Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Martineau
NICOLE MARTINEAU '15
Theatre & Biology Teacher
Mountain Crest High School
When did you graduate and what is something you’ve accomplished since graduating that you are proud of?
I graduated in May 2015. Since I've graduated I've directed 9 shows and worked with over 1000 high school students - a number that just blows me away. I feel most fulfilled in those quiet moments with students when a "light" goes off in their heads, and they suddenly realize what it is to be a theater artist. I'm so proud of what my students create in the shop, in class, and on stage.
Could you tell us a bit about your journey since USU and how you’ve gotten to where you are today?
My first job was at a STEM-focused charter school, teaching biology, AP Biology, and PE (science education was my major at USU). I quickly discovered that I loved the rigor of a collegiate high school, but I longed to create and direct and act. The most fun I had that first year was when I created a social dancing unit for the PE class - and that was when I knew I *had* to teach theater. That year, a new position opened up at another high school nearby with a theater opening, and I applied right away! Now I direct three shows a year, accompany students to Drama Convention and help them prepare for drama competition - and I also teach theater classes throughout the year.
Tell us about the work you are doing now. What is a typical day like for you?
Every day usually starts with some prep time - I plan for my classes and try to anticipate any challenges in my classes or after-school rehearsals. After teaching, I oversee an improv comedy club and rehearsals for the play or musical. in addition, I also provide most of the design work for the show, so I collaborate with students and fellow teachers to bring all aspects of a production together. On particularly busy days, I'm also designing show posters, coordinating with choreographers, and reading plays to pick shows for an upcoming season. I have lots of help from involved parents and my Thespian presidency members. I love it.
How did your time at USU prepare you for your current position? Are there any specific skills, competencies, or understandings you developed at USU that you might not have otherwise developed?
I'd be completely lost here without the skills I learned at USU: how to build flats, create a lighting plot, design a costume, research a show, manage a classroom, build an ensemble, create a stage picture, help students discover their characters ... I use what I learned there literally every day.
What is one of your favorite memories from your time in USU’s Theatre Education program?
I have good memories in the costume shop and running costume crew for shows. I really enjoyed my Theatre Education classes where we got to act as students for the lesson plans our colleagues made - I learned so much from my fellow future-educators about cultural literacy and excellent teaching. We built puppets, traveled back in time, created silent films... all of them amazing classroom ideas which I still use.
What advice would you offer to a potential student considering studying theatre education at USU?
Don't be afraid to try something new, especially if you think it's scary.