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From Quantum

Teaching Artist Spotlight: Tru Verret-Fleming

By February 24, 2022July 31st, 2023No Comments
Tru Verret-Fleming

I’m a singer, actor, teaching artist, adjunct professor, and all-around entertainer originally from Bridgeport, CT. I’ve been living in Pittsburgh since 2010, and I attended college at Point Park University. I’m married to a wonderful spouse, and educator, and we live in a beautiful home in Penn Hills with our two cats. I’ve been a teaching artist since 2012, with Quantum since 2019, and a professor since 2021. My favorite playwright is August Wilson, my favorite musicals are Into the Woods and Legally Blonde. I’ve been acting professionally since 2008 and I’m a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association. I enjoy attending theatre productions and going to the movies, as well as directing theatre and coaching my acting students. I’m an ordained minister, wedding floral arranger/designer, and lead vocalist for a nationally recognized wedding/corporate event band amongst other things.

Q: Why are you a a teaching artist?

A: I feel drawn to being a teaching artist with Quantum because I think the very nature of Quantum’s bringing traditional theatre to audiences in non-traditional spaces allows for the immersive, devise-theatre feel of the work I get to produce with my students. It’s so collaborative, and to inspire their creativity from the themes of the very poignant, relatable, [and] well-written shows that Quantum produces brings a great joy.

Q What is your favorite discovery with students?

A: My favorite thing to discover is how the students all interpret the material and consume the themes differently. Everyone has their own story, as we all know, but the students always seem to truly have their own unique points of view and varying levels of experience in life. Because of that, there is a vast array of interpretations for our material to be drawn from. When we improv and when we write there’s such a groundedness in their collective truth that we all can find a common ground and understanding for one another and use that to work together to create art.

Q: Why is it important to keep arts in schools?

A: It’s vitally important to keep the arts/drama in schools because theatre first and foremost is a medium of catharsis for people. Both the practitioner/artist and the receiver/audience. When we nurture young people into their truest artistry, especially if it’s theatrical, we are asking them to understand with great compassion how to relate to other human beings and to portray the lives and stories of people alike and different from them. We’re asking them to be collaborators and work on teams and build something of value/worth with others. We’re asking them to think outside of boxes and limits and to dream of the impossible so that we can sit back and watch and dream also. Theatre in schools is the direct link to humanities and all those who have been afforded the opportunity to participate in theatre should feel a little more ‘alive’ because of it. The arts are no more or less important than any other program at school as they all lend to a great society.

Q: What is one takeaway you want your students to know?

A: That theatre is for everyone. I believe that all people can be actors, directors, costume designers, producers, writers, etc. And whether the students just want to consume theatre as an audience member or to be a part of creating a production and bringing it to fruition, they can, and should, believe they contribute to the greater good of society.

Q: Why do you love being a teaching artist?

A: I’ve been able to help nurture young creatives into their most authentic selves. They’ve written, directed, stage managed, costume designed, etc. They’ve shown bravery and appeared in front of ‘strangers’ to perform their works. They’ve shown great promise. This has brought so much joy to my life and has lent to my instruction at the collegiate level. Young artists need mentors, guides, coaches, people who are in the industry living and breathing the professions they’re finding interest in, and to be able to help facilitate a space where they have access to something I probably [would] take advantage of, reminds me of the joy of this industry and what I do. I touch lives with my presence and my artistry, and by doing so, I give that same opportunity to my students who then would have the opportunity to do so with those in their lives. It’s a forward progression of humanity at its best. Every day I’m able to be around these young artists, reminds me of the beauty of living, and how we all have our dreams. They give me hope for the future.

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