As the 2022-23 school year draws to a close, Concord Academy will bid farewell to longtime Performing Arts faculty member Megan Schy Gleeson. Since her arrival in 2004, Schy Gleeson has been an integral part of the CA community, serving as a theater teacher, director, and advisor to various artistic ventures over her 19-year tenure. Most recently, Schy Gleeson directed the Winter Mainstage, Pippin, mentored the What’s On Your Mind (WOYM) Playwriting Project, and taught various sections of theater and playwriting courses in both the Performing Arts and English departments.
Schy Gleeson’s start at CA was marked by notable impressions on its community members. “I remember being very impressed by the arts faculty and by how interested they are in doing collaborative work together, which is something that I really believe in,” said Schy Gleeson. The students’ willingness to experiment and work in tandem was another factor that drew her to the CA community.
The same energy reverberates in Schy Gleeson’s more recent experiences at the school. “I’m very inspired by the constant learning happening amongst everyone,” said Schy Gleeson. She is particularly grateful to fellow faculty members in the Performing Arts department, who devote immense care and industriousness toward their projects. “[They are] people who truly believe in the transformative power of the arts,” she adds.
Mentoring original work has been at the core of Schy Gleeson’s work, where she focuses not only in unearthing the questions embedded within each artistic creation, but also in guiding students to appreciate other people’s works. Over her time at CA, she has helped students produce eight new full-length plays and mentored dozens of shorter works through WOYM. Reflecting upon her experience, she said, “I love sitting in the unknown with new works, finding these threads of interconnection within each piece.”
With the exception of the 2021-22 Performing Arts season, Schy Gleeson has also directed a CA Mainstage every year of her tenure. In articulating her passion for directorial work, Schy Gleeson cites Ruth King, celebrated author and thinker, in her mantra, “artistry as cultural medicine.” Schy Gleeson explained, “I feel like sharing time with the audience is a very sacred moment. We can crack open important questions, ideas, feelings, and thoughts as a group. Everyone has their individual experience, but we are thinking in connection.” Schy Gleeson also remarks on how engagement in the arts can be vital for the spirit of individuals and communities. She said, “There’s something very human and necessary as a kind of medicine in the creation, but even in the viewing and engagement of art.”
Alongside her colleagues in the Performing Arts department, Schy Gleeson meticulously considers the choice for Mainstages plays and musicals, examining what pieces can be meaningful for the community. “It is in sharing art that we find the connection that threads us all. Art is the thread that weaves us together,” said Schy Gleeson.
At last, Schy Gleeson reflects on the reciprocity of teaching and learning during her time at CA. She said, “While I'm the one officially teaching and directing, it is always a two-way street—I'm learning and being ‘taught’ by my students too!” Schy Gleeson’s engagement with students constantly enhances her approach to teaching within the arts; she expresses extensive appreciation for the learning she has undergone at CA.
The community also holds immense gratitude for the dedication, knowledge, advocacy, and talent that Schy Gleeson has brought to the arts. From the Performing Arts Center to the theater classrooms, Schy Gleeson’s presence will be missed by many. As her journey at CA comes to an end, may the community continue her wish to support each other through creative undertakings and seek empowerment within our artistic learning experience.