Welcome back to Throwback Thursday: The Rose Edition! This week we are going to focus our attention on Brian Guehring. If you don’t know who he is, think Lord Farquaad from Shrek, Jay Bird and Turkey from Honk! or Toad in A Year With Frog & Toad.
Though Brian has been seen many times on the mainstage at The Rose, he does a lot of work as a playwright–the Playwright in Residence to be exact. Brian has written some of the plays seen on the Rose stages including Sherlock Holmes and the First Baker Street Irregulars, The Grocers Goblin and The Little Mermaid, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, The Bully Show, Misfits and Holiday Time Around the World.
Not only is Brian the Playwright in Residence at the Rose, but he is actually the Education Director. As such, Brian finds himself teaching a lot of classes, directing youth productions and overseeing the rest of the education department. That’s a pretty big deal! But enough about the present–this is a throwback after all!
We asked Brian about his first experience with theater. He told us:
“In second grade my elementary school did an all school musical of Annie. I was cast in Hooverville and at one rehearsal the director pointed me out as ‘Look at how Brian is doing that dance! Excellent work!’
That comment made my week (and I obviously still remember it today).”
Brian has made a life out of theater, and for good reason. When we asked how theater has impacted and changed his life he answered:
“I am extremely lucky to have a full time job doing what I love. I get to teach students about acting. I get to lead workshops using drama to engage young people in school subjects. I get to work with teen writers to empower them to express themselves. I get to direct young people in plays and build their self confidence. I get to act in shows in front of thousands of young people and families. I get to write plays that engage, entertain, and challenge the audience. I get to help young people learn how theater can be an activist tool to make the world a better place. I get to collaborate with a team of amazingly supportive artists. I get to create a safe space for young people to feel safe and express who they are.
Theater also pays the bills so I can keep my pups in dog kibble.”
Brian does a lot for the theater and a lot for the students who come to The Rose for classes, camps and shows. It’s awesome that theater impacted his life in such a positive way that it inspired him to facilitate the same types of experience for students. And what better place to do that than The Rose?
Thanks, Brian–for all you do and for sharing your experience with us!