This week on the podcast we have Jessica Texidor, director of programs at American Eagle Productions. American Eagle Productions has blazed the trail for youth and educational theatre in the Chicagoland area, bringing the performing arts to over 300 schools and groups a year for the past 28 years. Their programming builds confidence, fosters empathy, and encourages collaboration as well as provides a safe space for children to express themselves.
Listen to Episode 142 of Always Andersonville!
Top podcast highlights and where to find them (by timestamp):
0:52 – Jessica kicks off the podcast by telling us a little bit about her background.
2:02 – As Director of Programs for American Eagle Productions, Jessica plays an essential role in the company. Hear about how she came to occupy this position and what the job requires.
4:39 – AE Productions offered a number of online classes, workshops, and camps over the last year with the pandemic. Tune in to hear what the response has been like!
”We feel lucky to keep kids moving but also hopeful that we’ll be in the room with them more regularly soon.”
7:21 – On AE Production’s website, there is a statement about how they strive to create a safe environment for children to feel like they can express themselves comfortably. Jessica takes us through how they facilitate this welcoming space. Leading by example and allowing healthy expression and dialogue between the kids are a couple of examples!
10:14 – Listen in to hear Jessica’s favorite children’s production.
11:37 – Our guest has played many roles and has produced a number of different performances. Here, she takes us through the different progressions she’s gone through as an actor and producer. She takes a lot of her skills as a producer now from being a performer and knowing what steps are necessary for the performance.
“My progressions through the different roles has definitely come with experience in age, and the, sort of, graduating through the roles.”
13:36 – Jessica tells us her favorite locations she’s performed at, as well as her favorite production she’s been a part of. She worked in Alaska for one of Princess Cruise Line’s travel destinations!
15:54 – Tune in to hear Jessica’s take on what will happen to/come out of the performance industry post-pandemic.
18:05 – No need to go all the way to New York to see a great musical performance! Jessica explains the Chicago theater scene in this section of the podcast.
19:49 – AE Productions is having camps throughout the summer! For more information, visit here.
21:50 – Listen in to hear tricks and tips about how you can become involved in the performance industry.
“You have to be willing to go for it, and try new things, and say yes, and stay late, and work harder, and have more homework, and it really does pay off. The thrill of an audience is like no other.”
23:21 – Jessica talks about the benefits of becoming involved in theater for shy or quiet children. Most importantly, you have to create a safe space for all.
25:18 – Hear what Jessica’s response is when it comes to the competitive nature of theater.
“It’s not about the number of lines, it’s about the energy of engagement … That’s what makes you a good cast member, a good friend, a good company member, a good collaborator; Those are important things.”
26:55 – There are other behind-the-scenes opportunities for children at AE productions that don’t involve being directly on the stage.
28:05 – Listen in to hear Jessica’s inspirations and what made her strive to have this career.
32:14 – Warm up exercises? NECESSARY. Hear some of Jessica’s favorites here!
33:56 – Tune in to hear what it takes to be a good audience member. #1 – Be willing to go along for the ride!
35:46 – Is Jessica a coffee drinker? No! She is a big Diet Coke drinker, though.
37:19 – How should an audience cheer? Hear Jessica’s preference at this timestamp.
38:20 – Tune in to hear Jessica’s professional and personal goals.
Connect with Jessica and AE Productions on the following platforms: