Interview with a Professor

Getting to Know Redeemer’s Faculty

By: Renessa Visser, reporter

Professor’s name: Sharon Klassen

Department: Theatre Arts

How long have you been teaching at Redeemer?

I started teaching part-time in 2000 and gradually transitioned to full-time work.

How did you come to Redeemer?

I met Professor Bowen at the Graduate Christian Fellowship event I attended in Toronto, and after getting to know her a bit, she told me she would put me in touch with Ray Louter, head of the theatre department. He had a course that fit my experience and interests, so I taught it and my employment continued from there.

What made you decide to go into theatre?

I got my journalism degree from Carleton, and my honours research project was spent analyzing theater criticism in Ottawa. By the time I’d finished a combined English and journalism degree, I had taken a lot of the theater courses available at Carleton. I kept realizing how I wanted to study drama and combine it with my love for English, which I’ve been able to do through my job here at Redeemer.

What do you like most and least about being a professor?

I don’t like the classes where no one does the work, because it makes it so much harder to have a discussion. I really love the moments when I introduce someone to something new or inspire a student to realize they have gifts that fit a job.

What’s been your favourite production to direct/teach?

I had a lot of fun with the set design for Hecuba, where we created big tents across the stage. I also like it when we do plays that ask questions, such as Front: a play about England, from the perspective of the women left behind during the Blitz. The material was challenging, but it was honest and authentic. I don’t like shocking audiences deliberately, but to tell a story authentically, you have to include the things that people won’t be comfortable with.

How has your life changed since you got your Ph.D.?

My twelve-year-old daughter calls me Professor Doctor Mommy, but I think she’s the only one who’s earned the rights to do that.