Kayla Diaz: Theatre Director – Theatre People
By Mitch Stark
Hello, everyone! This week on TheatrePeople I am excited to introduce you to Colorado native and 8-year theatre teacher, Kayla Diaz.
I met Kayla when I was first starting Theatre Avenue in Colorado, and already she was ‘the person to talk to’ when it came to highly imaginative school theatre. I hope you enjoy this interview with Kayla as much as I did. Cheers everyone and have a lovely start to your new week!
Kayla Diaz, theatre director in Parker, Colorado
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
Although I have never seen it in person, In the Heights is one of my favorite musicals to listen to all the way through. The finale holds so much passion, discovery, and commitment to your home and your community. It gives me goosebumps every time and makes me want to positively impact my own community.
What’s one of your happiest moments in theatre?
In my third year of teaching, I took on the massive endeavor of The Lion King Jr. This was definitely the biggest show that I did in my five years at that school, and the one that I personally spent the most time making props and costumes and set pieces for. The community involved in that production felt like the entire school, and the absolute magic that we were able to create in that middle school commons was such a theatre high for me.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
We recently produced Cinderella at Ponderosa (high school in Parker, Colorado) with an adorable cottage set piece that moved on and off stage. Our stepmother played her part with vigor. So much so, that when she entered the cottage and slammed the door behind her, the door wedged in too far and became stuck. One at a time, our actors discover this. Jean-Michele cannot open the door, struggles, and goes around. Gabrielle, having not seen this, also tries and fails, leaving through the wings. Lastly, our stepmother tries to open the door, pulling off the doorknob entirely. Gives an in-character frustrated growl and stomps into the wings. The audience was just tickled.
Why do you love theatre?
To me, theatre is the ultimate connector. It connects us as a company while we create, discover, and work hard. It connects us with the audience as we share emotions and experiences with them. And it connects us to the world, asking questions and telling stories that enrich our lives and open our eyes. Teaching theatre allows me to constantly share that simultaneous joy and heartbreak with students who are all the better human beings for it.
Theatre is for…
Regardless of a person’s lifelong commitment as a theatre practitioner or patron, involvement with theatre at any level for any amount of time creates and enhances community. It bonds us, it helps us grow, it creates shared experiences, and it gives so many of us (especially teenagers) a place to belong.
More about Kayla
Kayla Diaz teaches theatre at Ponderosa High School in Parker, CO. She is a Colorado native and has been teaching theatre for 8 years. Kayla has a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Northern Colorado, with emphasis in Acting and Theatre Education. She enjoys traveling, breweries, and camping with her husband and two dogs.