Guest Contributor, Cornelius Barber
Professor Patrice Foster is the new associate professor for the theatre department at Emory & Henry College. So far at E&H, Foster teaches all levels of Acting, Stage Voice and Stage Movement. She received her Bachelors in Acting from Greensboro College, and her Masters in Acting from the University of Arkansas.
Foster is originally from Wilmington, DE, but has worked in many places including St. Louis, MO, and Chicago, IL. However, she is very familiar with southwest Virginia from working with the Barter Theater since 2011. She was excited about the opportunity to return to the area when she applied for the teaching position at E&H.
“I love this area. My mentors live here, and a lot of my friends live here. When I saw this job posted, it was just a natural fit for me to apply here. I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for me,” Foster said.
Foster started her acting journey when her father enrolled her in acting classes in middle school. She fell in love with the theater soon after.
“It’s where I felt most comfortable and free,” Foster explained. “I already knew what I wanted to major in when I went to college because I had caught the theater bug.”
Foster has worked professionally as both a director and actor, and she hopes to bring the experiences that she has learned over the years to her students this year. She is looking to bring a fresh and innovative way to learning about the art of theater.
“I am interested in building community and getting to know the students and their needs and trying to fit what I do to meet the needs of the students,” she stated.
Foster’s extensive experience has allowed her to work with many theater productions including Rivendell theatre ensemble, Collaboraction, Theater Unspeakable, and The Waltzing Mechanics. She was also nominated for an award by the Saint Louis Broadway World Regional for best-supporting actress in her role in “Good People” by David Lindsay-Abaire.
Foster believes the work she has done and the skills she has learned while working in the theater industry will translate to the classroom in her classes at E&H.
“I feel like you learn by doing,” she explained. “Even though I’m an educator I’m not going to stop directing professionally or acting professionally. My regional work only enhances and informs the work I do in the classroom.”
Senior Musical Theatre Major, Haleigh Tilley, is currently enrolled in Acting III with Foster, and expressed excitement about her fresh take on teaching the subject.
“One thing that has stood out to me during her classes is how excited she is about each individual’s work that they bring to the table. It’s really exciting to have a professor who gets excited, claps, laughs, and gets on your level to help you find new discoveries in your acting,” Tilley said. “I feel like the department made a good choice with bringing on P. Fos!”
While Foster continues to pursue her passion for directing, she is directing a play for Emory and Henry College this spring. The new play that she is directing is called “Look, We Are Breathing” by Laura Jacqmin, which will be performed in February.