Geoffrey Sheehan is definitely a well-known name around campus. The thespian is coming into his seventeenth year teaching at Housatonic. The professor is a man of many classes; he teaches courses ranging from Shakespeare and Introduction to Theatre to English and Acting – a strong and passionate point we discussed was a point that many a Housatonic student inquire about: what happens after graduation?
While we’re not yet even halfway through the semester yet, it’s never too early to think about life post-HCC. Whether they are already preparing to transfer to another school, or are still getting used to their new classes, it begs the question of what happens on the other side of that walk across the stage, where Sheehan himself announces students’ names during the graduation ceremony.
Take Professor Sheehan for example. Though he is a UCONN alumni, majoring in acting, his post-grad journey was one that many graduates can relate to.
Sitting in his small and well lit office, with papers and folders neatly spread all over his desk, Sheehan explained, “All the things I got yelled at for in real life, I could do in theatre.”
Moving from Connecticut straight to Los Angeles, he wasted no time going into auditions after audition. “You go where the work is,” he said.
The only problem was that much like today, networking was key and moving to the West Coast acting community without connections meant you had a lot of ground to break. Sheehan explained that in the eighties, you either were raised in the Los Angeles area and built your network from the ground up, or you had an established network and you were fully prepared to make that move.
Sheehan went on to explain that since as he was raised in East Coast theatre life, it was a complete shift to experience acting in the West Coast film industry where he had to dial back his performance for the silver screen.
However, he did appreciate the West Coast actors who knew how to command the stage. “It was nice to see an actor who knows their craft,” Sheehan said.
Going where the work was, he returned to his home state of Connecticut where he got a job at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. Teaching classes and writing syllabuses for other teachers became a part of his routine. He and his wife of 27 years also joined a theatre company together when they realized that they were going to be expecting their first child.
For Professor Sheehan, the answer to what happens after graduation when you have a career and a family well on the way? You make your own theatre company. His acting company, Capital Classics Theatre Company just celebrated their 25 year anniversary, and invited past alumni to celebrate the event. Sheehan has come to terms of having the three circles of his life mesh into each other.
“It’s like a Venn diagram,” he said.
His work life here at HCC is one that he works hard at and is truly passionate about, whether he is stressing the importance and discretion of the HCC sexual violence hotline, or admiring the beauty of the Shakespeare line, “same sovereign cruelty”. His career as the founder of his theatre company, which he still actively performs in, has brought his aspirations to life. And his home life with his wife and 4 kids completes the diagram of the life of this HCC professor: “All still in progress. I’m a work in progress.”