This week’s Feature-a-Teacher is Jane Hill ’01, one of our theater teachers and technical director of our musicals.
How long have you been teaching at Regina Dominican?
I started teaching in 2013, but have been hired as Technical Director of our musicals since the spring of 2008.
What have you found most rewarding during your time teaching here?
I love watching students meet a challenge that seems impossible, and then seeing their excitement and joy when they conquer it. This is especially awesome in the theater with a difficult building project, complicated scene change, or a role that really pushes the student.
Describe what it means to you to be working at your alma mater.
Regina was my third high school. As a student, I was bitter about being here. Yet, it was a vital part of making me who I am. As a female on tech crew in a co-ed public school, though I could use the tools, it was too easy to take a back-seat to the guys. Coming to Regina forced me to take charge and become a leader in the theater department (there was not tech crew program at that time!). Working at Regina gives me the opportunity to guide young women in recognizing their potential and showing them their full worth.
How does the all-girls aspect of Regina Dominican influence your teaching?
I love it. I have worked in a number of male-dominated environments, whether in the theater or pipe organ building. While I loved proving to the men that I was just as strong, smart, and capable as them, I also hated being an anomaly and needing to prove that I could do the job. I didn’t like that I got some jobs “because I was a girl” and not because I was talented. I like giving girls that chance to show they are just as talented as boys without feeling like a freak. Also, I was recently talking with my husband about how much I dislike the superhero characters of Spider-Man and The Flash because they are obnoxious teenage boys. And I prefer working with teenage girls.
This year’s Fall Musical, The Music Man, just finished. Congratulations on a successful show! Will you give our readers a small recap of how the weekend went from your point of view?
It went amazingly well! The students never cease to amaze me. By the end of rehearsal on Monday, I can never imagine how we will pull it together. And then by Thursday they have rallied and created something beautiful. I love that we have built a program and crew that by performances, I can sit in the audience and watch and know they have it all under control. We really do have amazing students!
Do you have a favorite play or acting technique that you enjoy teaching the most? And why?
I have a project my acting students do that we come back to throughout the semester. They create two different original characters. We use these characters to work on observation skills, vocal, physical, and improv skills. I will have them do scenes with these characters, and if timing works out, we will all have lunch together with our characters. They have a blast, and it is so fun to see how the characters develop through the process.
Now that The Music Man l has passed, how will you continue the excitement with your students and get them prepared for the Fine Arts Showcase in April?
Drama Club and International Thespian Society usually participate in our Christmas presentation, acting out the nativity in a pantomime. The theater classes are also semester classes, so I will have a new group of tech students to work on the scenery and behind the scenes prep for April. With the end of the semester, it is nice to have a bit of a break, and a lot of the theater students are also involved in the Orchesis performance in February. Our Fine Arts students are busy!
Your dad is a big part of the theater community at Regina Dominican as well. What do you like most about working with your dad?
I have worked with my dad since I was little. He actually taught me to use power tools as I helped him around the house. He is the reason I came to Regina, and my interests were the impetus for his work getting the tech program running. We both know the space, the program, and how each other works so well, it is easy collaborating with him. I love working with my family. The support from a family member at work is a huge blessing.