Birth of an Artist

Helping his students find their artistic voices keeps Jim Petosa young.

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Watching the change come over their faces when they at last find their voice—it’s the experience School of Theatre Director Jim Petosa lives for. “The moment of illumination,” he calls it.

“When students discover their reason-to-be as theater artists, it’s incredibly exciting. Being able to help them toward that moment is what gets me out of bed in the morning.”

This year, Petosa took over the reins at the New Repertory Theater in Watertown, Massachusetts. Keeping a foot in the working world of theater only benefits his charges. Petosa founded the Boston Center for American Performance at BU, which gives School of Theatre students a chance to work on productions with professional actors. By the same token, the aspiring thespians have helped shepherd Petosa in his own artistic journey.

“The students keep me connected to my own reasons for being a theater artist and my own message,” he says. “The give-and-take is important to all levels of education. As you age, the students tend not to. They keep me contextualized in a more fruitful way.”