We are so excited to introduce you to a multi-talented Shreveport-based teacher and artist, Laura Beeman Nugent. Laura teaches high school theatre and film at Loyola College Prep and is an adjunct instructor at Bossier Parish Community College, where she is committed to equipping the next generation of artists with the skills necessary to pursue their creative ambitions. In addition to her teaching roles, she is heavily involved in community theatre and serves as Shreveport Little Theatre’s Director of the Children’s Theatre Academy, Choreographer and Director as well as Director of Summer Camp for the Robinson Film Center. She truly has a heart and passion for working with children and youth and we were so excited we had the opportunity to ask her a few questions to learn more about her work in the arts and her incredible commitment to kids and her community.
Why is your art important to you?
After touring the United States and Canada with Missoula Children’s Theatre, I realized that I was called to be a children’s theatre practitioner. I feel the arts implemented in a child’s life at a young age can have an enormous impact on their lives. I have seen so many children truly discover themselves and their own passions by being involved in the arts. Knowing that I could be cultivating the next practitioners in my field gives me hope for the sustainability of the arts!
What do you want your art to say?
I want people to understand that educational theatre is about the experience and what students can learn from the process rather than the end product.
What project are you working on now?
Currently, I am working on choreographing a show within our education theatre academy with high school performers and directing and choreographing a show with our elementary and middle school performers.
Who is your favorite artist?
Personally, I am a huge Bob Fosse fan! I feel that he is a fantastic study for the director/choreographer. As far as theatre educators, I admire both my college mentors Ray Scott Crawford and Cherrie Sciro. Their devotion to higher educational theatre laid the foundation for me to pursue the educational path of theatre.
How has arts education impacted your life?
What started as an interest in middle and high school has ended being my life’s work. I have been able to do so many things through theatre education, too many to list individually. I think watching children grow through participation has made the greatest impact on my life.
Laura Beeman Nugent, a local actress/director/choreographer, begin working with Shreveport Little Theatre 20 years ago in Dearly Departed (1997) and has considered SLT as one of her theatre homes since that time. While Laura started out as an actress for SLT, she began using her passion and training in dance, becoming the choreographer for SLT in the early 2000s and eventually making her directorial debut at SLT in 2011 with her Master Thesis project Little Shop of Horrors with her theatre partner, Adam Philley. Laura also helped co-found the Shreveport Little Theater Academy in 2007 and has served as choreographer since its inception. In 2011, Laura began her position as Academy Administrator and director/choreographer for the Academy, more recently being named as Academy Artistic Director. She holds her Associate of the Arts degree with a concentration in Theatre from BPCC, a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts with a concentration in Theatre from Louisiana Tech University. She also holds her Master of Liberal Arts with 18 graduate hours in Theatre from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Laura has appeared on many stages throughout the North Louisiana area playing some of her favorite characters including, but not limited to: Amy in Company, Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Matron in Hairspray, Eunice in A Street Car Named Desire, and various characters in Parallel Lives. Educationally, she served as a Tour Actor and Director for the Missoula Children’s Theatre Company, a touring company specializing in theatre for children. She has also been the company choreographer for Canterbury Summer Theatre, near Chicago, as well as a choreographer Bossier Parish Community College and the Performing Arts Center at First United Methodist Church of Shreveport. She cannot fail to mention her mother Carol, husband Clay, and daughter Lorelei for their continued love and support of her passion.