In the News: Stodard ’99 Basks in the Spotlight

by Kevin Gray

Nicole StodardFounder of Thinking Cap Theatre, Nicole Stodard ’99 says she’s drawn to work that’s bold and unconventional.

Critics and audiences are lauding the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., company’s offerings. Stodard received “best director” awards from the New Times for Sarah Kane’s Cleansed (2011) and Aphra Behn’s The Rover (2012). A Silver Palm Award from South Florida Silver Palm Theatre Awards Committee for the 2012-13 season recognized her “for producing consistent and outstanding presentations of daring and challenging works.”

Stodard’s interest in drama flourished at Lafayette. “Suzanne Westfall has been an invaluable inspiration and mentor,” she says. “Her classes were not just interesting, but also entertaining. She instilled in me an appreciation for research that has stayed with me. I recall an assignment in modern drama that invited students to stage scenes. I chose one from The Importance of Being Earnest, as Suzanne introduced me to Wilde.”

Stodard seeks to stage plays that treat issues related to women, gender, and the LGBTQ community. “I also have a thing for dark comedies. To me, it’s the genre that’s most reflective of life.”

A doctoral candidate at University of South Florida, Stodard earned a master’s in theater at Trinity College, Dublin. Before founding Thinking Cap in 2010, she blogged at Drama Daily, wrote theater reviews, studied contemporary theater, and read many new plays.

In February, her company presented the Florida premiere of Pool (No Water) by Mark Ravenhill, artist-in-residence at Royal Shakespeare Company. This spring, Stodard and her crew will move into The Vanguard Sanctuary for the Arts, a renovated church that will be the permanent venue for Thinking Cap Theatre.

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