Chris Freeman: Theatre Teacher and Play Maker – Theatre People
By Mitch Stark
This week I feel so honored to introduce you to my good friend and community theatre aficionado, Chris Freeman. Chris is a former theatre teacher from Georgia and now leads a team of passionate play makers in Knoxville, Tennessee. Hope you enjoy Chris’s theatrical musings this week as much as I did.
Chris Freeman, community theatre director and teacher
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
Well, I’ll start by saying I’m partial to musicals—it’s hard to not walk away humming the tunes. But give me a show that has an expansive set and a hard working ensemble and I’m set. From In the Heights to Les Mis, they all give me life! I love nothing more than walking away from a show saying “This is why I do Theatre!”
What’s one of your happiest moments in theatre?
I wear many hats, and each hat is happy at different moments. As a teacher, it’s when my students are proud of their work. As an audience member, it’s when I forget I’m watching a performance. As an actor, it’s when things finally come together. As a manager, it’s when the finances line up.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
So many things might go wrong that most audience members (hopefully) never realize. However, my favorite moment has to be when a prop falls off the stage and an audience member politely hands it back to the actors.
Why do you love theatre?
Theatre is a space where we have a chance to see, up close and personal, stories that have shaped, or intend to shape, our society. Stories are an ancient thing, but also a new thing. They are our past and our future, and there is no better place where we can combine all the intricacies of visual art, the interpretability of movement, the inception of music, and the intimacy of emotion in order to share those stories.
Theatre is for…
Every chance we get to do theatre is a chance to inspire someone. We might as well use that, right?
More about Chris:
Chris has been around theatre his entire life. As the son of a theatre teacher, he was in his first play at age 12 and has been professionally acting, designing, directing, managing and teaching theatre ever since then. A certified theatre teacher, Chris found his passion for Theatre for Young Audiences in college (Columbus State University), and that passion brought him to Lexington Children’s Theatre, Omaha Theatre Company for Young People, and Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre. From 2016-2019, he taught drama to grades PreK through 5 at Vineville Academy of the Arts in Macon, Georgia, and also created an after school drama program that performed fully produced musicals on a yearly basis. He is a continued invited guest artist at the Georgia Junior Thespian Conference and with Theatre Macon. Chris is currently serving as the General Manager at Flying Anvil Theatre.