Actor. Musician. Teaching Artist.
Liz Kent is a 2017 cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received a B.A. in Dramatic Art and a B.M. in Vocal Performance. She currently lives in North Jersey, where she acts in regional productions with McCarter Theatre Center and Centenary Stage Company, serves as a representative and artist for BookTix, and teaches music lessons and workshops across the country. Ultimately, she relies on her training and her love of process and purpose to create a product to give her context for each job she may do.
Feel free to read below to learn more.
I am the daughter of two very successful engineers. I am the sister of a very successful engineer. I am the niece, the cousin, the granddaughter, and the goddaughter of many, many successful engineers. My family, both immediate and extended, are all asking how things work and how they might make it work better. Growing up surrounded by this, I used to wonder - why didn't I want to be an engineer? Why didn't I have the skill set to understand and to think about things the way they did?
I realized that none of that was true. Everything comes down to process. We are engrossed by different ones, sure, but their fascination with the routing of circuits is the same as when I hear a new song for the first time. My ears dissect the notes, the chords, why melodies move in certain ways. The same goes for hearing or seeing a play, and wondering why lines were written as such and how they get the story to its end. In a lot of ways, I AM an engineer- of music, of art, of theatre- in that my love is in the way things work together.
I have the joy of getting to explore that every day, regardless of my position. As a music teacher, I have students who come in with all levels of experience, exposure, and knowledge. While music lessons are seemingly about technique and ability, these lessons include way more than just the tangible. We look at process, we look at the music and the text, we dig into the emotion behind words, however none of these matter if we don't have an answer to why this song, these words and music, are the thing that we must sing right now. By understanding why, the "how to" becomes easier, because the lesson isn't "how to hit the note" its "why is it this note we must hit".
I apply this to my own work as well. Be it in musical theatre or in new work, two of my first loves, we have to understand why we must sing, why we must tell this story right now. This can be especially difficult in new work because of how sensitive the subjects often are. So, we look at process- why is the story told this way in order to create a truthful and emotional product. New work also allows difficult conversations to be had in a safe space- because these events or situations are through the lens of "art" it allows us to discuss things that would be too sensitive to talk about outright, and can inspire a healthy conversation in a comfortable setting.
As an engineer of art, I pride myself on my love of process, of technique, of understanding. Regardless of the medium or situation in which the art is used, first we understand the process - the technicalities of the work themselves, and giving it a greater understanding in it's context of what it might come from, and it's context in our world, answering why this piece of art is what we need right now. This significance of pieces may change as our time does, too, but getting to discover that purpose over and over again is the most beautiful part of being an artist, as an actor, as a musician, and as a teaching artist.