“I really did not want to become someone who’s hopes and dreams were subsumed by their child”
Michelle Hensley, co-founder and artistic director of Ten Thousand Things theater company, talks about her early work writing stories in second grade and reading them to the class. She talks about growing spending time at the Des Moines community playhouse and taking art classes at the Des Moines art center.
“I wanted to find an audience to whom the story would really matter”
Michelle talks about being compelled by noticing that theater seemed to be leaving out a lot of segments of potential audience. This made Michelle really want to address issues of social justice with her work. And it fit well with her desire to reach an audience that isn’t jaded from having already seen so much theater.
“My second child is really Ten Thousand Things”
Michelle shares how running her own theater company allowed her to structure rehearsal and work schedules around her daughter’s school and activities schedule so that they fit nicely together. And about how her motherhood and her art work influenced and fed off of one another.
Michelle talks about how being a mother gives her a deeper understanding of what some of the audiences in women’s prisons were going through. And about how actors and artists have a natural tendency to not condescend or talk down to children and how that helped encourage her daughter to feel listened to and important.