Please help us welcome three new staff members who joined our team this fall! Alexandra, Stephanie, and Carlos are amazing additions to the PYP fam! Learn more about them below, and you'll see why!
Who are you? Where are you from? What brought you to Philly?
Alexandra: My name is Alexandra, I go by Zandra, Z is my favorite letter and it is too often underused. I grew up in Baltimore, have lived all over the world, and have made Philadelphia home after finishing my graduate degree in theatre at Villanova.
Stephanie: Hiii! I'm Stephanie Kyung-Sun Walters! HeyWhat'supHello! I'm from North Wales, PA (north of the city on the R5 - remember the R5? those were the good ol' days, when Jefferson Station was Market East). I'm first-gen Korean American on my mom's side and American as apple pie, white-picket fence on my dad's side. I lived in Lewisburg, PA as an undergrad at Bucknell University. I've also lived in New York City, London, and Edinburgh, but of all the places I've lived, Philly is my most favorite. I moved here in 2011 and began my career as an actor. Since then, I have fallen into the world of playwriting and teaching.
Carlos: My name is Carlos Roa, and I'm proud Miami transplant! I've been in Philadelphia for about six years now, and what brought me to this city was my exposure to the theatre scene. After watching productions mounted by Pig Iron and The Wilma Theater, I was so blown away by the experience that I knew that this was where I had to be. Philadelphia is a fantastic city for an artist who wants to produce their own work.
WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING AT PYP?
Stephanie: I am the Special Projects Fellow which means I'm working with the Colored Girls Museum on a residency called Performing Identities. Performing Identities is a application-based program for young women of color at the intersection of research and performance. Through this program I will also be leading and mentoring four PYP teaching artists to achieve their teaching goals (#goalgetter). I'm also a facilitator for the Resident Playwrights, an application-based cohort of emerging playwrights who meet monthly to write and revise a play. With Resident Playwrights, I will be co-creating curriculum with Brittany Brewer and generally making money moves with young artists. And I run around to local schools teaching playwriting for core program residencies while generating new curriculum for PYP and our TAs, as a whole. Cash in me in the office, how bout dat?
Carlos: I will be serving as the Education Programs Fellow, where I'll be helping out with programming at PYP, working as an Assistant Teaching Artist in schools throughout Philadelphia, and translating PYP's handouts and worksheets into Spanish for our ESL students! And of course, you'll definitely see me participating in our New Voices Festival and the Mouthful Monologue Festival!
Alexandra: As a Resident TA I will be working mainly on the Episcopal Community Services after school program. I'll be teaching students ranging in age from kindergarten to 8th grade, developing a curriculum that focuses on social emotional learning, and mentoring other Has in the program. I'm also really looking forward to getting involved in other PYP programs.
WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF CREATIVE ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Carlos: "Nobody is coming to save you." This is the hardest reality that an artist has to face, and I'm so glad that this book taught me that in a gentle and palatable fashion. I taught myself to produce, market my own work, and put together an artistic team for a Fringe show I wanted to make, and I grew so much because of the experience. And yes, there were moments where it was messy and stress-inducing, but it meant that I still have room to develop my own producing skills.
Alexandra: The best creative advice I've ever gotten was that you have to be willing to fail.
Stephanie: 1) "You are enough" had a pretty big impact on me. Growing up, I never felt like I was enough anything. When it came to my identity or my art, I always felt like I was trying to keep up (with the Kardashians). I had a teacher in New York named Erin Ortman, who probably wouldn't remember be if her life depended on it, but I remember working on a scene from Diana Son's Stop, Kiss...which, LET ME BREAK DOWN HOW IMPORTANT THIS WAS FOR ME: Korean American playwright from Philadelphia, off-Broadway play starring Korean(-Canadian) Sandra Oh....WHHATTTT?! Anyway, I'm rehearsing the scene, and I'm working. I mean, I'm working HARD. Erin stops me and says, "Stephanie, you don't have to work so hard. You are enough." Boom. Game changer. I'm enough. And you are too.
2) "Take your vitamins" - my mom
This one is pretty easy, but also easily overlooked. You're a TA, right? You're going into schools, right? Schools with a bunch of kids. You know what those kids are doing? MAKING GERMS. They are germ factories. So you, TA, are going into a building with hundreds of FACTORIES of germs. TAKE YO' VITAMINS (but eat something first).