Art Warrior Professor Battles Stereotypes on Stage
SHSU professor of theatre David McTier has directed more than 70 performances throughout his career. Some of these on-stage productions have made audiences laugh; others have made them cry. But he hopes his work has always made people think.
“As an artist, every class I teach and everything I direct, I want to be meaningful,” McTier said. “There is a reason we are creating art. We are glad we are doing it; we are committed to doing it; it is our art.”
His commitment runs deeper than the time and energy he devotes to his productions at SHSU. In 2012, the University of Pristina in Kosovo selected McTier as the Fulbright Scholar in the area of theatre.
“I applied knowing Kosovo was still considered a war zone at the time, knowing that the situation would be difficult. I don’t speak Albanian and many of my students were refugees who had been driven out of Kosovo during the war,” McTier said. “I chose Kosovo because I wanted to be in a situation where people needed to make art because they had something to say.”
McTier learned a lot from that trip, as well as from many other adventures he has taken throughout his life. In the last 10 years, he has been to 31 countries and in each has been able to find contradictions to stereotypes he believes Americans have developed based on what we are taught by the media.
Last year he traveled to Egypt in May and to Russia in December. He had “incredible experiences” and found everyone he met to be “good people.”
If there is any hero in me, it is trying to help people understand that we should look for the good in all people...
“Our tendencies are we want to make huge sweeping generalizations about the world and to divide the world into good or bad, but that doesn’t work. When you travel and go different places you realize that people are people. Everyone I have ever met wants to lead happy, stable lives. They want their kids to be well tended, and it doesn’t matter what religion you are or what your skin color is, we all want the same thing,” McTier said.
McTier, who has been teaching at SHSU for 10 years, hopes he can have an impact on his students by simply providing the evidence he has collected on his travels to assure them that there is no reason to fear people because they don’t look or sound the way we do.
“I am not a crusader in any way,” he said. “If there is any hero in me, it is trying to help people understand that we should look for the good in all people and realize that the odd things we see on the news are the exceptions rather than the norms, and that we must strive to embrace people who are different rather than push them away.”
McTier was recently notified that he had been selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach during the 2016-2017 academic year in Romania. His assignment will be at the National University of Theatre and Film in Bucharest for the fall semester and Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj for the spring semester.