As the 2010- 2011 school year comes to a close so do 27 years of directing at Deerfield Academy for John Reese. A teacher, director, and mentor to generations of students, Mr. Reese will leave the Black Box Theater after first setting foot on the Deerfield stage in 1984.
“Though there have certainly been challenges in creating and sustaining a comprehensive theatre program,” Mr. Reese commented, “It’s been an exciting time.” The highlights of his time include the recent 8 School Theater Festival held on campus, as well as three trips to Edinburgh, Scotland with groups of students from the school, performing and interacting with thespians from around the world.
However, the most rewarding aspect of his time teaching was the ability to “work with extraordinary young talent.” Mr. Reese commented, “Being able to draw that out, discover things that maybe the students themselves didn’t know, has really made it all worth while.”
Mr. Reese also faced obstacles, such as beginning the theater program. “A simply new experience [for him] at the time.” He wished to expand and develop the arts at Deerfield, but was apprehensive about working at a then all-boys’ school, a completely new experience at the time. The attitude toward the performing arts on campus also challenged Mr. Reese as he pursued his wish for every student to experience some part of them, because “kids don’t get the opportunity to try something new.”
Those who have worked with Mr. Reese seem be touched by his passion for the arts, and will continue to cherish the time spent with him.
Professional actor and alumnus Peter Cambor ’97 commented, “I couldn’t imagine life without acting…life without having met Mr. Reese. Before John Reese, I never gave any though to being an actor. John gave me something so special and so wonderful that it is difficult to put into words the gratitude, respect, admiration, and awe I have for this man. The only solace I find in his retirement as a teacher from Deerfield Academy is that perhaps now, after so many years, we may work again together, perhaps share the stage, and continue where we left off back in 1997.”