All student cast. All student design team. These words bring a huge smile to Evan Parry’s face: this is clearly an actor and director who fell in love with teaching early on and has never looked back.
“I taught my first class as an actor-in-residence at Buffalo and it completely changed my career path,” he says.
Evan, an associate professor in the College of Charleston’s Theater Department, has a passion for the creative process and loves involving those who truly want to learn in that process.
“Directors are sort of like painters,” he says. “We’re working on a project for months before anyone is ever going to see it. It’s busy for us long before the show opens.”
That means bringing together not only actors but musicians, artists, audiovisual aces…as much talent as the production requires. “We’re not an island in our department,” he says. “We like to work across the campus.”
He just finished an amazing run of She Kills Monsters, a play that explores fantasy and role-play as a sibling learns the truth about her sister’s life, and he’s already looking forward to interpreting Yeats through dance at Piccolo Spoleto with Annex Dance Company. Beyond that, Macbeth and Blythe Spirit.
If you’re getting the sense of constant forward momentum, you just figured out Evan Parry.
“I love my job,” he says. “I have the greatest job in the world.” A Florida State University/Asoio State Theatre Conservatory alum who previously served on the faculties of Michigan State University and SUNY/Buffalo, Evan is co-director of The Shakespeare Project and a tireless advocate for the arts.
For him, the arts, together with collaboration and teaching, are a powerful way of connecting with others.
“The big lesson I’ve learned in all that time is that it’s always wrong to generalize about other people,” he says. “When we make some group ‘the other’ instead of acknowledging that we’re all brothers and sisters, that’s when very bad things begin to happen. Actors above all people should understand the harm that generalizing does because becoming other people is what we do. Every time we’re on stage, we become someone who is not us, and we have to be true to that.”
Words by: Jason A. Zwiker
Photography by: Karson Photography