In case you wanted to know more about me, here it is.

I was born and raised in Chicago, and I still live near the city.  I got my undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana. My major was performance of literature also known as Oral Interpretation/Speech Communications or how to get a job at Starbucks. I basically picked a major the night before I had to declare by looking in the course catalog and comparing each major's requirements to what I had already taken. I took a ton of theatre and English classes with no clear idea of why except that I loved them. I had 11 people in my major at a school with over 30,000 people. This was pretty cool. We were all very close, and decades later we still keep in touch. Many of them are involved in theatre, acting, writing, etc.  It definitely scratched my itch for drama and being around creative people.  It also means that I literally had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew what I liked.  What's up with those people who know from when they were 3 that they wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer.? That takes the "fun" out of it all.

After graduating, I worked at a few jobs including helping to start a theatre group, public relations and ticket sales at two theatre presenters, and a brief stint with a video production company as a PA.  I also did a ton of house and dog sitting which let me pretend I had money and could live in the best neighborhoods in Chicago.

Like so many of you, I met my future husband at a bar one night and knew immediately that we would get married. He was a teacher, so I thought if he is going to have his summers off I will hate him if I have to get up and go to work.  I decided to go back to school, get certified to teach high school English, and work towards a master's degree.  I was able to get a great job at a very nice school and taught high school English, speech, and journalism.  I  also worked on finishing my master's degree while I was pregnant with my son. How do I remember this? I was so miserable and uncomfortably pregnant that I couldn't sit in the seats in my night class and had to lay down on the floor in the back of the room. Good times. I wrote my thesis just months after he was born. How do I remember this? I have very clear memories of him banging on the office door and screaming as I was trying to write 100 pages. Good times.

I taught full time for about 6 years, and then when my daughter decided to show up 17 months after her brother, I said, "Uncle." I know a lot of women work full time with kids and do it well.  I knew I could be a great teacher or a great mom, but I could not be both so I quit my job. Times were, for sure, lean. I won't bore you with those details except to say it really sucked.

I did eventually go back to teaching and supervising at night for a test preparation company for about 10 years. I loved that I could still be a teacher and keep my mind active, but I struggled with getting really excited about teaching commas. Just about the time I decided I was done with teaching and needed a career change, a friend got me an interview at a university teaching humanities courses as a visiting professor.  I had to teach a mock lesson for the interview, and when I finished they just stared at me. I thought I blew it. The first words out of their mouths were, "Wow, that's the best lesson we've ever seen."  I've been teaching there since 2011.. 

I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  For sure, I miss those theatre days, the crazy personalities, the excitement of opening night, and the final performance after-party.  Actually, my dream job would be to be a dramaturg. For those of you who don't know what this is, I'll cite Wikipedia. A dramaturg "is a literary adviser or editor in a theatre, opera, or film company who researches, selects, adapts, edits, and interprets scripts, libretti, texts, and printed programmes (or helps others with these tasks), consults with authors, and does public relations work."   How fun to have a job with "drama" in the title?!  I think I'd be perfect.

-Nancy Beach

Couldn't resist the "drama" of the wings.
Couldn't resist the "drama" of the wings.