#AskATeach: Annie Worden

Hello Beautiful People!

Next up in our #AskATeach Series is the lovely Annie Worden.  Annie is an actress of both film and stage who has appeared in numerous theatrical productions in New York City and across the United States, and the author of Misadventures in the Art of Movie Makin’ (in which she also starred in at The United Solo Festival, earning her the Best One Woman Comedy Award.)

Annie WordenAnd, on top of all that, Annie is a teaching artist for Zara Aina!

TWT readers, meet Annie Worden…

MM: First things first, can you tell our readers about Zara Aina?

AW: Zara Aina is an NGO that strives to empower and educate underprivileged children in Madagascar through theater. We have a center in Antananarivo, Madagascar that is open throughout the year for our students to come learn about storytelling, clowning, puppetry and dance and to build theatrical shows based in Malagasy folktales. We provide English classes at the center as well dental and doctor visits, food, clothing needs and school supplies and we help the children’s families pay for their school tuition. We also bring a crew of New York based actors to Madagascar for a few weeks every year to tour around the country with our children’s company performing and giving out educational aid as we go.

MM: How did the four of you come together to create this organization?

AW: Lucas and Bryce founded it together after Lucas visited Madagascar on a whim and fell in love with all the rascally, creative kids over there. He wanted to do something to try and help them, so he and Bryce sent out a big invite calling all their friends and coworkers to help get the organization off the ground. Both Justin and I got that invite and were like, “Heck yes! Let’s DO this!”. So four years later, here we are!

MM: Just for fun, what sound do you love? What sound do you hate?

AW: Love: Big belly laughs. Hate: Subway brakes screeching.

MM: Just for fun, if we were to walk into your home, what books are permanently on your bookshelf?

AW: Calvin and Hobbes, The complete works of Shakespeare, poems by Mary Oliver and a beautifully embarrassing collection of my old journals.

MM: Just for fun, if you were stranded on a desert island, (assuming of course you had a TV/computer and a power source), what movies and/or television shows would you want available to you?

AW: Oh man…that’s tough… Off the top of my head right this minute I’d say, movies: Dumb and Dumber (the original one and ONLY the original one), Coming Home, The Big Lebowski and for nostalgia’s sake Anne of Green Gables. TV shows: I Love Lucy, Breaking Bad, and a bunch of PBS documentaries(does that count?).

MM: In today’s climate, arts education programs are often under attack. Why would you advocate for keeping arts education programming in schools?

AW: I think education, like so many things in life, needs to be balanced. If we’re just focusing on subjects like maths, sciences, computing, sports or passing tests, we’re gonna get a bunch of smart kids with no ability to think creatively. Not to mention that there are many children whose passion lies in the arts and if those children don’t have access to arts education in their schooling experience, they might not get the chance to lead fully realized lives. There is a lot of math in music, there’s science in the way paints mix together on a canvas and there’s plenty of physical activity in theater and dance. Without exposure to all of those subjects, how can we expect to raise our children into well-rounded, creative-thinking, fulfilled adults?

MM: What’s the best piece of advice you’d want to give to students who wish to pursue a career in the arts?

AW: Be grateful for all of your successes (even the small ones), be gentle with yourself and teach yourself how to fail and then get back up again. I feel like failure is something we all try to avoid, when in reality (especially in the arts), it’s a really important part of the process of eventually succeeding.

MM: What do you want the world to know about Zara Aina?

AW: If you’re in the NY area, come visit us at our monthly jam sessions and if you’re not in the area, come visit our website: www.zaraaina.org. Nothing gives you a great sense of perspective like helping other people and exposing yourself to other cultures.

MM: Who is/was your greatest teacher?

AW: Stephen Buescher. He teaches movement, mask and clowning. He is unbelievably creative, challenging and funny. He thinks so far outside the box and insists that anyone who works with him to do the same. He pushed me farther than I ever thought I go could by not allowing me to listen to my own doubt.

Additional information on Annie’s latest projects can be found on her website, AnnieWorden.com.

Questions about for Annie or our Ask A Teach Series? Tweet them to us @TheWriteTeach using #AskATeach!

Live, Love, Learn,

Megan & The Write Teacher(s) 

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#AskATeach: Annie Worden