Image of Siobhán O'Loughlin
Image of Siobhán O'Loughlin

Our March Instructor Spotlight is Siobhán O’Loughlin. Siobhán is teaching  Cultivating Creativity on March 22.

Siobhán O’Loughlin (she/her) is a Los Angeles-based creative. She is the recipient of The New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, a grant recipient of the Network of Ensemble Theatres, a Moth Story Slam Champion, a fellow at Guild Hall of East Hampton, and an international teaching artist. Her site specific, immersive piece, Broken Bone Bathtub, toured globally for five consecutive years with over 600 performances in 40 different cities, was featured in the PBS Emmy-Award Winning Documentary Series Immersive World, and clocked top ten lists for theatre experiences from the Baltimore Sun, The San Francisco Examiner, and The Houston Chronicle.

We recently "met" with Siobhán as part of our Instructor Spotlight Series. Learn more about Siobhán here:

Question: What can you tell us about being a creative?

I can say being a creative is a lucky life. It's lucky to be able to find yourself with any ability at all to pursue my artistic expressions. For many people on this earth, it's just not an option, and I know how lucky I am all the time. HOWEVER, (there's always a however!) it also comes with so many emotional challenges: the lack of validation, the struggle for stability, the constant fear of failure or feeling like you already are a failure. Varying income. Heaps of rejections for dream opportunities. And then the pendulum swings again: my creative life means that I have a deeper level of empathy in the world. I'm connected to my emotions, I'm connected to myself. And that makes me all the more equipped to be connected to others.

Question: Can you tell us about your teaching style?

My teaching style is (gosh, hopefully!) engaging, dynamic, and compassionate. I think that first and foremost I want to validate the genuine challenges my students are experiencing--I never want to tell them that they "just need to change their mindset!" when a LOT of the challenges we face in this world are not our fault. Because I come from a background in theatre, I see my teaching artistry as another branch of my interactive performances--and I am passionate about keeping people present with me in the space.

Question: What can you tell us about your creative process?

That it completely varies, of course, but I do so many different things that I honestly schedule time now. I know that sounds unsexy or uncool or like--does one just make an appointment with their muse?? That's so weird?? But here's what I've found: being creative is unsustainable. You could make something that earns money or that doesn't earn money, that goes "well" or totally bombs--and that fear of failing can cause you to absolutely postpone and delay the actual experience of creating--because you're so afraid of the outcome. So--honestly, scheduling time to make work is awesome. Sometimes I'm so UNinspired during that scheduled time--and yet, I still force something to come--and it has such wild and unruly results. It's how I do things.

One absolutely surprising outcome of creating Broken Bone Bathtub is how it would bring me so many genuine, honest-to-goodness friends in my life. I met people who washed my hair or held my hand while huddled around me in a bathtub in a strangers home, and those folks have stayed in my life and been so present for the work I make and the person I am today. Theatre is life changing, and intimate, immersive theatre is community building.

Question: Is there a trend within the arts that you feel all libraries should incorporate into their programming?

Gosh, I don't know if I am a person TOTALLY on top of trends, but, I would say that ultimately, I'd just love for libraries to invite more "non-academics" (um, like me?) into their spaces to switch up our conversation on all things regarding the written word. There are so many creative and fascinating teaching artists and arts practitioners who engage in innovative ways with writing, reading, and sharing a passion for those things with the world.

Finally, for fun, what are you currently watching, reading, or listening to that you’d recommend to us?

Love this! My FAVORITE shows of 2022 were definitely Yellowjackets, Severance, and ANDOR. They were incredible shows!! My favorite (TOTALLY WEIRD) deep dive of an album in 2022 was "Preacher's Daughter" by Ethel Cain. I recommend listening to it the whole way through--but you probably won't want to be alone. Finally, and gosh, these are all such DRAMAS that I'm recommending--I'm currently reading "Bunny" by Mona Awad--which is a wild journey into the creative process and, you know, just how hard it is to be a person in the world today.

Those were all so dramatic. I promise I love comedies too, and my favorite forms of escape are watching Marvel movies or going to see a magic show. I love magic. Fun fact. 🙂