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Lee’s impression on ASU theater transcends auditorium walls

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Apr. 24, 2013 | Modified: Apr. 29, 2013
Lee’s impression on ASU theater transcends auditorium walls

Appalachian State University professor Teresa Lee, now in her 25th year in the Department of Theatre and Dance, directs ‘The Madwoman of Chaillot.’ 

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Teresa Lee’s impact on the theatrical arts at Appalachian State University and the greater community is apparent in not only in the productions she directs, but also through the reverberating words of her colleagues.

Some of her most recent accolades include her selection as ASU’s 2012 Woman of Influence Award.
Keith Martin, ASU’s John Blackburn Distinguished Professor of Theater, nominated Lee for the honor. Martin said he has known Lee since 1986.

“She is a wonderful teacher,” Martin wrote, “a model for her students and peers, and a mentor to aspiring arts and education professional in every discipline.”

Lee has called the university’s Department of Theatre and Dance home since 1988.

In addition to teaching acting, she also teaches creative drama, stage movement and is the artistic director for the Appalachian Young People’s Theatre.

She is also a movement specialist, certified to teach the Alexander Technique since 1995, according to her university profile.

In her nomination letter, ASU Professor Emeritus Ed Pilkington said, “AYPT is now in the capable hands of Lee, who is a vital asset to the program’s continued growth and success over the last quarter century.”

Anna Ward met Lee as a student at ASU and directed her in her first main stage production.

“I remember her compassion towards me during some difficult times when I was a young student,” Ward said.

After returning to ASU following the completion of her graduate work, Ward began directing AYPT shows and collaborated with Lee on other productions as a designer.

“Teresa has worked tirelessly to maintain young people’s theater at Appalachian, and AYPT is now 41 years old,” Ward said. “The plays in that program tour into regional and local schools and that provide a considerable and strong outreach program for the university that few people even know about.”

Sali Gill-Johnson said she has known Lee since she came to ASU in the early 1990s.

“She is truly kind and insightful,” Gill-Johnson said. “Without a doubt, Teresa is a dedicated and compassionate teacher. Her commitment to her students and especially to the AYPT is unquestionable.”

Lee said she while she was “humbled” by the honor, she insists the attention should always be centered toward the work of theater itself.

“It’s always about the students,” Lee said. “Nothing happens in the field of theater (by itself). We all have to depend on each other and work together. That’s what I love about it.”

Lee’s latest work in theater comes from the role of director in Jean Giraudoux’s timeless comedy, “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” which runs through April 28 at ASU’s Valborg Theatre.

Written during the Nazi Occupation of Paris during World War II, “The Madwoman of Chaillot” is a timeless allegory about the extraordinary things that can be accomplished when the “vagabonds” of the world unite and stand up for what they believe, according to a university press release.

With the curtain rising this week, Lee said she is excited about the latest production.

“It’s been going fantastically,” she said. “I think it will be a really entertaining and thought-provoking production. The cast is multitalented. There are many, many different theatrical elements in this production that require many skills. I couldn’t ask for a better group of students to work with. They are so dedicated and a lot of work has gone into it. It’s a big production.”

“The Madwoman of Chaillot” will be presented through April 28. Show times are 7:30 p.m. April 25 to 27, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. April 28. Ticket prices start at $8 for Appalachian students. For more information, visit, or call the box office at (828) 262-3063.

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