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WV ARTIST ON DISPLAY: CATHEY SAWYER

with WV Jazz Orchestra

Get to know Greenbrier Valley Theatre’s Artistic Director, Cathey Sawyer. She has directed over 200 plays professionally, is a member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers, and was recently awarded the Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. This Q&A may help you ponder the “impossible” and help you take ownership of your natural gifts.

How do you describe your palette? Focused and eclectic. I act and direct; I have written scripts and lyrics and have adapted literature for the stage. On occasion, I have designed scenery and costumes and have choreographed movement for musical theatre. I love to read and research – love to research! I enjoy making jewelry as a hobby and practicing reflexology.

What is your greatest accomplishment? Keeping a professional theatre going in a relatively small town for 23 years.

What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse? I have to organize things around me, and I have to have enough space and quiet to think. It’s hard to carve out that time with all the other duties at the theatre. Sometimes, I have to get away from the office to get anything related to the artistic side of my job done.

How do you find your inspiration? Sometimes I find a poem or a painting that inspires the concept I have with a particular play. I also find inspiration by reading literature and philosophy and looking at the art that was created at the same time as the play I’m directing.

What advice do you have for other artists? I don’t know if I would call myself an artist – I think that word connotes a level of skill that I aspire to have, but it represents a pinnacle of artistic achievement that’s hard to reach. As far as advice, there’s a line in RED that speaks to this for me. Rothko tells his assistant that to be an artist you have to know literature, philosophy, psychology, music, history, and architecture. I believe that, and because theatre encompasses all of the arts – visual and performing – a range of knowledge is perhaps even more important. …Also, years ago one of the greatest designers in American theatre was asked a similar question by his students, and he said, “to be an artist in the theatre, you have to first become the architect of your own soul.” I can’t think of any better advice for any artist.

Publisher/Editor in Chief at | + posts

HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.

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