Claudia Beach

Professor of Theatre Arts

“Make a choice – the boldest choice possible. Then don’t be afraid to fail. In art, a bold failure is far more interesting than wishy-washy, confusing or unclear indecision.”

As a professor of theatre at Henderson State, Claudia Beach says she doesn’t have a traditional relationship with her students.

“Instead, the students and I are collaborating – working together to learn and grow and create art,” she said. “Yes, I get to share some of what I know from my previous studies and experience, but more importantly, we all get to discover new ideas and new approaches together.”

Beach received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theatre from Stephen F. Austin State University. She also received second and third majors in English and political science.

After teaching high school drama and English from 1973-1977 at Ball High School in Galveston, Texas, Beach became a part-time instructor of English at Texas Tech University and later earned her Ph.D. in Fine Arts/Theatre from Texas Tech in 1986.

While in Lubbock, Beach also worked as an IATSE union stagehand/master electrician for about 10 years.

“I toured Broadway shows, major rock concerts, circuses, rodeos, tractor pulls, beauty pageants, ice shows – you name it,” she said.

Beach served as theatre coordinator for the Texas Tech University Center’s Allen Theatre from 1983-1988.

“Sandwiched between jobs and summers, I worked as a professional actor in New Mexico, Colorado and Texas, in summer ‘stock,’ dinner theatres and local TV commercials,” she said.

Beach joined the faculty at Henderson part-time in 1989.

“I had moved here a year earlier with my husband-to-be,” she said. “We had both finished our graduate degrees at Texas Tech and as per our agreement, whoever got the first job determined where we would move. I think we both won on that deal.”

Beach said she still enjoys learning, especially from her students.

“If I had figured out how to make a living doing it, I would have been a student my whole life,” she said. “The next best thing was to become a professor. Honestly, what I enjoy the most about teaching is how much I get to continue learning.

“I keep learning in order to remain up-to-date. I keep learning because every day in the theatre is different with new challenges to meet. I keep learning because every new student teaches me something different about life, creativity and art.”

Beach said the job prospects for theatre students keep growing.

“With the ever expanding ‘venues’ of cable television, digital filmmaking and distribution, and online performance/production avenues, more and more jobs in performance/production are created,” she said. “Also, ‘pure’ theatre (live performance) continues to flourish as it has since the 5th Century BCE.

“Human beings have an innate need to gather together in person and share stories. Even in our darkest economic times, theatre has continued to meet that need.”

If she wasn’t teaching, Beach said she would still be doing theatre “somewhere, somehow.”

“And a little more hiking whenever possible,” she said. “I’d also probably be running for or serving in public office.”

Beach said she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fly fishing and canoeing.

“I just don’t get to do it enough,” she said.

Beach also has a special interest in animals and politics.

“My interest in politics keeps me involved and connected to the world,” she said. “My love of animals – dogs in particular – keep me sane”

Communication and Theatre Arts

Contact Info:

Degree and School:
Ph.D. in Fine Arts/Theatre, Texas Tech University

- American Theatre History

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