Meet the face behind the Auditorium curtain

USN's High School Theater Director Lillian Palmer, and read all about what's new in HS theater.
By Lisa Usdan, Tiger Arts Patrons chair and Michelle Rosen, USNA Communications Co-Chair

The Tiger Arts Patrons program works year-round to promote and support the visual and performing arts at USN. With the High School musical “Legally Blonde” right around the corner (opening night is Wednesday, November 6), it's a great time to pull back the curtain and learn more about Lillian Palmer, the faculty member making it all happen behind the scenes.
Although Palmer only started at USN last year, she brings a deep resume of theater experience, having studied theater in college at Birmingham Southern, and performing off-Broadway and in her own improv troop in New York City. After her own performing career, she pursued a teaching career in Costa Rica, and then Florida. But it was the opportunity to teach at USN that brought her back home to Nashville.  

While honoring the legacy of her late predecessor, longtime theater teacher Catherine Coke, Palmer has also introduced many new initiatives in the department, including courses in improv, movie production, and screenwriting. She's also instituted a monologue program to help seniors with college theater auditions and scholarships.  

In addition to her coursework, Palmer advises the Student Theatre Guild and coordinates students' participation in the Spotlight and Jimmy Awards, two national competitions and award programs for theater students. 

But perhaps we are most familiar with her role as the guiding hand behind the dazzling number of USN student productions, including Student Theatre Guild's recent “Scene Night,” the fall musical “Legally Blonde,” the upcoming December production of “Cabaret,” a spring production of “Midsummer Night's Dream,” and a student-directed play later in the year.  

Palmer wants students to be professional and also excited about theater because excitement is contagious, as evidenced by her reveal party announcing “Legally Blonde” as the fall musical.  

"My goal is to make theater inclusive for all USN students. I will find a spot for anyone who wants to participate," she said.

When asked about what she likes most about teaching at USN, she said, "There's a respect for academia that bleeds into performances. USN kids are truly excited to learn. And for a director and teacher, it's so fulfilling to mold and shape that excitement."

Stay tuned for great things from Palmer and our theater department, and remember:  TAP membership comes with free tickets to all performing arts events.
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    • Lillian Palmer is High School Theater Director.

    • Lillian addresses students during the High School musical reveal party.

    • High Schoolers decipher "A Midsummer Night's Dream" from a hidden letter scramble.

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