New FPA Prof Brings Love of Theatre and Teaching
Andrea Williams, the newest faculty member of our Fine and Performing Arts Department, combined her love of teaching with her passion for the theatre, history and sewing to create a career that focuses on costume design. A graduate of a small, liberal arts college, she decided to come to MCLA to teach in a similar environment, where she finds the same opportunities available to her students that she herself enjoyed in college.
As an undergraduate at Ripon College in Ripon, Wis., “I loved how close I was able to get to my classmates and professors,” Williams said. “MCLA was just what I was looking for. I like feeling that I am a part of something.”
Williams earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in costume design and technology from the University of Arkansas–Fayetteville. She brings to MCLA an extensive background on period costumes – an area she’s particularly fond of due to her interest and keen affection for history – as well as experience with opera, musicals, contemporary theatre and dance.
She decided to make costume design her life’s profession because, “You never know what you’re going to be researching or working on next. You can work on a play numerous times, but each production is different. No two days are ever the same.”
From a family of educators, Williams says she’s always wanted to teach.
“I love the idea of being able to inspire someone to look at something in a new way, or to think about something they haven’t thought about before,” she explained. “I got into sewing in college and learned I was good at it. I like the creative nature of design and I’ve always loved history. Pursuing costume design let me keep all my interests.”
Her experience and interest in a wide variety of genres allows her to show her students how the various aspects of the theatre intersect. “No experience is wasted,” Williams said. “Knowing about dance costumes means that if we happen to do a show that has dancing in it, I can handle it.”
In addition to her academic experience, Williams has worked for a variety of theatre companies, including The Goodman Theatre Company and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, Ill.; as well as others in Wisconsin, Idaho and Kansas.
She aims to encourage her students to continue to expand the theatre profession through innovation.
“I want to teach students to be competitive in the field, whether they want to go to graduate school or get out and get to work,” she said. “Being at MCLA gives me the chance to help grow what I love.”