Suzanne Maguire: Acting Coach, Director and Educator – Theatre People
By Mitch Stark
Hello TheatrePeople! This week I’m so happy to introduce you to a ‘jack of all trades’ in the world of theatrical performance, Suzanne Maguire. Suzanne is an actor, director, acting coach, and educator, and is also on the Washington State Board of Thespians. She teaches theatre across the nation, working with actors of all ‘ages and stages,’ as she puts it.
I hope you love her interview as much as I did!
Suzanne Maguire, owner and coach of SpokaneActing and theatre director and teacher.
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
Anatomy of Gray is the type of show that inspires me. Any play (or musical) that can be produced with minimal or simple, creative tech elements focused on characters in a story meant to make us really think, is what inspires me at every level. As an audience member, I appreciate material that subtly presents a challenging theme through interesting characters and a powerful story. As a director/actor, I’m inspired when the focus is on how the actors tell the story more than a show that requires extensive tech elements.
What’s one of your happiest moments in theatre?
A trip to NYC in 2016 and a totally unexpected opportunity to tour backstage of Hamilton prior to seeing the show the next day—was probably one of my happiest moments. (if a four day trip can be a “moment”)
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
When I was in high school, our director worked hard to try and involve the school star athletes in our large musicals. We were doing Oliver! and she’d cast a few of the popular football players in small parts. At the end, the guys playing the officer who is supposed to shoot Bill Sykes came on and his prop gun did not shoot the blank. He paused with a shocked look on his face, murmured a choice word and then, very loudly shouted “Bang! Bang!” It drew huge laughs from the audience but the cast hung in there…barely.
Why do you love theatre?
I love theatre because it is about relationships. The relationships built within the cast members, production teams, crews and creatives are different than other art forms. The fact that everyone involved also has a relationship with each distinct audience is unique and is why live theatre is so powerful.
Theatre is for…
Not only does theatre build relationships, but educational theatre specifically builds talent, applicable life-skills, confidence, and opportunities for self-discovery.
More about Suzanne
Suzanne is an actor, director, educator and acting coach with over 35 years of theatre experience. Working with actors of all ages and stages, her focus is on the value of applicable skills developed through theatre arts. She is on the state board of WA State Thespians and is a member of the Educational Theatre Association as a teaching artist. Suzanne holds a Theatre Arts endorsement in the state of WA and is Associate Director of Lewis & Clark High School’s Tiger Drama department.
Specializing in practical application of techniques like LMA (Laban Movement Analysis), Suzanne seeks to find each actor’s next best step to achieve their goals. Suzanne has developed and teaches workshops at the local, state and national level on topics ranging from audition prep, cold reading skills, Laban basics, and acting for musical theatre.
Of special interest to current high school students, Suzanne Maguire is also trained as a college and career readiness specialist and has worked with students through the application, audition and financial aid process.
Suzanne is a proud member of Teaching Artist Alliance.