AAPEX Interview: Joy Hooper, Artistic Director of the standard — Joy Hooper , the standard — AAPEX

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

AAPEX Interview: Joy Hooper, Artistic Director of the standard

Joy Hooper

What role did theater and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?
Theater had everything to do with my childhood and upbringing. I believe I tried my hand at every other performing art, before I landed on theater arts. My mother knew I was artistic, but wasn't quite sure what my concentration would be. I took ballet, played the flute, and even sang in the church choir. Needless to say, It didn't take anyone very long to see that I was not going to be able to make a living doing any of those, because I was simply not the most gifted in those areas. In elementary school, I decided to do a dramatic reading contest, I won and the rest is history. From there I went to an amazing community theater in Baltimore where I grew up called Arena Players. Going to Arena led to the Baltimore School for the Arts for high School, a BFA form Howard University, and my Masters form Penn State.

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist?
As an artist your always evolving if your smart. You can never allow yourself to get caught up into one idea of what you should be or where you should be creatively or professionally. It's really easy to compare yourself to your peers, without realizing we all experience our success in different ways, in different seasons of our lives. There is no way you could have told me that I'd be wearing this many hats at this point in my life. I always thought I might teach in Academia or something much later in life, and starting a company now, when all I use to think about was performing seemed like the furthest thing from what I wanted. All I cared about was performing. My biggest evolution as an artist came when I knew, and decided to accept the fact that I have a responsibility. Service became a bigger passion, than being in the forefront. The balance I'm finding is making me a better coach, a better business woman, and a better actress.

What was the impetus for founding The Standard and what is your mission?
The original impetus for starting the standard was very selfish in the beginning. I wanted to create more work for myself and those that were close to me. As actors it's easy to get caught up in a cycle of complaining about the lack of work, especially for African American actors. So I connected with a few colleges that were in the same space, and we created what is now 'the standard'. The standard is really something that has grown itself over the last year. We call ourselves a collective with a focus on production, which basically gives us an umbrella to operate with no limits or boundaries. We embrace all artists, not just actors, and look forward to growing, as we are in the production phase of our work. We have many programs, which include the actor workout, which is like a jam session for actors to come and just work on material that they may otherwise never get the opportunity to work on. There's the ongoing reading series, standardized, which encourages writers of screenplays and plays to submit their work to be considered for a produced reading of their work by 'the standard'. We have the standard Xchange which is an exchange program we've created where we go in and do minor repairs to help renovate theaters in exchange for space, and we also do outreach in the New York public school system.

How can folks who are interested become involved and how can they follow what you are doing?
It's really easy. Check out our website www.livethestandard.com, and email us at livethestandard@gmail.com., with all of your contact info. We will put you on our mailing list, and then you'll always know what we're up to. Usually people come to our events, and become really inspired, and want to help. We love meeting folks face to face, and connecting on a human level. Our motto is, "there is no lack: If you are an actor, act; If you are an artist, create....."

standard founding members include: Joy Hooper(Artistic Director), Herbert Newsome (Associate Artistic Director) and Nicoye Banks (Creative Director). New company members include: Thaddeus Daniels, Azania Shange, and Chi Chi Anyanwu.

Please click the post's title to visit the standard's web site.

No comments:

Post a Comment