I am inspired to create and produce theatre by just about anything having to do with the human journey—the mundane dealings of everyday life to the lofty ideals of the classics are grist for the mill. I especially delight in bringing unheard voices to the table and firmly believe that theatre is one of the best and most enduring vehicles we have for moving people to action. I have been accused of being a romantic—and I probably am. After a lifetime of what sometimes feels like treading water, I still believe that ART can change the world! I started my career at the age of 8 in a local children’s company, but came to understand the real power of theatre when I saw The Blood Knot by Athol Fugard at Syracuse Stage when I was in high school. That’s the kind of experience I want all of my audiences to have—of any age or background.
There was never much chance that I would choose another field. I was the kid who corralled my friends into putting on plays in the garage; if there was a class option, I created a theatrical piece (most memorably staging King Arthur in 8th grade, getting to use the auditorium and making all the costumes and a sound design!). I did, however, major in Theatre and Film, and while I loved both, at the time I graduated from college the discrimination against women directors in film was open and unapologetic. In my youthful idealism I thought theatre would be “easier.”
The only other career I ever considered was archeology so it’s not surprising that I feel most like myself in a room with fellow artists digging into the text as if it were the Rosetta Stone, and making what feels in the moment like life-altering discoveries. Lest all this sounds too grand and high-falutin’, I will admit that I am a voracious reader of thrillers and detective stories and I could watch old movies for hours on end—in fact, I once did so for 3 days straight!
Melody Brooks Founder and artistic director of New Perspectives Theatre Company, which has for 20 years been developing and producing new plays by women and artists of color, offering new looks at the classics, and using the tools of theatre to enrich the lives of young people and communities in need.