Raife Baker, '03
Actor, Director, Teacher
I moved to Chicago after I graduated from Emory in 2003. In addition to performing in many smaller Chicago venues, my work in Chicago also included working on two shows at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater as an understudy with Artistic Director, Barbara Gaines.
In 2005 I left Chicago and began pursuing my Masters Degree at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. During my time in the Bay Area, I was able to perform on A.C.T.'s main stage, as well as spending two summers performing at the California Shakespeare Theater .
Upon graduating from A.C.T., I moved to New York, and have spent the last four years acting, producing, and directing here. I have performed in the New York International Fringe Festival, and have appeared in several Off-Off-Broadway shows. Along with a fellow actor, I founded The Crook Theater Company in 2008, and we have produced three shows, so far.
As an acting instructor, I spent two summers teaching in the Young Conservatory at A.C.T., and recently was a master teacher at Northwestern University's Cherubs Summer theater program. I was the incredibly fortunate recipient of the Tanne Foundation's Award for Artistic Excellence in 2011.
Right now, I'm still trying to perfect the art of creating independent theater in New York, while still managing to stay afloat financially. Needless to say, it's a work in progress!!
I'm directing a very wild adaptation of Macbeth this fall in Manhattan's TriBeCa neighborhood with The Crook, and currently that's how I'm spending most of my time.
Highlights at Emory
The most eye-opening experience of my Emory career was my Honors Project during my Senior Year. Directed and adapted by my mentor, Vinnie Murphy, the project served to open the black box of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts in 2003. It was a collaboratively developed one-man-show based on Ted Hughes' "Crow." Working with Drew DeMann, an excellent musician, and Brian Ginn, a gifted visual/graphic artist, the piece laid the foundation for everything I know about collaborative theater, and sparked my passion for creating independent theater.
I was also lucky enough to work at Theater Emory with many talented and inspirational artists. I learned what it meant to truly inhabit the skin of another character by working with director John Ammerman on Ah! Wilderness. Performing in Tim McDonough's production of Three Sisters taught me the importance of real acting HOMEWORK. Creating and performing with Out of Hand Theater in Theater Emory's co-production of 30 Below was my first introduction to just how much of a party the theatrical process has the potential to become.
Finally, I also have to acknowledge the importance of Alice Benston's Senior Seminar, Aesthetics and Criticism of the Theater. Studying the writings of history's greatest critics, it was a semi-weekly, in-depth discussion of what it truly means to be a theater artist.