Katie Speed

Theatre Educator and Teaching Artist

An online portfolio for Katie Speed, a theatre teacher currently working in the Boston area.

All material, unless otherwise stated, copyright 2018 by Katie Speed.

About Me

My journey as a theatre artist began in middle school, where I performed in my first musical, How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. I continued to foster this passion in high school and began writing and directing, becoming the first student in ten years to direct an original piece of work in the Festival of Student-Directed One Acts. My play Self Conclusion eventually was chosen in college to be showcased in a Festival of Student Plays.

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Undergraduate Work

       I received a BA in Theatre Education with an Acting Emphasis from Emerson College in 2012. This degree allowed me to finely hone my craft as a performer and director through intensive training in voice and text, movement, scene study, ensemble, and stage combat while simultaneously delving into the world of education. While at Emerson, I served as a Resident Assistant in the Paramount Dorm for two years. Through summer courses and previous credits, I was able to graduate a year ahead of schedule and begin my pursuit of my masters degree.

Postgraduate Work

       From there, I moved to London to pursue my MA in Applied Theatre (Drama in the Community and Drama Education) at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. The program had a large placement component, and it was there that I had my first individual and team teaching experiences. I received a Distinction for my thesis (which can be found under “CSSD Dissertation” in the menu), and I graduated from the program in December 2013.

      After completing my student teaching at Wellesley High School in Wellesley, MA, I moved to western Massachusetts to begin my work as a Teaching Fellow in Theater at Deerfield Academy. The Teaching Fellow position also afforded me the opportunity to pursue a second post-graduate degree, this time an MS in Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. I completed this degree in May 2016, and the link to the complete final portfolio, for which I received an A, can be found here.

Teaching Achievements

     Since moving home to the United States, I have grown a lot as an educator. My time at Wellesley High School, although short, was invaluable experience to give me the confidence to eventually move on to running my own classroom.  In addition to serving as the Assistant Director on the winter musical, Legally Blonde, I directed the freshman-sophomore spring play, Museum by Tina Howe. 

      At Deerfield Academy, under the mentorship of Mrs. Catriona Hynds, Director of Theater, I was given free reign to design and teach my own classes. In my first year, I re-designed and taught Acting II, a multi-level course that allowed students new to the craft to learn the basics of theatre while simultaneously challenging the more experienced students through devised theatre, script analysis, improvisation, scene study, and more. The spring term of my first year saw the creation of an entirely new course, "Speak the Speech," which focused on helping students develop skills to tackle Shakespeare with confidence and gusto. In my first year, I also served as the Assistant Director on Blood Wedding and Leading Ladies, directed by Mrs. Hynds, and directed the spring production of Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses.

    My second year at Deerfield Academy was split between researching for my inquiry project for the Penn program, continuing to teach Acting II, and expanding the Speak the Speech course to a two-term course that added intense, focused study of a single text (Shakespeare's Othello) in the second term.  After assistant directing The Children's Hour in the fall, I co-directed Deerfield's first musical production in three years, Cabaret. This production was a complex collaboration between the theater, music, and dance programs at Deerfield, and it was a smashing success, destroying all previous box office records. I finished my Deerfield career by creating a new senior elective course on improv, entitled "Making Stuff Up," and directing the spring production. The production was a festival of comedic one-acts called "Words, Words, (and More) Words," referring to the title of the David Ives piece that opened the production.

     In the Fall of 2016, I began teaching at UP Academy Oliver, a public middle school in Lawrence, MA, where I am creating their theatre program from the ground up. In its first year, I have introduced the students of UAO to theatre through a program of which I am very proud. 6th grade curriculum consisted of tableaux, textual deconstruction, and basic scene work. 7th graders rehearsed and performed short two-person scenes, created pantomimes based on books they read this school year, and wrote their own 5-scene plays. UAO's 8th grade students studied musical theatre, monologue, and devised theatre. And, of course, all students learn and practice improv! For the 2017-2018 Academic Year, I expanded my programming to include UAO’s first-ever after school production, Once on This Island, Jr. I fundraised hundreds of dollars to provide sets materials, costume pieces, and props, and I am quite proud of the final product.

After two years at UAO, I began a new position as a Drama Teacher at Wellesley Middle School in Fall 2018. In this position, I teach seven individual sections of classes in grades 6, 7, and 8, with content ranging from basic elements of theatre to scene study and monologue to devising to theatrical genres. Thus far in my time at WMS, I have directed two productions (plus an additional one in process), produced one show, revamped the seventh grade curriculum, and served as Auditorium Manager. In Wellesley Public Schools, I feel I have found my home. This supportive community allows me to work with hundreds of kind, talented kids and create amazing art with them. For more info on the course content at WMS, as well as information about current productions, visit the WMS Drama Website.

Personal and Professional Development

     I believe it's incredibly important for teachers, especially arts educators, to "practice what they preach" - that is, to continue to grow as artists in order to share their knowledge with their students. As such, I make it a priority in my personal life to practice making art as often as possible.

    Since moving back to Boston, I have gotten quite involved in the community theatre scene. Favorite recent credits include Harvey with the Footlight Club (Myrtle Mae Simmons), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time with Pilgrim Soul Productions (Siobhan), A Future Perfect with Flyleaf Theater Company (Elena), and Tomes of Terror: Lenore with the Post-Meridian Radio Players (Trippetta), and American Idiot with the Phoenix Playmakers. In the summer of 2018, I headed to Edinburgh with Ragnarok Productions to perform The Oydyssey (Odysseus) at the Edinburgh Fringe, which I also co-directed.

I made my Boston directorial debut at Skylight Theater Collective with Matt & Ben in June 2019.

Finally, I was a recurring cast member on the popular audiodrama podcast ars PARADOXICA for its entire three-season run. Although new episodes are no longer being produced, you can listen to the entire series online.

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Background image by Katie Speed, March 2013 - Shakespeare's Globe, London, UK.