Victory Award: Meet Curio Theatre Teaching Artist Tessa Kuhn | Theatre Philadelphia
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Victory Award: Meet Curio Theatre Teaching Artist Tessa Kuhn

Mar 15, 2018

The Victory Foundation Award for Outstanding Theatre Education Program recognizes the diverse, rich, and impactful education programs in the Philadelphia theatre community, and seeks to put arts education and the future of the field front and center. Generously funded by the Victory Foundation, this special Barrymore Award includes a $7,500 cash prize for the recipient.​ Applications are open for the Victory Theatre Education Award from now until April 8th

In 2017, Curio Theatre Company was the recipient of the Victory Theatre Education Award. The award allowed Curiositeens, Curio's resident teen company, to purchase production rights for the Curiositeen's Spring Showcase: Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, and helped students explore stylized British comedy and broad characterization. The award gave Curio the ability to provide mentorship time to students, and bring in other Philadelphia theatre professionals to work with students on design and production elements of a play.

Meet Tessa Kuhn, a teaching artist at Curio Theatre Company:

Why did you get involved with teaching theatre?

I grew up in theatre and took classes at Curio as soon as they started. I took various workshops, an advanced teen acting class, and participated in summer camp. All of these classes were a huge part of my life and the reason I studied theatre in university. As soon as I was old enough to intern with Curio’s summer camp I did, and I have taught here ever since. 

Tell us about some of your recent classes you’ve been involved with at Curio.

I studied Devised Theatre in university and wanted to bring that into my classes. Kids are incredibly imaginative; all the material you need to build a play is right there in their heads. So I have been teaching Build-a-Play classes. The students created one play called “Murder at the Circus” and another called “The Adventures of Purple Cat”. Both were original scripts that we created together and both were very funny.

What is unique about Curio Theatre School?

I think it is everyone’s ability to work as an ensemble. The teachers and students alike. We are all collaborators, and we mirror Curio’s professional company’s artistic philosophy of ensemble based theatre-making.  

What has been your most memorable experience working with aspiring theatre artists?

That’s a hard question, but strangely enough what comes to mind is when a student decided they wanted to be a banana in one of our summer camp showcases. Watching that student commit to their choice and create a well-developed character was both hilarious and impressive. 

What is special about being a teaching artist in Philadelphia? 

Being a teaching artist in Philadelphia gives me the opportunity to teach in all different types of environments. I teach with Curio’s theatre school and summer camp, but I also teach with ASAP Drama in two other Philly schools and it doesn’t matter where in Philadelphia I am, the students are all amazing. 

If there’s one piece of advice you’ve offered that you hope your students take, what would it be? 

Have fun. I try to encourage all of my students to embrace who they are and what they love so that they can enjoy themselves. I hope that whether they end up in theatre or engineering they remember to have fun, because my job is teaching them and I leave every class I have with them in an awesome mood. 

Apply for the Victory Theatre Education Award: http://www.theatrephiladelphia.org/barrymore-awards/victory-theatre-education-award