Meet Elizabeth Brendel Horn, Director of The Teddy Bears’ Picnic!

When did you start directing?

I did a few student-directed projects as a high school and college student. My first big directing opportunities came during my graduate studies at the University of Central Florida. While I was working on my MFA, I directed The Spirit of Christmas (with the Orlando Family Stage Youth Academy!) and Little Shop of Horrors at Timber Creek High School. I then went on to teach at Timber Creek High School, where I had a blast directing all kinds of productions.

What kind of education prepared you for this career?

I got my BFA in Musical Theatre, but if I could go back and do it again, I would get a BA in Theatre, because I think I would have benefitted as a director by taking more classes in directing, technical theatre, and theatre history. I think the student leadership opportunities I had during my education were what prepared me the most. For example, in my senior year of undergrad, I was the company manager for my theatre department’s touring repertory company. I got to learn so much about how to communicate and collaborate during that process, and those are skills that transferred into my work as a director.

How is storytelling for TVY unique?

TVY is about engaging little ones in exploring theatre in a way that meets their cognitive and physical needs. It is very multisensory – in this play, each family is given a picnic basket with objects that they use throughout the show, and those objects will be used in a variety of ways to promote emotional responses and social interactions. TVY is also about the bond between very young audience members and their parents. I hope adult audience members will leave this experience equipped with a few more ways to play and make believe with their toddlers!

What is your favorite part about directing Teddy Bear’s Picnic?

I am working with a dynamite cast of actors for this show, and it is so much fun to see the creative energy they bring into the rehearsal space. We have just been having a blast exploring this script and making it our own. The show is written for three actors, but there is a fourth role – the audience – that is so important for this show. As we are working, I love imagining how the young children in the audience will respond to and engage in the show. I know that no matter how well we prepare, they will find ways to surprise us!

What are three words you would use to describe this production?

Cuddly, cozy, and playful

What meal would you pack in your picnic basket?

Lots of yummy fruits and veggies, chicken tenders, macaroni salad, and sweet tea. Oh, and definitely chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  

 Where’s the best place to have a family picnic in Orlando?

I love this question, because we based the tree in The Teddy Bears’ Picnic around “The Mayor,” a 200-year-old Live Oak located just across from Orlando Family Stage at the Mennello Museum of American Art. My kids and I love to picnic there and have built many happy memories there.

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