Alexa Wynschenk ‘14
What are you currently doing for work and what was the path you took to get here?
I am currently in my 5th year of teaching Middle school theatre. I studied theatre and English teaching at UNH. I became passionate about verbatim, ensemble based and social justice theatre. I gained a lot from taking Directing courses with David Kaye and directing alongside Deb Kinghorn. Being a middle school theatre teacher involved directing multiple productions a year and really challenging the students to understand acting. I also direct and act with community theatres in Denver, which is so fun! After working with incredible people like David Kaye, David Richman, Deb Kinghorn, Aimee Blesing and Raina Ames, I wanted to pursue more focused applied theatre. I ended up getting my Masters at University of London: Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
How did your education in COLA prepare you for life after college?
Now, I utilize many of the aspects of theatre I learned from UNH in my current teaching practices. I still connect with those professors to ask advice about curriculum and teaching. The professors of that theatre department really changed my life, and all of them truly invested in me. I’m also focused on social justice theatre in regards to marginalized groups telling their story. In an English course at UNH, I learned about the femicide in Juarez, Mexico and was able to work with an art major and a music major to create an original piece for the UNH undergraduate research conference.
What person or course most influenced you while at UNH?
I would again mention the following people: David Kaye, David Richman, Deb Kinghorn, Raina Ames, Aimee Blesing, and Stephanie Patrick-Chalfant. They all invested so much time and energy in encouraging me to challenge myself and take risks. They always wanted me to go on adventures and always said YES, and! As silly as that sounds, they really did say “Yes” to any opportunity I asked about with them. David Richman allowed me to stage manage for him, Deb let me assistant direct with her, Raina met with me for countless office hours, Aimee looked through grad programs with me, Stephanie let me be costume technical assistant for the Dance Company Concert, and David Kaye was my theatre advisor for my UNH undergraduate research conference. Even though they all are directors, partners, some are parents and grandparents, professors, etc.... they still find time for every student that will work hard.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known while at UNH?
Take classes that aren’t in your major. Meet people in your classes and get to know them sooner. Don’t just sit there silently, feeling alone. You’re all in this together! STUDY ABROAD if you can!!
What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
Educational theatre is extremely imperative right now. Providing a safe space for young people to creatively explore and voice their thoughts is a priority right now.