When I first met Jeannette, I was intimidated. The fact that she regularly directed at Stratford would make any acting student feel a little nervous. Having now worked with Jeannette on three different occasions, I can with high confidence say that working with Jeannette has been one of the highlights of my theatrical career thus far.
Her passion for her students' success cannot be denied. She sees the best of you and works to bring out the strong, truthful performances she knows lies beneath the surface. Under her tutelage, I have seen performers utterly transform into the artists they were meant to be.
The rehearsal hall becomes a playground as much as a workshop and you leave every rehearsal staggered by what you have accomplished. The flexibility of her approach, the range of exercises that she brings with her, and the sense of fun and play that she inspires makes her students feel free to explore in a safe environment, but that also leads to impressive results.
One of the things I love about working with Jeannette is that you never feel like you are a student. Every show she helms is an opportunity to flex her directing muscle as much as she allows us to develop our acting muscles. This creates an atmosphere that is not teacher-student, but one where everyone is seen as an artist and treated as such. I truly believe that by treating her students as artists, she allows us to become them.
Even having worked with her as often as I have, I still feel that there is so much I can learn from Jeannette. She has phenomenal amounts of advice and guidance to offer any student of theatre whether it be acting, directing, designing or producing. Furthermore, she has her finger on the pulse of everything that is happening in Toronto (and indeed, Canadian) theatre, which I think is fundamental to any acting teacher. It shows her commitment to instruct the next generation of Canadian theatre creators in what lies outside their theatre school's doors.
When I came to George Brown, I did not know that we would have the opportunity to work with Jeannette, but now that I am on the verge of graduation, I could not have imagined my time here without her. She is everything you want in a teacher and director.