We are proud to introduce the Next Leading Lady for March 2020 : Jaclyn Hofmann Faircloth
Atlanta has a strong and growing creative economy. Everyday, we meet women who are on the ground working to break down barriers, build community, inspire, inform, and entertain the people of Atlanta through the arts.
For National Women’s History Month in March, C4 Atlanta will be curating a Leading Lady blog series celebrating the women in the creative economy of Greater Atlanta. Over the last several weeks, we have asked the public to nominate women in the creative sector who inspire and have positively impacted the Atlanta community through their contributions.
Where do you work and what do you do?
I am an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Georgia Gwinnett College, and I freelance as a Director around town.
When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
When I was in Elementary School my Mom enrolled us in dance classes. The truth is I was in soccer before that and I was TERRIBLE. So. We tried a different direction. 🙂 The arts were a better fit — dance brought me to cheerleading and then to theatre. I’ve been acting since middle school and teaching/directing since college.
What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
An actress and a teacher…. I remember I used to sketch out ground plans in my diary of what my own “acting studio” would look like. (Yes, I have always been that nerdy lol)
If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
MICHELLE OBAMA… and also, if her Mom, Mrs. Robinson wanted to come, that would be fine too. Honestly, I’d just like to listen to them talk. I love Michelle’s voice. And also, everything she has ever said. Ever. And anytime she tells stories about her Mom in her book, I think “Goals”.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
I don’t think there is any one person. My parents, of course. They have always cheered me on, and taught me a good moral code. I still hear my Mom in my head “treat others as you wish to be treated.” on a daily basis.
Teaching wise: Debi Jordan, my undergrad professor, and Rob Roznowski from grad school. They are such passionate teachers, they inspired my deep love and belief in arts education.
And in ATL Theatre: Anthony Rodgriguez, Ann-Carol Pence, Jeff Watkins, Justin Anderson, and so many others have inspired and taught me along the way.
Finally, my husband: Nick Faircloth. He is one of the most talented artists I know. And he is also one of the kindest, funniest, most incredible people on the planet. So, he is my sounding board and guiding light on a regular basis.
How is art a passion for you?
I have seen how art changes people for the better. From the child in the audience who realizes dreams can come true, to the adult patron learning to see things from another perspective. Anyone who participates in theatre (in any capacity) is practicing empathy on a regular basis. As I tell my theatre appreciation students “it literally makes us better people.”
When teaching, I see my students become more confident before my eyes. I see them realize that their imagination is alive and well. I watch them grow over a semester. And when I’m really lucky, I get to see them transform over four years. I happen to teach the kindest, most joyful students in the world. I cannot take credit for any of that. But because they are so open, their growth is exponential.
It’d be hard not to be passionate about something that produces so many positive outcomes.
What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I think it’s a work in progress. There seems to be a recognition that we don’t have as many women in leadership roles as man (as many female playwrights, directors, artistic directors, etc). And I have seen some theatre companies working towards remedying the discrepancy. I don’t believe we are there yet. But I am glad it’s a conversation, and I’m glad to see movement in the right direction.
What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
I love the community itself. Whenever I talk to a friend about moving to ATL, the first thing I tell them is “it’s a genuinely kind theatre community.” People support and love each other. The best example I can think of is happening right now. In the face of a Pandemic there is a group called “Atlanta Artist Emergency Relief Volunteers”. Artists taking care of artists in any way they can. We have all lost work. I don’t know anyone in the industry who didn’t lose *at least* one gig if not many more. But the thought at the forefront of everyone’s brain seems to be “how can we help each other”, “what can I do to make this less painful for someone else”, “how do I show support and lift up those around me”… it’s quite beautiful. And during an otherwise difficult time, it reminds me every day how lucky I am to be here.
Also, THE WORK. We have incredible talent here in ATL. And incredible theatre companies of all shapes and sizes, doing work that blows me away. So, once we are able to open up shop again, that is the other thing I tell people: the work will not disappoint.
What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
The major contribution I hope to make in the ATL arts community is to introduce the amazing young artists I get to work with. They are our future, and the future is bright.
Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
My students theatre club: @ggcbearlyactors — I’m so proud of them!!! There are two things you will hear me brag about: my kids and my students.
Also, if you can donate to https://www.gofundme.com/f/atlartsrelief and/or any of the amazing professional theatres here in ATL!!!
Photo 1: HS by Chris Bartelski
Photo 2: A production of LOVES, LABOURS, LOST I directed at The Shakespeare Tavern taken by Jeffrey Watkins
Photo 3: My Students and I at SETC (selfie by Myles Isreal)