1. Can you tell me a little about your current role?

I am the director of education at Syracuse Stage. That means I work with our team to foster the education programs that we run as an organization. A lot of our education programs are shows that tour out into schools. We have the Children’s Tour in the fall, and that’s for elementary-aged students. We have our Backstory Program, which is for middle school students and tours in February and March, and our Theatre for the Very Young series, which is shows specifically for kids under the age of 5. The Theatre for the Very Young series, I devise and direct that program. We also have the Young Playwrights Festival, which is for high school students, and produces 10-minute plays that they write. It’s a whole workshop where we read hundreds of student plays to produce eight of them on stage. It’s really an amazing event. And then we also have our Young Adult Council, which is a program for high school students where they get to come to Syracuse Stage and see shows for free and participate in monthly workshops. It’s a student-led program, so they get to decide where we’re going each year. But we always make sure that we have different access points for kids who are interested in theatre, for the performance side, for just watching theatre, for producing theatre. So, we try in the education program to make sure that we cover a depth and range of ages and access for young people.

2. What did you do before this?

My undergrad is actually in costume tech, so making costumes, making wigs. I was a wig artisan. I worked at several different theatres in the production side. And then I realized that I really wanted to focus on theatre for young audiences, and I went to grad school to get my master’s in critical cultural studies and education, and that’s what led me to Syracuse Stage. I jokingly say that I’m bilingual in theatre and education.

3. What is your favorite thing about working at Syracuse Stage?

One of my favorite things about working at Syracuse Stage, particularly in the education department, is getting to engage with so many people as they’re seeing and learning new things. That’s everything from an itty bitty toddler at our Theatre for the Very Young performances realizing how to throw a ping pong ball like the actors (and watching them use those muscles and build that skill set) to talking with high school students about them developing nuanced views on theatre and how those shows relate to their own lives or the larger lived experience of the world. I really am honored to be able to see people grow and learn. I think that’s an amazing gift.


Courtney Kless is the Editor in Chief of Family Times. Courtney is originally from Maryland. She earned her Master’s degree in Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism from Syracuse University. Courtney began her career as a sports journalist, then spent several years working in higher education, before joining the company in August 2019. She enjoys traveling, reading and hiking, and recently adopted a Labrador Retriever, Bailey.

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