The Ozark Actors Theatre (OAT) welcomes their new artistic director, Alex Freeman, who will be joining the company this June after completing his MFA in Directing at Western Illinois University. According to a release issued by OAT,  as a playwright and director, Alex’s work has been seen on stages across the country, including productions in Chicago and New York. Alex said he is excited not only to start working with the Ozark Actors team, but to join the Rolla community as well.

“I’d heard a lot about them [OAT] over the years, and when the artistic director position opened up I knew I had to take it,” said Alex. According to him, the warmth and energy the team shows in their work is what attracted Alex to apply for the position, as well as the benefits of working within a small town such as Rolla.

“I think what’s most important is the more direct access to the community,” said Alex, being able to engage with the community through the art of storytelling is what drew Alex to working in Theatre in the first place.

Alex fell in love with the concept of public storytelling on a trip to Disney when he was in middle school. For him, seeing the joy on everyone’s faces while they interacted with the characters and seeing the stories come alive in front of them made him want to explore how to create and bring out the same sort of joy himself. Alex was an athlete all his life as well, and when he started coaching he realized his love for helping people achieve their best performance. These combined experiences led Alex to pursue a goal to direct the stage and shaped his approach when starting on a new show.

“The first question I ask myself is “why this show now?”” Alex said. “What are we telling with this story and what conversation do we want to have with the community?” For Alex, each show has a purpose and meaning behind it that is waiting to be expressed to an audience.

Alex is currently completing his MFA in Directing at Western Illinois University, where he will be directing Peter and the Starcatcher this spring. He served as the Founding Artistic Director of the Theatre Ensemble of Nashville, where he directed critically acclaimed productions of Romeo and Juliet and The Importance of Being Earnest.

For the past eight summers, he has called Chillicothe, OH., home, where he has worked on the epic outdoor drama Tecumseh!, a destination production for generations of Ohio families. He first began at Tecumseh! as a performer and technician, and most recently as the assistant director and production stage manager. He also directed The Tempest and As You Like It for the Scioto Society, Inc.

As a playwright and director, his work has been seen on stages across the country, including productions in Chicago, and off-off- Broadway in New York City. Check out Alex’s website to learn more at asfreeman.squarespace.com. Reach out to welcome Alex at Artistic@OzarkActorsTheatre.org or drop a message on OAT’s Facebook page.