Story in the College of Arts & Sciences
Theatre and dance professor inspires students to recognize social issues and use their acting skills to initiate change.
One of the many reasons associate professor of theatre and dance Aldo Billingslea loves being part of the SCU community is because he and his students can act for change—literally.
"We're not just a group of academics," he says. "It's important that students use and fulfill their potential, recognize social challenges, and do something about it."
Billingslea spearheaded a theatre program bringing Shakespeare performances to prisoners in San Quentin. Too often the prisoner population is forgotten, he says, and it's important to see prisoners' humanity.
But whether it's guiding students through Shakespeare or playing the title role in an off-campus production of The Elephant Man, Billingslea emphasizes student involvement. In The Elephant Man, current and former students participated in the crew and cast. They witnessed the whole process of a professional show's production, and watched him, as an actor, prepare for the role's difficulties.
"Santa Clara is one of the few places where you can come and truly get to know the people you're working with. You're not a number in a hall," Billingslea believes. "Students can leave the classroom not with just knowledge, but a way to improve the world."