Getting to Know Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso - Dallas Theater Center
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Getting to Know Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso

You’re the Public Works Dallas Manager. Can you tell us about what you do and about Public Works?

Public Works Dallas offers FREE year round opportunities for our community. Our professional Public Artists guide workshops on theater fundamentals, storytelling, playwriting. Each workshop is curated to align with the mission of our community partners. Throughout the year we also host potlucks, viewings of our Dallas Theater Center productions and field trips. At the end of the year we have our culminating pageant production with over 100 community members on stage alongside professionals. This was before the pandemic; now we are focused on virtual offerings, weekly phone calls to our community and supporting our partners in the work they are doing. As Team PWD we coordinate, facilitate and uplift our community!

What is your favorite part of the job?

The humans! Our PWD community members are my friends, my family and my heart. It is a joy to do this work because of them.

How did you start working in theater?

I fell in love with theater as an actor and I soon realized that I loved everything about it including the arts administration side, artistic side and the educational and community engagement side. My husband and I are both artists and we met onstage so theater will always play an important role in our lives.

What is your favorite Dallas Theater Center production and why?

Our 2019 Public Works Dallas production of As You Like It. I had been working at Dallas Theater Center for a month and then we jumped right into rehearsals. I had never experienced such magic in a rehearsal room before. It was special for so many reasons, not only was it my first PWD pageant but it was my husband’s first time working as an Associate Director. Watching this beautifully orchestrated machine of 100’s of humans putting their heart and soul into what seems like an impossible task was the most rewarding theatrical experience I have had the honor of participating in.

Photos by Kim Leeson

 

So much of what you do involves working directly with people. How is your Pubic Works community doing?

Thank you for asking! One of things we do when we call our community is we ask, “How can we support you?” Sometimes they just need a voice to talk to, sometimes we are celebrating birthdays or graduations and sometimes we are mourning community members we have lost. Our hope is to lift them up if they are feeling down but much of the time they lift our spirits up with how hopeful they are and how much they believe in the importance of us being together again.

Speaking of which, the Seed Project just launched. So many amazing pictures came in! Were there any that surprised you?

The Seed Project is a collaboration with our Public Works national partners, we asked our Dallas community to respond to the prompt Today I am planting a seed of…using sidewalk chalk or art they could create from their homes. We had community members drawing on napkins or writing out hand written messages, they were so eager to be a part of something that could bring joy to our communities across the country!

Public Works Dallas has several workshops coming up. What can you tell us about them?

They are FREE, they are virtual and all are welcome!!! Anyone who is interested in learning more can email me at stephanie.cleghorn@dallastheatercenter.org. I would love to tell you more!

If you could meet anyone from history who would you meet and why?

In no particular order…Cleopatra, Princess Di and Frida Kahlo. Strong, powerful women who overcame adversity and created beauty from tragic circumstances.

What is your favorite thing to do while sheltering in place?

Our favorite thing to do is to come up with new adventures. We have tried cooking, training for a 5k, right now we are really invested in a 100 day 100 push-up challenge.

Do you have any advice for people who don’t want to go onstage, but would like to be involved in the theater?

Yes! Volunteer, take classes, see all the shows. Come experience Public Works with us!

Is there anything I haven’t asked you about that you like to talk about?

We are living in a challenging time; many of us are hurting because of this pandemic, because of social injustice and because of the uncertainty that surrounds us. Team PWD really believes in self-care. Be kind to yourself, take a breath, connect with another human if you can. We are in this together and I hope we will be stronger because of it, I hope that we won’t take things for granted and that we will love a little harder every day. I look forward to meeting new faces and if you are reading this, we invite you to join our PWD family!