Civic Theatre is excited to welcome Jess Luiz, Curriculum Coordinator to our staff. Luiz is a teacher at heart with a true passion for teaching and helping people of all ages experience theatre. We sat down with her to learn more about her background and what GRCT means to her.

Tell us a little about your background: 
I went to school for theatre and received my degree in Theatre Performance. I have been teaching (not just theatre) forever. I started teaching here at Civic last year. I also teach theatre to students with special needs through an organization and before teaching I was the Education Manager at the Children’s Museum.

Why Civic? 
I loved teaching here last year…teaching is such a passion of mine along with theatre so this role was a great fit. I was looking for something impactful, a way to help teachers in how they were connecting with kids. Essentially, my hope is to solidify what we are doing and ensure our school is the best it can be. The position itself sounded like a perfect mix of supporting an education program, theatre, and developing programming.

What are you up to when you aren’t at work?
I have an 8 week old daughter named Josephine…she looks like a mini-me. My husband and I are both actors so when I’m not teaching I am acting as much as possible. I do costuming for some local schools and theatres. Also, my husband and I are big gamers.

What have you performed in at GRCT? 
I actually did the Giver (I played the mother) and then was an adult guest performer in Fame for SRTI a few years ago. I have done shows at Circle and Actor’s Theatre as well. I work with kids so when I perform I like to do more adult shows so that it feels more like “my thing”.

What’s the one thing about your personality people should know? 
I am really playful…I like to play games. My desk isn’t set up yet but when it is, there will be Playdoh on it.

What do you think Grand Rapids needs to know about theatre? 
If they don’t already, they should know that we have a lot of high quality theatre…not only by community standards, truly high quality performances. Whatever their tastes are, they can fin it here. There’s always something going on so there’s no reason not to go. And, if they want to get involved beyond being in the audience, there are endless ways to do that. If they want to know more about that they can contact me! I love when people reach out asking who they can network with. There’s a strong community within theatre in West Michigan; being a teacher, actor, and involved in costuming I have met so many people.

Supporting the arts is really important and there are lots of ways to do that…there’s a place for everyone in theatre.