From+the+stage+to+the+school+room

From the stage to the school room

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The Slicer Performing Arts staff has gained an invaluable asset for its student actors: Roberto Sanchez. A native of Ecuador and an actor skilled in his field, Sanchez is a fantastic new teacher deserving of recognition. 

After getting a general degree in theatre from Florida International University, Sanchez set his sights high. His wife encouraged him to get his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in acting. With only a 10 percent acceptance rate for acting in grad school, Sanchez entered the New School in New York City and spent three years there. His time there was a grueling and difficult experience where he learned a tremendous amount. 

“Learning was a struggle because they didn’t give you space to fail. The biggest thing I’ve learned as an educator is that you truly learn when you fail. Failing is a gift,” Sanchez said. 

His resume in acting is lengthy and impressive, including performances in grad school as well as in the La Porte County area. Last summer, he appeared in the Dunes Summer Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Michigan City. Sanchez played the character Theseus as well as a fairy. While most of his best acting took place in grad school, this performance was one of his most rewarding theatre experiences. 

“Shakespeare is extremely hard to do. When you do it right, you have such a rewarding experience as an actor,” Sanchez said.

While Sanchez cites theatre as one of his biggest passions, there were other endeavors he was excited to branch into. When he set out to look for an agent, he found one interested in working with him but whose offices were only located in Chicago and Los Angeles. After conferring with his wife, they decided to move from New York City to Chicago. Sanchez also had a degree in teaching, which landed him at Renaissance Academy in Michigan City where he was hired as a Spanish teacher. He learned a great deal while teaching kindergarten through eighth grade there. 

“I figured out that you have to do it fun. If it’s not fun it’s not approachable. If it’s not approachable, you’re not learning anything,” Sanchez said. 

It turns out acting is extremely similar to teaching. Sanchez talked about how loud and clear vocal projection is an aspect that’s important both onstage and in the classroom. He compared lesson plans to monologues, memorizing and reciting them in front of a class was akin to a performance. There’s also something to be said about audience perspective, which is an important thing to keep in mind for both professions. 

“I had to understand that there’s an audience just like an actor understands their target audience, and I altered the lesson to every single grade,” Sanchez said. 

The LPHS Performing Arts department is incredibly lucky to have such a great new addition. He’s sure to bring his all to teaching and directing, greatly impacting the future actors he mentors. 

“Be confident in who you are because in order to do acting well, you bring some of yourself into every role. Good acting means you’re not aware of yourself. You’re not judging yourself. You’re not editing yourself. If you connect with it, that’s what matters,” Sanchez said.

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