Katy Shrout

Teaching Artist

1998 Alumni

Biography

Theater studies and Sociology, 1998
Decatur, Ga
M.A., Documentary Film, UC Berkeley
Ph.D., American Religion, Emory
Teacher, Teaching Artist

Since Emory

Since Emory I have earned a masters in documentary film from University of California at Berkeley. While there, I co-produced and co-directed a documentary short ("American Exile") selected for the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. After that, I freelanced as a journalist and theater critic, and worked for the San Francisco Maritime Association as an actor / living history instructor aboard historic sailing ships. In 2010 I earned a Ph.D. in American Religion at Emory, and since then I've been teaching at a charter school here in DeKalb County. In 2002 I married fellow theater major / Rathskellar alum Josh Phillipson, and we have two children, Lucy (born 2005) and Beatrice (born 2010).

Current activities

As part of my current teaching job, I work with middle school students and teach theater arts. I just finished directing abbreviated short film versions of Romeo and Juliet and Midsummer Night's Dream. I'm also an enthusiastic theater patron, especially of Out of Hand.

Highlights at Emory

There are so many highlights of my experience with theater at Emory.

First, I just adored my theater classes. Loved them. Worried about them. Obsessed about them. I worked three times as hard on them as I did on just about anything else in college. Specifically I recall working late in the night (2 am, 3 am) in ramshackle Annex B, spurred on by fellow students, to make sure that performance projects for Shakespeare or Developing A Role were JUST right. In those classes, it's safe to say that student apathy was never, ever a problem. I loved that energy.

Second, I loved being in TE shows. When we were doing Ibsen, I recall Michael Evenden, the dramaturg, taught us a nineteenth century viewpoint on etiquette as a self-conscious performance of respect.

Then we got on our feet and put it into practice in performance. I loved those moments of geeky-creative fusion, which are really what TE was all about.

Third, I loved doing student theater at Emory. I directed a show for Ad Hoc – Hair! – and yes, we did the nude scene! – and that was an incredibly maturing experience for me at age 20. It's safe to say that Rathskellar changed my life too: I met my husband there. I also discovered that I am HILARIOUS. Nobody, even my kid, as been able to convince me otherwise since.

What I know about Theater at Emory now, that I perhaps didn't know in college, is that it is special. It's a place to do theater in a smart, exciting, thoughtful way; it's a laboratory where anybody can have an idea and chase it to its most absurd extreme. It's a theater program that isn't afraid of seriously engaging with other academic disciplines and departments. If you want a career in the theater but you're also a bit of a geek academically – and this described me in college, more or less – this is a good place for you. If you're a future doctor or scientist or lawyer or college professor who likes to play around on stage, this is a good place for you too. I liked being around people that were both smart and creative.

In retrospect

Doing theater at Emory was one of the best life choices I've ever made. It drilled into me some of my best work and personal ethics. It gave me a sense of appreciation for the power of collaboration: sometimes I feel like I will never again have such a positive, supportive community around me as I did in those days. It taught me to prepare, prepare, prepare, for whatever it is I'm doing, because it's stupid to mess something up because you've not gone over it enough or you haven't done adequate research. It certainly taught me good creative habits: ask yourself questions, go for the unexpected option, it's okay to have interesting failures. I think about what I learned in the program every day.