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    Meet the Teaching Artist - Kathleen Moye

    Posted Sunday April 22 2018 at 10:05 pm.
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    Kathleen Moye in the classroom with students

    Hi!  I am a teaching artist with a flair for the dramatic.  Each lesson encourages improvisation and teaches skills for bringing original characters to life on stage, and storytelling.  Theater education helps people gain confidence and freedom of expression in their communication and creative abilities to share their story.  And I believe everyone has a story.

    Early Inspiration

    As a child, my dad tried desperately to get me to love going fishing with him, but what I loved best were his "Big Fish" stories.  Family dinners were like private performances, watching him spin family legends out of everyday happenings.  I practiced his flair, regaling my friends on the playground with stories of simple adventures about getting ready for school or making cookies.  The topic wasn't important; it was about the action of sharing and entertaining.  Fast forward a few years, and I was singing in choirs and starring in school plays (annoyingly memorizing everyone's lines and cueing them onstage when they got stuck).  The "acting bug" bit me early, and it may be one of the reasons I'm so passionate about designing and directing creative theater programs for children and teens.

    After getting my degree in Theatre from Florida Gulf Coast University, I worked in professional theaters, voiceover acting, and radio journalism.  For 10 years, I told the stories of the companies and nonprofits where I worked, building a career in public relations and marketing by day and creating larger than life comedic and dramatic characters on stage by night.

    A New Purpose

    My life direction in 2013 changed to using dramatic arts to change the world when I got the opportunity to work as a teaching artist.  With VSA Florida, I brought the stage to students with developmental challenges, showed adolescent girls empowering ways to communicate their emotions, and offered an outlet for creative expression for teenagers in juvenile detention.  I served rural communities through the United Arts Council of Collier County, offering after-school and summer programs in drama where it otherwise did not exist.  In 2017, I directed a social justice production, "Body and Sold" by Boston playwright Deborah Lake Fortson, telling the stories of human trafficking survivors.  By watching actors rediscover the art of play and find an outlet for their imaginations, I also saw them build confidence in public speaking and strengthen social relationships and emotional understanding and resilience.  I made the career move (and a life move from Southwest Florida to Boston) to focus on this work full time. Through my masters program in Drama Therapy through Lesley University, I study how drama tools are also applied in psychosocial counseling with even more types of life challenges from developmental disabilities to trauma-informed care.

    The magic of theater creates memorable illusions and personal experiences for audiences and participants.  In creating a character, we peer through another person's eyes and consider how they might react, we role play social interactions we might have seen or even lived ourselves.  Through the safety of the dramatic play space, we get to try on ideas and emotions that may be much different from our own.  In this way, dramatic art gives us a glimpse of roles and ideas that help shape our identity and hone our sensitivity toward others.  I teach with masks, scarves, set design, sound effects, music, visual art, play writing, body movement, voice, and facial expression to help bring it all to life for my students.

    Students wearing masks they made

    Current Work

    In my work with VSA Massachusetts, I'm specializing in arts integration, serving a three-month residency with teens at Worcester Recovery Center.  I believe that students learn best when they are engaged in their experience and following their curiosity.  For those students who learn by doing, drama gets them on their feet.  Moving around as another character or spontaneously responding in a drama game, we create new ways of interacting and expressing abstract ideas we passively read about in traditional academic settings.  Drama helps develop their courage, sense of personal expression, connections with others, and consideration of alternative points of view.

    I encourage students to proudly show their personality and find confidence on stage and in life.  We talk about ways they can use drama skills beyond our sessions.  Working with teenagers in particular is a whirlwind of emotion and energy where I encourage them to try new things, to embrace and channel their own feelings and experiences into making their characters more real, and to connect more authentically with others by being themselves.

    I consider teachers my partners, and I am inspired by their openness and their all-around care for their students.  I believe that any academic subject can be integrated with dramatic components (even Math!), and I offer concrete ideas of how to do that.  Site coordinators share how students grow through our work together, and teachers feel empowered to start using drama tools to enhance their lessons.

    Kathleen Moye


    Kathleen Moye recently moved to the Boston area after serving the Southwest Florida creative scene since 1999.  There, she was a professional comedic actor and VSA Florida teaching artist, designing and directing arts integration and after school theater programs for special needs students in preschool through high school.  Since moving to Boston, Kathleen volunteers at Girls, Inc. of Lynn as a mentor for middle school students and tutors elementary through middle school students with Tutoring Plus of Cambridge as she pursues graduate studies in Drama Therapy at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She holds a B.A. in Theatre and post-grad study in Psychology at Florida Gulf Coast University.  She's also a voice over actress, producing commercials for TV and radio from her home studio.  On that "stage", her dog Bailey is an aspiring costar, and Kathleen's first acting student, judging by her recording outtakes.

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