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My Top 11 TAP Memories as I Depart

by Dustin Wills, Programming Specialist

11.Lindsey, the “fake” volunteer: I have an alter ego at the Theatre Action Project office, who is Lindsey, one of the most troublesome volunteers you could ever imagine. She is overzealous, always lost and enjoys leaving ten minute messages on the TAP voicemail, most of which are her accidentally forgetting to hang up. Poor Megan Fullen received the bulk of this whim.

10. Karaoke at the Christmas party: Particular highlights include Natalie Goodnow stealing Peter’s microphone and singing the Thong Song, Amanda Hashagen’s rendition of White Rabbit and of course Sarah Rinner bringing her own copy of WHAM’s Last Christmas.

 9. Piano Time: Some very nice person donated an old turn of the century player piano to TAP, with scrolls of old music. Thus began a sometime tradition of the staff gathering around to sing old lauds from yesteryear. It also ended up in a play I directed – which is also when we tuned it.

8. Taking students to the Globe theatre replica: I had the pleasure of taking students from Copperfield Elementary to the Globe Theatre replica in Austin, where they put on a performance of the storm form Twelfth Night. It was the perfect culminating event for a great first semester at that campus.

7. The Revenge: Many may not know that until recently TAP had a kickball team called the Revenge. The Revenge was well named because we never won, so, were always on the revenge. Who could forget Sarah’s infamous Sasquatch armbands, Red Fox’s actual red fox shirt and Julia Smith’s scream of terror running down the first base line?

6. Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed/PTO Conference in Omaha: An incident with the tiny bicycle. And of course, listening to Augusto Boal speak.

5. TAP-ABS or Friday Beyonce dance party: For about 1 month we had a weekly workout regime here at TAP that involved crunches, push-ups and a Flashdance. This fizzled away quickly but was replaced by a Friday Beyonce office dance party – usually to Single Ladies. Staying active!

4. Parades, in general: I have collaborated closely with Karen on 2 First Night parades, 2 Summer processions and a Pageant play about the Life of Cesar Chavez. Planning such large-scale community projects is sometimes frustrating, demanding and overwhelming, but is always rewarding and fun. Lots of late night puppet making with Karen – sometimes so late the delirium kicks in and you begin to wonder if there is a carbon monoxide leak… lots of lifting and sweating and corralling and running up and down parade lines. A great time, to say the least.

3. Seeing the Cycle 4 and 6 students grow up: For 4 years I have worked primarily with 6 schools: T.A. Brown, Wooldridge, Hart, Barrington, Wooten and Reilly – I have watched these kids mature from 1st to 5th grade through our after-school program, from our First Night and Summer Pageants and in our touring programs like Heroes and The Courage to Stand. I am frequently amazed by their growth into strong creative individuals who hold TAP values as their own. These are testaments to the impact TAP has over time.

2. Daily Face -2-Face time with Florinda Bryant: Florinda and I tend to sit facing each other in the office, slightly obscured by a computer screen or a file cabinet – no matter which room of the office we move into. I think that is because of our one-shot faces. I have practically memorized Florinda’s facial expressions, like the face on a barometer. One look can make me burst into laughter or immediately leave the room. I like to think she can read mine too… and if she can’t, she can always tell by the number of empty coffee cups on my desk. This office time also included lots of singing, secret messages, G-chats, and raising a child together (or we like to pretend)…

1. Courage to Stand at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired: This was by far the most rewarding singular moment for me at TAP. The courage offered by these students in the context of this program left me speechless. Karen later created a way for me to return to the TSBVI to teach an in school theatre program with the Elementary students. Every week I was inspired by these students and was taught volumes about ability, strength and the limitless potential of the imagination. I could not thank those kids more for what they gave me that semester.


  • Amanda Hashagan as “The Creeper”
  • Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble 2009 show
  • The Story of Humphry and Lucille
  • TAP lunch-share
  • TAP staff scavenger hunts
  • Papier Mache, in general.
Dustin leaves Theatre Action Project to attend grad school at the Yale School of Drama this fall where he will be in the directing program. We will miss you Dustin.

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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