This week meet Gai Jones, a theatre educator who loves creative thinking, collaboration, and the magic of storytelling on stage.
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
RAGTIME inspires me each time I see it. I was in high school when my school was integrated. One day there were no African Americans enrolled; a second day Raymond Baker sat behind me; he became a friend, an intellectual equal.
Some high school classmates had some lessons to learn.
What’s your happiest moment in theatre?
The time when the house lights dim out and the next moment in darkness when the audience enters into a willing suspension of belief of the magic of story telling.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
Once attended a production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. The first act was riddled with nonworking mics. At intermission, the director appeared on stage to announce “Mics are now working, so we will repeat Act I.” A groan fell over the theater.
Why do you love theatre?
The avenues of 21st century skills of collaboration, communication, creative thinking and critical thinking are never ending in Theatre, whether it is in educational, community, or professional venues.
Theatre is for...
TRY, TRY AGAIN ARTISTS
Because creating theatre is all about making adjustments, without losing energy.
More about Gai
Gai Jones, Founder of CA Youth in Theatre, entered educational theatre by way of a small liberal arts college for women in Oklahoma which offered a specialized degree, BA in Speech and Drama, an equivalent of a BFA. While teaching eighth grade Speech/Drama in Fullerton, CA, she completed an MA in Theatre as the first woman to receive the degree at CA State University, Fullerton in 1968. For her thesis she performed a one- woman show based on the evolution from Elocution to modern Oral Interpretation of Literature. She taught Theatre at El Dorado High School, Placentia, CA, for thirty-four years. Upon retirement, the Black Box Theater was named The Gai Jones Theater. Served on SCETA board, CETA SO and CETA boards as member-at-large, then President; Regional Director of Educational Theatre Association; CA State Thespian Director. Named to Who’s Who in Secondary Education, Young Leaders of Education, Who’s Who in Women Educators; Inductee into the ED TA and CA Thespian Hall of Fames; Recipient of CETA Outstanding Educator; Founder of CA Youth in Theatre, EdTA Presidents Award.
She is included in THE WORLD’S WHO’S WHO OF WOMEN; SECONDARY EDUCATORS OF AMERICA; YOUNG EDUCATORS OF AMERICA; CAAE LEADERS IN THEATRE EDUCATION; STAGE DIRECTIONS, LEADERS IN AMERICA. She has been installed into the following Halls of Fame: Outstanding Arts Educator for Orange County; CETA Outstanding Educator; CA State Thespians; EdTA Hall of Fame, CA; has been granted a Theatre In Our Schools Award with AATE; PTSA Service Award; she is a member of DAR, Zeta Phi Eta, AATE, EdTA.
Mrs. Jones lives with husband Dr. Wendell Jones in Ojai and is supportive of daughters Marcie Swan, elementary educator in south LA; Karyn Carney, educator; son-in-law Michael, who recently returned from service in Iraq, and grandson Laith.
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