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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

SSU’s Leila Brown finds community and joy through theatre

The spotlight is on Leila Brown as she directs and stars in the Power Lines New Play Festival
Courtesy+%7C+Brennan+Spark
Courtesy | Brennan Spark

Growing up, Leila Brown’s passion for acting was clear. She became involved in community theater at just 7-years-old, making her acting debut as a schoolkid in “Pippi Longstocking.”  

Brown, a second-year liberal studies major with a double minor in theater arts and education, will be both acting and directing in this year’s Power Lines New Play Festival here at Sonoma State. 

Brown will be directing “Wish In One Hand” by Jarrett Galante, a fourth-year theater arts major. She will also be acting in “Peek Behind the Curtain” by Aissa Simbulan, a fourth-year technical theater major

Brown began directing during her senior year of high school and enjoyed it, but says she considered herself an actor over everything else. That is until she was offered a directing position last summer. “I realized that my love for acting and my love for directing could go hand in hand,” Brown said. 

I realized that my love for acting and my love for directing could go hand in hand.

— Leila Brown

She believes that directing is a collaborative experience and enjoys involving the actors in the process, often looking to them for new ideas. 

She also enjoys how much creativity comes into play while directing. “You have a vision and to achieve it, you communicate and work with lighting designers, set designers, costumers, and more to make that vision come true,” Brown said. 

She tends to find herself drawn to acting in and directing comedy shows more than anything. “I love to play around with the limits of what we can do to make the audience laugh,” Brown said.

She finds herself most inspired by her peers in the theater department and said they continually reignite her passion for acting and directing. “I’ve also found my community through the department, and consider some of them my family. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by people who love theater and creating as much as I do,” Brown said. 

Previously, Brown has directed shows for Bay Area Children’s Theater and Pleasanton Youth Theater Company. She performed in “Once Upon a Mattress” and directed “Camp Chronicles” here at Sonoma State in 2023. She also has experience in vocal directing and stage management. 

As for future projects, Brown will be directing “Dinosaurs Before Kids” for the Pleasanton Youth Community Theater this Summer and acting as Zaneeta Shinn in Tri-Valley Theatre Company’s “The Music Man.” “I feel so incredibly grateful to both act and direct this Summer,” Brown said. 

Whether I’m directing, vocal directing, choreographing, or stage managing, my main goal is to fuel young actors with the same passion for theater that I had at 7-years-old.

— Leila Brown

After graduating, Brown plans on becoming an elementary school teacher. She hopes to one day teach youth theater, saying she feels she was meant to teach. “Whether I’m directing, vocal directing, choreographing, or stage managing, my main goal is to fuel young actors with the same passion for theater that I had at 7-years-old,” Brown said. 

The Power Lines New Play Festival will run April 4, through 7 in Ives Hall. Tickets can be purchased through the SSU Theater Arts web page at www.tickets.sonoma.edu 

 

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About the Contributor
Kate Williams, Staff Writer
Kate Williams is a third year communication studies major at Sonoma State.
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