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Meet Kari Hayter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kari Hayter.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kari. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up around theatre when my Dad would take me to his rehearsals. He had directed plays in the Airforce and then in community theatre when I was growing up. I was fascinated in the whole process. So it was a no brainer that I did theatre in high school and college. I acted professionally while I was in college and finished my BA with an emphasis in musical theatre, acting and theatre education.

I got my teaching credential so that I could teach and taught middle school and high school Drama and Musical Theatre. I taught middle and high school for eight years and my passion for directing led mine to pursuing an MFA in Directing. The MFA provided more opportunities for directing and my professional career blossomed out of that experience. I was able to teach at the college level and my networking pool increased.

I was driven and motivated to explore opportunities as a freelance professional director and decided to not give up on a dream that I had had back when I was watching my father direct plays and musicals. I sought out opportunities to assist directors and learn from their expertise. I expanded my college teaching experiences. I traveled to new places to direct and challenged myself with larger and more high profile productions. I joined SDC, the Stage Directors/Choreographers union to pursue and honor my commitment of pursing direction as a profession and it has proven a successful experience thus far in my career path.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have gone through many struggles in making decisions that will push my career forward and provide opportunity. Pursuing three, almost four degrees, to determine my path was both challenging, yet rewarding as I was able to expand my knowledge and experiences. In my journey, I obtained a BA in Theatre, an MA in Education, an MFA in Directing and completed three years of a PhD in Theatre that I never finished. Juggling the schedules of being a student and teaching in an academic environment in addition to the rehearsal demands of the professional world simultaneously is challenging. I have had to make difficult decisions to choose one over the other. Both environments have been incredibly rewarding but I have always been faced with the question of which job is the right one at the right time so that I am always challenged artistically and moving my career forward. I have never wanted to feel bored, safe or complacent and am always ready for the next step in my career path regardless of its challenges. Navigating the next step is part of the job.

Tell us more about your work.
I am a freelance director, specializing in musical theatre. I am most passionate for reimagining larger musicals for a more intimate setting and/or approach. I am most proud of advocating for originality in producing and directing musicals and looking for the artistry behind bringing a team together to create work that is dynamic and creative.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Hardworking, organized, patient and open. The ability to really listen and hear others. Good communication.

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