The NOLA Project is using 44 Plays for 44 Presidents as the focus of their new educational programming. Jeff Mosser caught up with Kate Kuen to talk about the shows impact on New Orleans and why it is particularly vibrant for the NOLA Project.
Jeff Mosser: So tell me about the NOLA Project’s programming?
Kate Kuen: This show is really exciting for us. So the NOLA Project started in 2005, and we’ve finally got our 501(c)3. Because of that, something we really wanted to do is start an education sector. This summer we launch our first education program with the NOLA Project HS summer intensive.
KK: I think New Orleans was right for this artistic renaissance. Young people are very important to rebuilding. Performances will be a a professional theatre so that we can create the artists we want to be working with on stage. It’s the sacred art of storytelling, and we have to have a reason for telling the story right here, right now. We want to use this as a showcase so we can show New Orleans that we are serious. “Your kids should be involved. Theatre is a healing part of the community.”
This city is in dire need of any form of extra curricular, and we want to show that we can run a well oiled theatre showcase. Especially because these opportunities are so lacking for low-income families. This is why we’re doing what we’re doing. We’re going to have to work through a show together with a various educational and pay scales.
JM: What do you think is the biggest challenge with students?
KK: The thing you need to instill is that theatre is sacred and it is an art to be an entertainer. You do that so that you can have an environment where a 12 year old girl isn’t thinking about being judged.
JM: What would you say to a theatre that was on the fence about doing this show?
KK: I think the only reason to shy away from this show is because it’s challenging and I have no respect people who are afraid of it. I would challenge them to do this show and make it happen. It is not of the tradition of theater to back away from a challenge.
Chicago native Kate Kuen is alum of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she studied at Stella Adler Studio, in Dublin and at Stonestreet Studios and double majored in Psychology. She is a proud company member of the NOLA Project and soon to be director of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents for the inaugural year of the Nola Project’s High School Summer Intensive. Recent acting credits include Celia in As You Like It (Nola Project/NOMA) Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet (Nola Project/NOMA), Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar, Martin Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire, CBS Bold and the Beautiful, as well as a host of tomboys and moms for global and national commercial campaigns. www.katekuen.com