I believe in troubling the boundaries between low and high art, and spend much of my working life exploring the intersections between classical texts, traditional musical instruments, folk and traditional songs, and scholarship as practice. As a performer, researcher, and educator, I believe that texts and performance are both re-invigorated by ongoing conversation with one another.
As a performer, I believe in storytelling that understands, grows through, and breaks from, the traditions that preceded it. No storytelling tradition owns a monopoly on narrative or dramatic genius, and reaching backwards can often pull forward novel approaches to established stories. Likewise, no single creed or culture owns drama and performance, so art is invariably diminished by any unwillingness to consider approaches and texts outside accepted canon.
As a researcher and player of folk and traditional music, I believe that the songs that we sing shape us even as we shape them. I believe that people find identity through the music that they own and the songs that they play. Consequently, I believe that effective composing is the art of finding the songs, and sounds, and lyrics that belong to a play, or an ensemble, or an event, and giving performers the greatest possible chance to sing the stories their project needs. My aesthetic is characterized by the uncompromising use of acoustic instruments played by visible onstage performers whose bodily co-presence with audience members creates communitas with spectators yearning for intimate, unmediated theatrical connections.
As an educator, I believe that every learner carries valid experiences and personal perspectives into classrooms–formal and otherwise. I believe in multiple knowledges, and welcome conversation with any worldview that has been tempered by rigorous self-analysis. I am most interested in working with students, teachers, and collaborators who allow themselves to balance grounded positions with the willingness to remain agile and open to change.
SCOTT MCKENNA CAMPBELL is a Wisconsin based performer specializing in classical acting, theatrical music composition, and theatre research. A theatre-maker and PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he has performed with professional theatre companies in Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and Wisconsin. He holds a BA from the College of Wooster and an M.Litt from Mary Baldwin University’s Shakespeare and Performance program.