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Catching Up with Emma Lou Andrews

How did you first learn about SPTC?

I first learned about Still Point Theatre Collective through my former theatre history professor, Jessie Glover, at Otterbein University in Westerville Ohio. She had seen the internship application posted on facebook and reposted it to her page

. My friend pointed it out to me, as it was the perfect opportunity to merge my love for theatre and social justice, as well as community engagement. After I applied for the internship, I met with Executive Director Lisa Wagner-Carollo and former Managing Director Clearie McCarthy for an interview. I loved hearing about Lisa’s passion for issues of social justice, and how she had moved away from a more traditional path of becoming an actor in order to focus on work that directly impacted people’s lives.

  • What programs/projects do you participate in? What is your role?

My official role in the company is Associate Director. I work with Carmen Romero on our projects in Chicago. I am responsible for grant writing, stage managing for the Grace House program, and facilitating for the Imagination Workshop and the Persephone Project. I started at Still Point as the fall intern in 2021, and became Associate Director in June 2022.

Once I started the internship, my first big project was co-facilitating the Imagination Workshop with Stephanie Browning. I had so much fun working with adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, as I had never worked with that population before. Additionally, I enjoyed figuring out ways to bring their ideas to life, engage their creativity, and showcase each of their unique personalities in class and in the final show. Their show was entitled Lost Party, and it was one of the most fun and inventive shows I’ve ever seen! That was definitely one of the highlights of my time so far at Still Point.

  • What is something you hope participants/attendees take away from interacting with SPTC?

A common thread of all our work is joy. The majority of participants we work with want opportunities to express what makes them happy, the things they find beautiful in life, and what makes them laugh. Beyond that, I hope that participants are able to find independence and agency through telling their stories, and that they leave class with more confidence. As far as attendees, I hope that they develop a deeper knowledge of social justice issues and the marginalized populations these issues affect. I hope they also walk away from our events with actionable steps to make changes in their community.

  • In working with SPTC, what is something you enjoy most/take away from your experiences?

I enjoy meeting people I would never have the opportunity to meet otherwise. Because our programming takes place in prisons, retirement communities and recreational and living facilities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, our participants are hidden from society (to differing degrees). I’m glad that Still Point’s mission includes the need to further integrate these people into society through public performances and events. I personally have loved seeing their talent and creativity firsthand!

  • Do you feel SPTC impacts the community?

I know firsthand that Still Point does have an impact on communities. Individuals remember shows we did 15 years ago, and frequently reflect on them years later. Participants that we worked with in previous years are overjoyed to see us return to start a new class. Being new to the organization, it was evident to me early on that Still Point is beloved by a wide web of people all over the world. That is why we are called a “collective”, because we are constantly changing based on the new artists that come our way.

  • Is there a topic you hope to see SPTC tackle in the future?

I would love to see programming surrounding affordable housing. When you are moving around frequently and your home is never permanent, creating a sense of community and keeping records of what it’s like to live somewhere at a certain point in time is important. We have a lot of programs going on right now so it may be difficult to embark on this anytime soon, but I believe it would definitely be a good topic for us to explore.

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