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Artist of the Issue: Josie Fulton

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Artist of the Issue: Josie Fulton

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If you’ve ever been to a Groton theater production, there is a good chance that you have seen Josie Fulton ‘18 doing one of the things she loves most: acting. Whether as a leading role  in Twelfth Night, a dancer in Cabaret or a grieving mother in “The Women of Lockerbie,” Josie has been a strong and consistent presence in the Groton theater.

 

Josie has not always been as involved in theater as she is today; prior to Groton, her acting experience was fairly limited. “I used to take acting classes as a kid – I was loud, so it was only natural,” Josie jokes. Since arriving at Groton, she has since explored acting in more depth and participates in shows every term. Josie began her sixth form year playing Olivia in Twelfth Night, an experience she enjoyed immensely. Shakespeare, Josie says, is difficult to act in a modern context: “…it was hard to break through the barrier of the text.” Nevertheless, the show came together and was well-received by many in the community.

 

The transition from fall to spring term meant a sharp shift from Shakespeare to Cabaret, in which she performed as a dancer. Josie’s two favorite aspects of her experience with Cabaret were the dancing and the camaraderie of the ensemble. “I used to dance a lot – I did ballet – so it was fun getting back into it and working with a core group.”

 

In regards to “The Women of Lockerbie,” the play put on this term, Josie says she “loves it.” More than that, though, she loves working in the McBaine Studio Theater, known around campus as the Black Box, where “Lockerbie” was put on: “I love black-box acting. I didn’t know how much I loved it until I did “Equus” last year, and it’s now my favorite type. It’s so intimate.”

 

Not only is Josie a talented and committed actress, but also one who sets a consistent, positive example for the younger students through her productions. Eliza Powers ‘20, who has been in casts with Josie for every term this year, says, “She’s such an amazing leader and role model in the theater. I was really blown away by her talent during “The Women of Lockerbie”… Josie brings so much depth to the character and every time I see her perform I get chills.”

 

For Josie, acting is not only an activity she enjoys but also a method for her to explore what drives and motivates the people around her. Her process involves “deconstructing a person and figuring them out, from very small mannerisms to greater things happening in their heads.” She then extends that exercise to form a developed character.

 

Work in the theater has yet another benefit for Josie: when she’s in the middle of a production, she says she can actually feel her mental state improve drastically. In fact, she looks back on her fifth form spring, a term when fifth formers are commonly swamped with academic work, as one of her happiest because of her experience in “Equus.” “I was the happiest I’ve ever been,” she says. “I think a lot of it has to do with being engaged in something worthwhile, and I think the arts are super worthwhile.”

 

Outside of the theater, Josie expresses herself artistically through writing. If you heard her chapel talk earlier this year, it isn’t hard to tell that she is a talented writer with a unique style. She jokingly refers to her style as “annoyingly flowery.” It is one that lends itself particularly well to poetry, another medium that she occasionally uses to express herself. Her poem “Momma’s Slap” was featured in the Grotonian last year.

 

Influenced by her Exposition class this fall, Josie also enjoys writing personal essays. She looks to Ann Patchett’s essays for stylistic inspiration: “Ann Patchett is not very flowery at all and so it’s very hard for me to write essays like hers, but it’s good.” Whether Josie is creating in prose or poetry, she finds that she is happiest when she is reading and writing, as the two often go together for her.

 

In her time at Groton, Josie has been a core presence in the Theater Department and will be sorely missed next year. More than her sheer acting ability, her commitment to acting makes her a role model for many of the younger students involved in theater. Maybe it’s from her energy on the stage or maybe the way her eyes light up as she talks about different productions, but either way it’s clear that Josie acts for the simple joy of it.

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