Each year, new faculty are brought on to elevate the academic offerings here at Fresno State. These new faculty members bring innovative research, diverse fields of study and technical expertise to our college, inspiring new ways of thinking throughout our many disciplines.
Over the next few weeks, we will introduce you to these new faces, by department.
Department of Theatre Arts
Dr. Andy Waldron joins the Department of Theatre Arts as an assistant professor with a focus in theatre education.
Originally from Wisconsin, Waldron earned his Bachelors of Arts in Theatre and Bachelors of Science in Communication Arts and Literature Education from Winona State University. He moved to the Twin Cities, Minnesota metro area to teach high school English, speech, and theatre, where he also earned his Masters of Arts in Education from Hamline University. Waldron later attended Arizona State University and received his Ph.D. in Theatre.
Waldron has a wide variety of experience working as an educator, researcher, director, performer, teaching artist, and lighting designer. His research explores theatre education training and pedagogy, Theatre for Young Audiences, queer youth theatre, and socially engaged arts practices.
“As the state of California institutes a Theatre Credential, Dr. Waldron (Andy) is the exact person we needed to help establish Fresno State as a leader in providing training to future theatre arts teachers. Andy brings with him years of classroom teaching experiences and a wealth of knowledge in the area of arts integration” said J. Daniel Herring, Theatre Arts Department Chair.
Question: What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State?
Answer: I’m looking forward to learning more about the Fresno area, partaking in the rich arts community, getting to know the students, faculty, and staff, and exploring the region. This is my first time living in California and I know many new adventures are within reach. On top of all that, I’m looking forward to teaching some great theatre courses, inspiring our future arts leaders, and working with educators across the valley.
Q: Can you tell us how you became involved in your specialty area?
A: Well, when I went to college I knew I wanted to teach English. However, the theatre bug had bit me early in life and I had a sneaky suspicion it would be a big part of my future. I couldn’t decide which degree to pursue so, after a few years of debate, I became a double major/dual degree student in Communication Arts & Literature Education and Theatre. I taught high school English, speech, and theatre for 8 years in Forest Lake, Minnesota. During that time I taught classes, coached competitive speech, directed and designed theatre pieces…and got my Masters in Education. I feel like my education has been all about balance. I had one degree in English education and one in theatre. I earned my Masters in Education and soon decided to get my Ph.D. in Theatre. All that said, my Theatre Education specialization arises from my feet being firmly planted in both education and the arts. Every time I try to shift to one, the other pulls me back in.
Q: What will your distinctive background do to elevate the Theatre Department offerings here at Fresno State?
A: I believe my background as an educator, artist, and researcher all combine to provide great opportunities for Fresno State students. I’ve taught young people from pre-schoolers to college students and bring that experience to bear in my work. My training in education and pedagogy helps me to create positive learning experiences in my classes while also giving me some wisdom to share with future teachers. Also, I believe that great teaching is similar to great acting. The arts can learn a lot from education and education can learn a lot from the arts. Hopefully, I can be a bridge between the two.
Q: What do you enjoy most about theatre?
A: I like being surprised. Whether by a great new play or stellar performance or technical trick, it’s so great to be blown away by live performance. I also enjoy the new developments in the field like theatre for the very young, immersive theatre, and all the cool projection work onstage. Artists are innovating and pushing the boundaries of performance. Finally, I love that theatre is challenging the community to examine the world around us, highlighting inequity and injustice, and asking us to reflect about our relationships with each other.
Q: What production are you most looking forward to this year?
A: In a fun twist, I have not read or seen any of the pieces in our season. I’m actually looking forward to seeing all the productions because they are all new to me. That’s not a very fun answer, though. I’m probably looking forward to Just Like Us because it focuses on immigration through the lived-experiences and voices of young people.
Q: What production do you think everyone should see in their lifetime?
A: That’s like asking a book-lover to choose the best book or a movie-critic to select the one film everyone must experience — too hard! My favorite play is Richard III by William Shakespeare, so I’d put that on the list. Overall, I think everyone should experience a piece of theatre that makes them squirm or makes them uncomfortable and forces them to consider new ideas, perspectives, and ways of life. Take a risk and see something that makes you go “Hmmmm”.
Q: When are your office hours?
A: My office hours this term are Tuesdays / Thursdays from 12-1:45, and Wednesdays from 10-12:00. And of course, you can always send me an email to set something that works better with your schedule.