Preparing Young Actors to Change the World

Julisa Rowe is an acting teacher in Kenya. She sees acting as an important part of communicating “truth” to the world and changing hearts.

“The thing that really brings me the most joy is working with an individual and figuring out what makes them tick as an actor,” she shares, “and being able to press that button and really see them blossom.”

Video Transcript

Kenya: Julisa Rowe is building an army of artists. She’s mentored many of Kenya’s leading performers. She’s trying to change the world.

Julisa Rowe: We don’t have our own theater space, so storage is where I can find it around my house and around the offices here. These masks are from our latest production of The Harrowing of Hell, which personifies the seven deadly sins as well hell and death. We chose to do it this time in masquerade style. And this was for our character of Pride.

I am a missionary kid. I was born and raised in Africa. So, in a very real sense, Africa is my home. Doing drama, I think, is something that I set my mind on at a very young age. In high school, making that determination: that’s what I’m going to major in, that’s what I’m going to study, that’s how I’m going to be a missionary.

As an artist missionary, Julisa lifts the voices of others to change hearts.

Julisa: I think I act because it is a great way to communicate truth. There are things you can do and explore on stage that you don’t explore in everyday life. That can be quite therapeutic.

(To a group of students) I do take attendance and paying attention very seriously. January is when we will really be having a lot more rehearsals.

When I’m directing, what brings me the most joy is working with an individual and figuring out what is it that makes them tick as an actor, and being able to press that button and see them blossom.

(To students) “Off with his head!” Everyone gasped with horror. Great.

We tend to assume what we see on film from Hollywood and what we see on stage is acting — that is the only type of acting there is. And it’s not at all true. You look particularly in Asia, India, Japan — they have very strong traditional forms and styles of drama that communicate to the heart of that culture.

I think there is a vast lack of understanding about the nature of God as artist and creator. And yet, it is so clearly foundational to who He is and to what we see. I think we devalue our worship experience and our learning experience when we limit it to just one form of communication.

We need people of integrity, we need people of passion, we need people of excellence in the world of the arts. We need to tell that story and we need to tell it with excellence and with honesty. Because not everything is happy and not everything is perfect. Life is ugly and messy. But the beauty of the Gospel story is that God comes into the midst of that and transforms it.

Be in the know with Grotto