The Actor?s Life: A Q&A with Christina Augello of EXIT Theatre

March 19, 2010
Washington, DC

Christina Augello as pirate queen Grace O'Malley in A Most Notorious Woman, a one-woman show by Maggie Cronin. Photo by Laurie Gallant

As Rocco heads back from his Art Works trip to California, we're taking a closer look at a few of the state's artists and arts organizations. Christina Augello, founder and artistic director of San Francisco's EXIT Theatre, chatted with us via e-mail about life as a working actor.

NEA: What led you to start EXIT Theatre?

CHRISTINA AUGELLO: I love theater in intimate venues and realized as an actor I could create my own opportunities in my own theater and choose the work I do.

NEA: Why is theater important?

AUGELLO: Theater is live performance, entertaining in an engaged way. It's a communal experience for both artists and audience, which offers [a rare] intimacy. A room full of people laughing, crying, enjoying together is good magic.

NEA: What do you think makes a great performance?

AUGELLO: Truth, commitment, passion, imagination, trust, collaboration, and an audience.

NEA: Your theater is based in San Francisco. What do you think of the city's audiences?

AUGELLO: San Francisco audiences are very open to new experimental work and are willing to support the smaller venues.

NEA: What do you love about being an actor?

AUGELLO: The playfulness, the passion, the magic, the high when all energies merge.

NEA: What's the hardest thing about being an actor?

AUGELLO: Learning lines and having a day job.

NEA: Do you have a favorite line you've had to deliver?

CHRISTINA: "I need to pee."

NEA: What do you think would surprise people about life as an actor?

AUGELLO: It's a way of changing the world.

NEA: Overall, why are the arts important to you?

AUGELLO: The arts are a creative force that infuse life into ideas and emotions allowing our imaginations to flourish. I think this energy is necessary to balance the destructive forces that humanity struggles with.