Beth Peterson Bio Page

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A Little Bit About Beth Peterson

As the new Theatre Instructor and Resident Director of the College Community Theatre, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the CCT audience. Although my most recent address was in New York City, I am no stranger to this area. I grew up in John Day, OR and for me, my first experience of big city life was in fact, Pendleton, simply because it had stoplights (at the time, John Day only had one flashing red light downtown, which has since been replaced by an actual stoplight. I also understand that John Day now has a McDonalds, the true sign of advanced civilization). Upon matriculation from Grant Union High School, I attended school at Oregon State University where I received undergraduate and advanced level degrees in Psychology. This exploration of human behavior coupled quite nicely with my unrelenting desire to be on stage. I had the means to explore the psychological make-up of the characters I was playing, which led to a surprising variety in the roles I undertook. It was during this time at OSU that I began to develop my approach to the Theatre. The Theatre, quite literally, exposed me to new experiences, and in turn new perspectives. I began to explore the idea of living in someone else's skin, or walking in their shoes, if you will. I saw how Theatre could create a community of understanding and committed individuals. Indivduals who not only used Theatre as means to illustrate the impact of society (in a way putting a mirror up to the world, forcing us to examine our actions) but also ones that firmly believed that they could change thier environment as well.

After OSU, I briefly attended the University of Oregon, then went on to pursue a graduate degree in Theatre at the University of Texas at Austin. I had a desire to positively affect others, and I felt my best gifts were in the Theatre. I wanted to take my training a step further. I wanted to be in a position where I could use Theatre as a way to impact others, to touch the lives of my fellow artists and the community I performed for. Once I received my MFA in Acting, with a minor in Directing, I was hired as a resident company member at the Burt Reynolds Institute of Theatre Training. This was after short stints at Summer Rep Companies in Wyoming and Utah. At the BRITT Institute, I was given the unique opportunity of working with a variety of performers in very different stages of their development of the craft. We got the chance to meet, and work with, movie stars the likes of Burt Reynolds and Ann Margaret, Tony Award Nominated Broadway Actors, as well as talented artists newly defining their roles int he Theatre. We learned to be skilled in combat, and voice as well as acting, in a sense we were encouraged to develop the complete commitment an actor int he Theatre must know. However, the one person at BRITT who impacted me more than any other, the one who helped me to clarify what Theatre could mean to me, was Master Director, Jose Quintero. The man was so inspiring in his complete devotion and unending patience in regards to the Theatre. He imparted with us words of wisdom I would like to share with you now, "Love the Theatre because it gives meaning to Life. Theatre gives you permission to Dream, and the play is the Blueprint to that Dream."

My varied experiences have left me with one thing, an undying and unquestionable love for the Theatre and an absolute repect for the power of the performing arts. We as artists have the unique opportunity of examining the human experience in a way that can touch people's lives. Our quest is to get to the kernel of the mystery of human behavior, and by doing so, illuminate understanding. An actor is the instrument from which magic can be made.

I hope to bring to this community a passion for the Theatre that is also a responsible one. I want to create experiences that not only entertain but also illuminate. I want to create experiences that encourages growth and human contact. In this age of increased technology, we can not lose that desire to relate to others on a very basic level. We need to keep the soul of the Theatre alive. To do this, we need you. My challenge to you the audience is one that I have also given myself: Never stop learning, create challenges for yourself, for it is from these experiences you grow. Never be afraid to dream, for from our dreams we create our realities.

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For information on the Theatre program at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon please contact Beth Peterson

Copyright 1998 by Terry L Aichele and Beth Peterson

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