About Taron Hensley
Welcome to TaronHensley.com, a site where Taron Hensley will draw from his experience as an educator to provide insights for those with an interest in theatre. Through evaluating teaching practices and some of his anecdotal experiences accumulated through years of teaching, he hopes that he can pass on useful knowledge while inspiring the next generation of students, educators, and the theatre community.
Taron Hensley received his bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University in 1999 and his teaching credential through Chapman University in 2002, setting the stage for his career as an educator. Hensley’s teaching career spanned across two decades and included work as a music, history, science, English, and art teacher. Taron Hensley gravitated to drama and stage craft and has since worked towards honing his craft as an educator in the subject.
Taron Hensley of Las Lomas has always held a passion for the arts and local theatre. He received theater training at San Francisco State University and Diablo Valley College, and he has attended stage combat classes held by Anthony DeLongis for sword, whip, and hand to hand combat. To this point, he has acted in a variety of plays at the local level. For example, Taron Hensley has performed in renditions of Oklahoma!, Sweeney Todd, Little Shop of Horrors, To Kill a Mockingbird, Much Ado About Nothing, and various other productions through the years. Hensley has dabbled in film and voice work as well, narrating literacy, aerobics, and education videos, as well as sports video games. While voicework does not necessarily utilize the exact same skills as stage performances, he finds the work an exciting exercise in practicing how one can give a sense of presence to a visual medium through audio. Hensley realizes that developing other skills are an important facet of acting and has dedicated himself to diversifying his talents. He can sing in bass/baritone range, play the guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bodhran. He can also speak with several dialects including Texas, Southern, Brooklyn, New England, Irish, Scottish, Queen’s English, French, Italian, Russian, and several others. This facet of his acumen proves useful for roles that require voices different from Hensley’s natural speaking voice and teaching others how they can utilize accents and cadences for roles.
In the 20 years that Taron Hensley has spent as a drama teacher, he has consistently evaluated his teaching methods to become a better educator. Drama has always been interesting to him as a subject and teaching its inherent value to the next generation of students has always been an exciting prospect. As is the case with many electives in school, students often will wonder why they are learning about it, and educators will often need to be able to explain the how’s and why’s of their area of interest. Taron Hensley, of Las Lomas, acknowledges that sparking an interest in the arts is a large part of his job as a drama educator. While it can be a challenge, it is only about putting things into perspective for students.
Taron Hensley notes that giving students an understanding of the importance of drama can be done in several ways. One of his favorites is taking the time to explain why, through the ages, theatre has remained a pervasive method for telling stories. The arts speak to how one can be a better communicator and listener while also understanding emotions and motives. Even students that know they will likely not continue with theatre after their class concludes can find some meaning in its ability to convey strong emotions to the audience. Communication skills and the ability to present to a group are traits that will be rewarded as they enter their adult lives. Events that many of us feel apprehension during such as interviews, meeting new and important people, and giving speeches or presentations are just a few actions made easier with a foundational understanding of theatre. Taron Hensley, of Las Lomas, consistently speaks to how the push and pull of theatre- understanding how and when to grab attention and when to be present and support are fundamental human lessons that can be further built upon in Drama class.
Theatre displays how a culmination of speech and action work together to breathe life and value to performance. While some of what Taron Hensley utilizes to spark interest in the arts is done through speech, some of it is similarly done through action as well. Showing that your classroom is a safe space for expression and growth as both a person and an artist is one of Taron Hensley’s most crucial tools for fostering an appreciation for theatre. He notes, however, that this can still be much easier said than done. Some educators may find that it is difficult to coax creative spark out of their students either because of apprehension amongst the class, disinterest, or just a difficulty finding the right resources to bring their points home. Hensley has found that, often, this spark may need to come from within. Showing students first-hand how one can grab attention through words and actions on stage can go a long way towards contributing to an understanding of why so many are captivated by theatre. Taron Hensley acknowledges that, in the current situation with distance learning, establishing this point can be a bit different. Through utilizing some of the internet resources available for drama teachers in conjunction with one’s own enthusiasm for the material, it is still more than possible to drum up interest while showing a range of expressions can be conveyed even through the screen.
As is the case with any field, teaching has always been a career that utilizes some tried and true principles while simultaneously evolving to make space for new ideas. To this point, Taron Hensley is consistently thinking of ways that he can adapt his practices to make his teachings more effective for students. Through this site, he will include information on a wealth of topics in the realm of theatre education such as some of the best ways to connect with drama students during distance learning, anecdotes from his experience in both theatre and education, and ways an individual can facilitate growth as an educator.