Mary Katherine Smith-Gall is the Director of Education at Parkway Playhouse. She created and coordinates the Parkway Playhouse Junior program, which is the Parkway Playhouse’s award-winning educational initiative which serves students in Avery, Mitchell, Yancey, and Madison Counties. She also oversees the Parkway Playhouse’s College Internship program and High School Apprentice program.
Originally from Waynesville, North Ccarolina, Mary Katherine has been working with Parkway Playhouse Junior students since September 2010. She lives in Burnsville with her husband and children.
Why do you enjoy being a teaching artist and working with Parkway Playhouse Junior students?
Parkway Playhouse Junior has some of the most motivated, hard working kids I have ever worked with in my 15+ years of teaching! Their dedication, creativity, drive, and passion is so contagious that it is a joy to work as hard as I do to continue to grow the program today. I LOVE having the opportunity to not only pass along my passion and love for the performing arts to the next generation, but also the opportunity to learn from the wonderful budding artist that continue to challenge and inspire me every day.
How are you passionate about the Arts?
I was in born into a family who loved music, art, theatre, and dance.I was fortunate enough to have two brilliant mentors, Marilyn Cloutier and Shelia Radford Sumpter, who trained me in all styles of dance for close to 20 years. I can not image what my life would have been like had it not been for the influence of these two ladies and their passion for performing arts.They allowed me to start assisting in dance classes as a teenager which really began my career as a teaching artist. I remember at age 13 being so delighted with the younger children I was assisting and helping them grow as young artists filled my soul with light.
The arts are important because they lead us to discover things about ourselves that we might not otherwise know. It is this sense of discovery that has kept me engaged as an artist and drives me as a teacher. I cannot image any other path bringing me the joy and fulfillment that music, drama, and dance provide. Theatre is my job, but also my heart and soul. Inspiring others to think, feel, be… That is what the arts bring to the lives of our audience. There is nothing else quite like it in the world.
She has performed in numerous regional productions, variety shows, and events over the past two decades and has been a guest choreographer and performing arts instructor at Dance Studios, theatres, public schools, and other venues throughout Western North Carolina.
Onstage at the Parkway Playhouse, she has appeared in many roles, including Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Hazel in the world premier of An Uncivil Union: The Battle of Burnsville, Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical the Musical, Alice Nutting/Edwin Drood in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
HONORS AND DISTINCTIONS
Mary Katherine had the honor of being selected as one of eight theatre educators from the 2014 Junior Theater Festival to participate in the "Freddie G Experience." She received a fully funded weekend in New York City complete with performances, celebrations and professional workshops. The weekend included master classes with award-winning Broadway professionals including song writers, directors, choreographers and lighting designers. In addition to the extensive training Mary Katherine Smith-Gall received, Parkway Playhouse Junior received $5,000 for programming. She continues to be an active member in the Freddie G Fellowship today.
SELECTIVE TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Teaching Artist - August 2014 to present
Subs with Suitcases - Penland School of Crafts, Mitchell County Schools, NC
Resident Choreographer - April 2009 to present
Parkway Playhouse, Inc
Dance Instructor/Choreographer - August 2010 to June 2015
Dance and Karate Express, Burnsville, NC
Performing Arts Instructor/Choreographer - June 2008 to June 2009
Asheville Arts Center, Asheville, NC
Performing Arts Instructor/Choreographer - January 2007 to January 2008
MusicWorks! Studio of the Performing Arts, Waynesville, NC
Dance Instructor/Choreographer - July 2005 to April 2006
WNC Dance Center, Sylva, NC
Mary Katherine has been performing since the age of three and has studied with instructors from all over the world at many professional institutions, including: the Henny Jurriëns Stichting in The Netherlands and the Pineapple Performing Arts School and Studio in London, England.
Her training includes classical and contemporary ballet, lyrical and classical jazz, modern dance, classical tap, improv dance and choreography, theatrical dance, voice training including choral, pop, country, rock, and musical theatre, stage dialects, and acting for both camera and stage.
Mary Katherine is on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-katherine-smith-gall-59aa6a84