooo, when it became evident I wasn’t gong to Ohio, my cousin, a graduate of TWU encouraged me to apply and a love affair began!
TWU Alumni Connection: When you attended in the ’70s, the original Redbud Theatre was in use. What do you remember about working in that space?
Vickie: Joy, fun… long hours… television studio… funky dressing rooms… house full of excited children for the Children’s Theatre performances…being very afraid of that tall ladder… standing onstage during rehearsal and watching and hearing the main drape literally split and fall apart from dry rot… creating great theatre with talented, committed, silly, brilliant, hardworking young women AND being so thankful I lived just a stone’s throw away in Stark Hall!!
TWU Alumni Connection: What productions do you remember working on while at TWU?
Vickie: Beatrice in ‘The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds;’ The Duchess in ‘Alice in Wonderland;’ The Genie in ‘Aladdin’ (gold from head to toe, than you very much!); Catherine in ‘The Grass Harp’ and others. As a member of the department I worked on every show in one capacity or the other.
TWU Alumni Connection: How did your time at TWU prepare you for your career in the theatre? What successes do you think it helped you achieve?
Vickie: As a member of the Drama Department, I had the privilege of learning every aspect of theatre thus understanding the interconnectedness and the equal value of each component. I also learned what I was better at and, conversely, what was not a strong area for me. Studying the craft of theatre at a woman’s university, I learned that as a woman, everything was open to me; that has been a VERY important lesson as I have traversed my way in the world of theatre.
TWU Alumni Connection: What do you enjoy most about your work at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas?
Vickie: The energy of the students; their willingness to explore. Working with seasoned theatre professionals and theatre educators, who value theatre and also enjoy sharing the gift and the knowledge of theatre with young people. I love the work that we create. It’s a pretty amazing department!
Thank you Vickie for coming home to TWU to direct! TWU wishes you all the best.