Balance Is Key to Foulger’s DramaTech Role

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Amelia Pavlik
Institute Communications
404-385-4142

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From a witch in Macbeth to an Andean grandmother in Condor Qatay, Melissa Foulger has played a lot of parts in her life. But her current role as artistic director with DramaTech is one of the most challenging — and rewarding — she’s ever experienced.

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From a witch in Macbeth to an Andean grandmother in Condor Qatay, Melissa Foulger has played a lot of parts in her life. But her current role as artistic director with DramaTech is one of the most challenging — and rewarding — she’s ever experienced. 

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From a witch in Macbeth to an Andean grandmother in Condor Qatay, Melissa Foulger has played a lot of parts in her life. But her current role as artistic director with DramaTech is one of the most challenging — and rewarding — she’s ever experienced. 

“This balancing act between advising the students and letting them make their own decisions — and sometimes mistakes — is challenging,” said Foulger, who has been in the position since 2008. “Each group of students I work with year to year has different needs when it comes to how much I assist them.” 

There are certain tasks that she’s always responsible for, such as working with them on the budget, but when it comes to everything else related to putting on the productions, Foulger makes it a point to ask the students what they do and don’t want her help with.   

“To avoid stepping on their toes, communication is really key to success,” Foulger said. “When I feel strongly about what they should do, I try to be transparent regarding the reasons why.” 

Foulger also makes it a point to be available to communicate with the students whenever they need her, which sometimes means responding to emails or texts after 9 p.m.

“Being this responsive turns this into more of a 24-hour job, but that’s OK with me,” she said. “I love how intelligent these students are and how engaged they are with DramaTech. Getting to work with them is what makes this job so satisfying.” 

Recently, The Whistle learned more about Foulger and her time at Tech. 

Did you always want to be in theater?
Absolutely. My mother tells stories about how when I was a toddler, I would clear the hearth at my grandparents’ house, stand on it, and put on plays. That was just the beginning.

How did you arrive at Tech?       
While I was working on my master’s of fine arts in directing at the University of Memphis, I was required to get an internship and found one at Atlanta’s 7 Stages Theatre. This internship evolved into a paying job as the associate artistic director. After that wrapped, I went to work in a one-year professorship at Georgia College and State University. Then, I decided to apply for this job at Tech, and here I am. 

What does your job entail?
As you might imagine, I do a little bit of everything. I teach a three-credit-hour course on theater each semester and occasionally teach a course on a special topic related to theater. (I’m currently looking into working on a course with the School of Music that would focus on musical theater.) Some days, I drive around buying props for shows. Other days, I sit in on meetings to advise the students on decisions ranging from show choices to marketing. And then there is the time that I spend directing many of the shows that DramaTech stages. A lot of days, I’m here from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

What is your favorite type of play to direct? 
The shows I tend to gravitate toward are more contemporary and deal with darker subject matter. With that said, there is one mainstream play that I’ve always wanted to direct: Tennessee Williams’ Night of the Iguana.  

Tell us something people might not know about DramaTech.   
People often think it’s only for students. Sure, they get priority when it comes to participating in the productions. But we also love to have faculty and staff get involved. If you’re interested in acting, set design, or any aspect of what we do, let me know. And the shows are open to anyone in the community to attend. Our latest production, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, opens April 5. More information can be found at http://dramatech.org.

Where is your favorite spot on campus?  
The secluded garden near Skiles and the Library. It’s so peaceful there.  

Where is your favorite spot to have lunch?   
La Parilla, and I love to order the enchiladas suizas. 

Tell us something unique about yourself.   
In 2005, while I worked with 7 Stages, I took a show on tour to Bosnia, Romania, and Serbia. It was striking to see the aftermath of the conflict. I saw buildings that were riddled with bullet holes. The experience was just unbelievable.

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dramatech, Melissa Foulger
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  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Apr 1, 2013 - 11:32am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:13pm