Leigh is a theatre artist born in the United States and raised in Canada. In her small hometown, arts programs were scarce and she was constantly told “the arts” and her “singing ambitions” were not feasable career choices. All it took was one great teacher in her junior year who put on the first musical her high school had seen in ages. The following year, after successfully directing and starring in her own student-led production of Chicago that won multiple provincial awards, Leigh pursued a degree in theatre at the University of Ottawa. She moved to New York City in 2010 where she earned her conservatory diploma from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, as well as a BFA from the New School University; becoming the first in her family to earn a college degree.
On top of performing around the city, Leigh was privileged to work as an administrator with the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s cross-cultural program DanceMotion USA℠. This deeply influencial experience underscored her desire to make a positive impact. She had long had a passion for the learning experience as well as working with kids. The fusion of her art with education just made beautiful sense. She worked as an artist caretaker, providing unique arts-based experiences to children of all ages, volunteered for educational programs such as Reading Partners, and continues today to build personalized arts-based curricula to teach French as a second language. Since Fall 2017, she has been an assistant teaching artist with Marquis Studios, working in schools around the city in various mediums such as musical theatre, mask, and dance. Leigh was absolutely thrilled to be accepted into Community-Word’s Teaching Artist Project and is now looking forward to pursue more teaching artist opportunities. She aspires to be a person like her high school teacher who dared something new and creative. That one person’s actions have led to more diverse and elaborate arts programs in her hometown and today, Leigh is happy to report, many more students are pursuing careers in the arts!
"It has been a true privilege to be instructed by a wonderful staff of individuals at CWP who truly and deeply care about our success. It was equally an honor to get to know and learn alongside an amazing group of artists. With TAP, I interned with Jacqueline Raymond and Moira-Jo Trachtenberg-Thielking at PS 171 in Queens, assisting a theatre and poetry class with both 2nd and 3rd graders. What’s more, TAP connected me with Arts for All, who gave me the opportunity to intern with Patrick McGee in a 1st grade, literacy through the arts program at Hamilton Heights Elementary. Along the way, I’ve been able to share some of my experiences on the TAP blog as well. TAP has given me so much knowledge and experience, and perhaps most importantly, a community. It has been a beautiful journey!"
Most Memorable TAP Moment:
“Truthfully, there were so many important moments that were enlightening, moving, and/or just plain fun! The classroom internships, the outstanding seminars, and even some of my volunteer hours spent editing poems with kids at PS 37 in the Bronx, were all brimming with countless memorable moments. One I would like to share, however, is the feeling I had at the Panel on Professionalism held at the Dedalus Foundation. I looked around and saw artists and educators gathered in one space, from a variety of backgrounds, artistic mediums, and organizations, all motivated and inspired to lift each other up so that we may better serve those who matter most, our students. It was one of those moments where I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be, among people who care deeply, as I do, and it was utterly inspiring."
Find out more about Leigh here:
Check out Leigh's Lesson Plan she created in her CWP residency.