An interview between KJ and Forum’s Marketing & PR Manager Emily Wilson
Emily: Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? How did you find yourself in the theatre?
KJ: I grew up in Mishawaka, IN, which is right next to South Bend. No, I’m not a fan of the Notre Dame, but I am a huge Indianapolis Colts fan. My husband and I have been together for 6 years and married for 2 years. I am super close with my family and my husband’s family. We are definitely lucky that our families get along and actually enjoy being with each other! My husband and I live in Northeast DC with our fur baby, Hunny, who is our everything!
For my education, I attended Ball State University where I received a Bachelor’s in Theatre. I graduated in May from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master’s degree in Arts Management. One of the coolest things about my time at CMU was that I was able to spend a semester in Bologna, Italy. My Italian is not so good but I met some great people, saw some amazing art, and ate some amazing food. My time in Italy and at CMU really influenced my view on how art is a right and it belongs to the community.
I started doing theater with my mom and sister when I was just a wee one. It was something fun for the three of us to do do together. Our first show was A Christmas Carol. I did a lot of community theater and directed shows at one of the local middle schools during High School.
E: You have been working in the DC theatre community for a while now--what is it about the scene that excites you so much?
KJ: I have to say it's the people. When I moved to DC from Indiana, I knew no one. All of my friends moved to Chicago, LA or NYC. My family still lived in Indiana. From my first show, the theater community was very welcoming and supportive. The support of one another is what really allows the art to thrive in the area.
E: What is one performance (in or outside of DC) that has really influenced the way you look at the role art plays in our community?
KJ: Many of the influences that have shaped my view on the role of arts in the community have been people and experiences more so than performances. Graduate school played a big role in influencing how I look at the connection between art and the community, particularly my semester in Bologna, Italy. The conversations centered around art being a right, not a privilege. It is very important that art and culture are preserved and play an integral role in not only the development of a community but in the lives of the citizens.
The group of people that have influenced me the most would be the actors and the team at Art Stream. My work with Art Stream really showed how art and performing can play an integral role in our lives. It was an amazing experience.
E: What is your proudest accomplishment of your career thus far?
KJ: The teams I have worked with have had moments of success and moments of learning that have helped the shaped how things move forward. Through the combination of those two things, if the art can happen and people have access to the art, then that is the biggest accomplishment.
E: What is it that drew you to Forum Theatre specifically?
KJ: #TeamForum. The team at Forum is an amazing dedicated group of people who are dedicated to creating accessible and inclusive theatre. Forum actively works to create open dialogue around big topics and to make sure that anyone who wants to be a part of the discussion, can and is apart of the discussion. Forum makes theatre a right, not a privilege.
E: Do you have any advice for recent undergrads hoping to break into the theatre world?
KJ: Put down the smartphone and read a book. I’m only half joking. Disconnect from technology for a bit. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you just stop and reflect.
E: And probably the most important question...what is your spirit animal (wild or domesticated) and why?
KJ: Llamas. Llamas are magical.
Emily Wilson, Marketing & PR Manager
A Jersey girl at heart, Emily graduated from the University of Maryland in 2013 with a BA in Theatre and English. She has spent the past 5 years working in Marketing and Development for DC theatres including Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Imagination Stage. She lives by the mantra "pic or it didn't happen" and wants you to go like the Forum Facebook page right now (www.facebook.com/forumtheatre.dc). She has strong feelings against balloons and eating cereal with milk. @emywils