When it comes to American history, a lot has been said of the country’s Founding Fathers, but what about the founding mothers?
As director and choreographer of We Did It For You: Women’s Journey Through History, Bridgewater State University alumna Kerri Cooper is making sure the women who helped shape our country are getting a proper salute.
“This show opens your eyes to the sacrifices and contributions that women have made in acquiring rights in this country,” the 1984 graduate said.
We Did it For You will run at the Marilyn Rodman Performing Arts Center in Foxboro on Feb. 16, in advance of Women’s History Month, which is celebrated in March. The BSU community will have a chance to see the performance when the production comes to campus April 2.
The show rotates its cast every two months and shares the story of women’s rights in America, as told by the women who were there. Typically, there are between 13-21 actors playing the various roles.
Cooper has been with the show since 2017, but she’s been involved in the arts since high school and learned the ropes while earning her theater degree from Bridgewater State.
“There are a lot of people from Bridgewater State that I give high praise to because they got me totally prepared,” she said. “I have my own method of directing, but a lot of it goes back to what I learned…You have your own personal experiences and tweak things, but the basis of how I direct comes from Bridgewater.”
As an undergraduate, Cooper was influenced by faculty members Steven Levine, Lee Dunne, Bob Barnett and Richard Warye.
“Dr. Levine taught me about acting and theatre history, Dunne taught me voice and diction…Barnett gave me my first opportunity to choreograph musicals, and I was part of Dr. Warye’s youth touring company,” she said. “I’ve passed on what they taught me.”
She took what she learned at Bridgewater and continued her education, earning a Master’s in Fine Arts degree from the University of New Orleans. Cooper has worked as a drama and theater teacher at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical School and a professor at Massasoit Community College.
When she isn’t directing, We Did it For You, Cooper can be found teaching the next generation of actors and directors through workshops held at the Christalight Auditorium in Bellingham.
Looking back at her successful career in the theater, she has gained some insight as to why her professors and mentors worked so hard at their craft and what motivated them to teach.
“I love the process; I’ve always loved the process,” Cooper said. “I love the moment when an actor ‘gets’ their character, understands the blocking and it all comes together for them. That ‘eureka’ moment, that’s the big payoff for me.”
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