THE THEATER DIRECTOR | “How can we do this and what else can we do?”

THE THEATER DIRECTOR | “How can we do this and what else can we do?”

Reba Short, 32

Artistic director, Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine

At a young age, Reba Short discovered that theater gave her a spark of excitement like nothing else could. Today, as the theater director for the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, she’s helping kids fi nd their own passion – whether it be theater, arts, science or math.

“Through imagination, through performing, that’s how they’re going to locate whatever it is that gives them that spark,” she said. “Finding that spark makes them feel alive. I feel like theater did that for me where I felt happy and excited.”

Short earned her degree in theater arts at Mount Holyoke College. After graduation she was stationed with the Peace Corps in Morocco, where she founded a touring troupe of actors and taught theater to volunteers and aid workers.

Before leaving Maine for Morocco, she had worked with the Children’s Theatre of Maine, teaching classes and touring on a school production of “Stuart Little.” On her return, she was hired by the Children’s Theatre to direct three plays and scope out whether a partnership would work between the theater the Children’s Museum of Maine. It did, and in November 2008 the two merged to become the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine.

As the theater director, Short works with all ages. She estimates that she works with between 60 and 70 children a day with duties that include directing stage productions, running a literacy program for preschoolers, performing puppet shows for museum visitors, and overseeing a puppet troupe run by teenagers to educate younger kids about disabilities.

“It’s kind of like being a recurring character on a soap opera,” she explained. “It’s one of my favorite parts of my job right now. Everybody who did it last year wants to do it again.”

Short is also attending graduate school one day a week to get her master’s in theater education from Emerson College in Boston. Graduate school, said Short, allows her to interact with her peers in theater education and learn more about what she can do in her role.

“We’re the only museum and theater combination in the country basically. It’s so much about how can we do this and what else can we do?” said Short.

Reba Short (center, in pearls) with members of the cast and crew of “Pinocchio,” which was produced by the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine in July.Reba Short, left with members of the cast and crew of “Beauty and the Beast,” which opened Oct. 15 at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine.Reba Short, with the cast of “The Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings” in April 2010.

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