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Meet Katie Northlich

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Northlich.

Katie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
There is a floating theory that an artistic craft chooses us. That once the bug bites, we are beholden to IT.

Everyone has a different story. But in my case, this theory rings true. For as long as I can remember, I feel like I haven’t just wanted to entertain people, but rather I’ve needed to.

I was lucky enough to have Dance as my first, and most great, teacher. I am an Actor, Improviser, Playwright, Sketch writer, Author, Solo Performer, and Physical Theatre artist: but it all stems from Dance. I always tell people that Dance taught me how to act, Dance taught me how to write, and Dance taught me how to be funny.

I grew up dancing in Northern California. Individualism was discussed in my home- who are you becoming? What will you say? I majored in Dance in college and ended up eventually receiving my BA in Theatre from UC Irvine. I think my need to be literally loud, and goofy, and my love of text, pushed me from only using my body as an instrument, to fully explore all aspects of the theatre.

I moved to NYC after college graduation. I just knew I had to go to that great behemoth of a city, where all the great history of theatre was. I wanted to be around it, and do it, and see it, and feel it. Maybe I thought that if I could figure out New York City, that would mean something. I did it all: plays, workshops, readings, classes, comedy shows, trainings, auditions, regional contracts. Met amazing people, created lifelong relationships, tons of day jobs, had enormous highs, and devastating lows. I made it my home. I came of age, as both an artist and a person. What I am most proud of is how much I wrote my own material in NYC. From the second I arrived there, I began writing my own shows, and monologues, and comedic vignettes. I would book myself in theatres- not knowing anyone, or having any material- and the booking would be a deadline to actually write a show. And by show, I mean whatever I thought was funny, or interesting. I honed those muscles and became better and better at crafting my own work. I became a Four Time National Monologue Champion, and my work was produced at critically acclaimed venues.

A few years ago, after well over a decade in NYC, I could feel that it was time for the next chapter. And so, as hard as it was, I leaped to LA. It’s been an awesome ride. The New Yorker in me has had a delightful time seeking new hilltops on the West Coast. I’ve been training at the Groundlings, moving my way into their writing program. I booked six commercials in 2019. And I teach acting at an awesome arts college in LA, the Studio School.

It’s been a thrilling ride to today. But what’s awesome- and perhaps even surprising- is that I’m just as inspired now as I was the first day I got off the airplane in NYC. I want to tell stories. I want to create. I want to make people laugh.

The entertainment bug did, indeed, bite, and has never let go.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Omg! I think the struggle is perhaps an inherent part of an artist’s journey. Of any journey, really. Struggle gives us really cool dimensions. I am grateful for those dimensions. It connects me to others in profound ways. Isn’t that what we’re always looking for- a knowledge that someone else made it out of the fire? If they can, so can I?

In acting, you can’t put ‘almosts’ on your resume. You can’t really use your ‘almosts’ at Thanksgiving to impress the family, and you can’t hang your hat on ‘almosts’ because as much as you were in contention- you didn’t get the gig. Also- ‘almosts’ don’t pay the bills. So I think what happens to an actor who sticks it out through a wild landscape of ‘almosts,’ ‘maybe’s,’ ‘I never heard back’s’ and, of course, ‘no’s’, is that you start to feel the effect of loss and- you release your need for a ‘yes’, just a little, and do your thing anyway. You didn’t get a job but you perform anyway. You didn’t get a review or audience for a show but you get up the next day to go to your morning class. You lost out on a big paycheck but you head to rehearsal for your friend’s workshop. You step ahead, wearing your loss. And something sort of magical begins to happen. The rejection starts to bounce OFF your desire because your desire has steadily grown. That’s a profound place to be: if someone says ‘no’ to you, and you find a way to make it happen anyway… what kind of person are you becoming? When no one is looking, who are you?

It’s exciting for your creativity, to see what it does in the space of loss. It’s those quiet spaces, that who we are really begins to develop, I think. At least, that has definitely happened for me.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I honed my chops as a solo performer. Being onstage by myself so much became a place of education for me, for both comedy and drama. My ability to listen to an audience grew and developed. I feel I carry that ability to listen well with me wherever I preform, whether on stage or on set.

I love looking at being a performer and writer as being an alchemist of space. I think that as a performers, we alchemize a space. That’s how it feels.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My training and booking are advancing in LA, and I am proud of that. I plan to keep advancing my training- always staying in class, always growing, always becoming better than I was the day before.

I have a myriad of writing projects in the works. Those will hopefully beget more projects. Especially, I want to finish the novel I started writing.

Telling stories is important to me. I have many I want to tell!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jonny Marlow Photography

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