By Susan Cavalcanti
The Theater program at PASB certainly has room for growth, and Ms. Patricia Aileen Murray has been hired precisely to help our school reach that potential. Ms. Pat, as she prefers to be called, is now the heading up Drama at PASB, leads one of the School Drama Clubs, and teaches Year 1 and 2 IB Theater SL, Grades 7-10 Drama and 10th grade English; however, her passion transcends her given tasks, and she will surely be an invaluable addition to our school.
Scoop: Hi Ms. Pat! Tell us a bit about where you’re from and who you are.
Ms. Pat: I’m Canadian, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is my first year at an international school, and I’m having a great time!
Scoop: So tell us what your college major was and why you chose it.
Ms. Pat: So, my college major was Theater and Education at Queen’s University, and I chose to do it because Theater is my calling. I’ve been an actress and a singer since as far back as I can remember, and I decided at the age of 36 to get formal training in terms of being able to teach. I was going through a seperation, and I was afraid that being a singer and an actress might not give my kids the security they needed, as a single mom. So I thought, ok, I’ll continue in the arts and teach, and still be able to bring my kids to the dentist!
Scoop: How long have you been teaching?
Ms. Pat: My first year of teaching was 2001 when I built a Drama department at a downtown, inner city High School- Toronto District School. This is now my 17th year teaching; teaching in both in the private and public school system.
Scoop: How has it been, adapting to the school and Brazil? From teaching at an international school to your daily routine.
Ms. Pat: My daily routine has been good, except that my schedule at the school has changed a couple of times. I’m teaching High School and Middle School combined, so it’s very difficult to figure out where I need to be and when I’m supposed to be there. So that’s been a bit of a change. Plus, how many times I’ve had to go to the government for things that need to get done is... bizarre! I’ve had to leave my IB class with a sub with one day’s notice; but I guess that’s just the way it is. I love Brazil, I love where I live- I live in Barra- and I’m loving the energy at this school. I’m really, I’m loving it here.
Scoop: What was your singing and acting experience growing up?
Ms. Pat: I have always been involved. As a singer, my parents were both musicians, so as far a I can remember it was a musical household. Always singing, always performing. I remember being about four and my dad putting me up on the kitchen counter. He sang a note and just asked me to sing with him, and I sang a fourth [musical interval]. He was very excited and called my mom to tell her I apparently had relative pitch- when you just hear harmonies. I always thought it was something everyone just had, that it was natural, and only later in life I understood that some people had a lot of trouble hearing harmonies. I started private vocal lessons when I was in grade seven, and in terms of theater, I started going to private theater schools at around grade ten. I continued doing amateur theater for a very long time. Professional singing I started doing twenty-seven years ago...when I started getting paid...and professional theatre earlier than that. I can’t remember when. Earlier.
Scoop: What was the most interesting theatrical production you have have been a part of?
Ms. Pat: Probably the most interesting show that I did was a musical version written by my prof of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. It is supposedly the toughest book to read, so my prof locked himself up in a cottage and wrote a musical. I played Kate the Washer Woman, where I had to use an Irish dialect on words that made no sense to begin with. We played at a big theater in Toronto called The Tarragon nine years ago.
Scoop: What are your plans for the drama department?
Ms. Pat: I was hired to build the program. I was told that the school has a large budget to build a big auditorium/sports centre and if I stay long enough I hope to be able to be involved in that design process. So, for this first year I decided to just do smaller things, but next year we are definitely going to push for a big production- I hope we get the rights for the show I want! But the long term plan is to make PASB internationally famous for its drama department.
Scoop: Anything else you’d like the school community to know?
Ms. Pat: Well, I think that most people think of drama class as requiring you to perform, and that’s not the reality. You can be in drama class and work on design, writing, and all the production aspect that without… Well, without them, the actors would look like idiots. One of the things we like to teach in Drama class is about the community and sense of trust above all else, so it’s really a valuable opportunity for anyone.
Scoop: Thank you! We look forward to receiving more news on the exciting performances and opportunities ahead.
Ms. Pat has great plans and seems to know the right steps to make the arts at PASB praise-worthy. This might be her first year teaching IB, but she is committed to mastering the requirements and getting all her students to receive the highest possible scores. If you haven’t yet, stop by her after-school Drama Club- Monday and Wednesday from 2:30 to 3:30- or take an experimental IB Theater class, and keep on checking the Scoop for more news, interviews, and reviews regarding the PASB Theater program.
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