Katie Cross: Theatre Teacher and Director – Theatre People
By Mitch Stark
This week, I’m excited to introduce you to Katie Cross, the theatre director at Mayde Creek High in Houston, Texas. I met Katie at a summer conference in west Texas, where she and another one of our TheatrePeople, K’Lynn Childress, shined bright with their love for life, education and the pursuit of new plays to bring fun and inspiration to their students. Enjoy Katie’s interview!
Katie Cross, theatre director and teacher in Houston, Texas.
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
I saw Guards at the Taj by Ravik Joseph at Steppenwolf Theatre and to this day was one of the most powerful stories and impactful sensory theatre experiences I’ve ever encountered. I remember I was seated next to an older gentleman and throughout the show—the entire time we were experiencing these intense emotions and at the end of the show, we actually looked at one another and thanked each other for sitting next to the other one.
What’s one of your happiest moments in theatre?
I was directing In the Heights and on the last performance the choir director came up and grabbed me from the booth and said, “Hey, we gotta go backstage.” I thought something was wrong so we went backstage and the curtain call was beginning. Then all of a sudden, he is leading me onstage! He then told me to take it all in and I was standing behind my cast while they were presenting their last bow as a company. That was one of the most special moments in my directing career.
Little did I know that he also snapped a pic of that moment.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
Oof … where to begin?! I think the biggest goof that I can recall is watching a show and an actor came out with no prop and pantomimed the prop the entire scene.
Why do you love theatre?
I feel so grateful that I found and fell in love with theatre at such a young age and that I have made a successful career out of this art form. There are so many days where I have to remind myself how blessed I am to be surrounded by something I love so very much and I get to instill that love and passion in young people.
Theatre is for…
Every piece of theatre is designed to teach the audience something. Whether it is to learn love, how to support your community, fight for what you believe in, perspective, history—the list goes on and on, you can walk away learning something new that you carry for the rest of your life.
More About Katie
Ms. Cross was born and raised in College Station, TX. She began performing in community theatre when she was seven years old. She attended Blinn College on a performance scholarship for theatre. She graduated from Blinn with an associate degree in theatre and realized that her call was to share her love of performing, directing and teaching theatre to students. She transferred to Texas State University and graduated in 2011 with a BFA Degree in Theatre Education.
Ms. Cross has also served as the Coordinator for Dorm and Student Life for the Texas State University Summer High School Theatre Camp from 2011-2016. She graduated in May 2019 with her Master’s Degree in Theatre Directing from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She joined Mayde Creek High School in 2019 as the head theatre director and is excited for the 20-21 School year.