Durham drama teacher gets Tony Award nod for Excellence in Education
A drama teacher at a Durham high school received the recognition of Honorable Mention in this year’s Excellence in Theatre Education Award, presented by the Tony Awards.
Olivia Bellido, a drama instructor at C.E. Jordan High School, received the recognition because of her profound impact as a drama instructor.
She teaches her students to be a part of something larger than themselves.
"I've lived by the adage you have to be a part of something bigger than yourself," Bellido said. "There’s so much more than just us in the world, and we have to expand and try new things but also have a safe space to do that. I strive to create safe spaces for all children no matter where they come from, what they look like, or what they think their capacity is."
That philosophy is the reason she doesn’t require auditions for her programs, just a commitment to the work. That commitment, she tells her students, can bring about a magical transformation.
"As a public school student with dyslexia, I knew the world was not going to be easy," Bellido said. "But if you work hard for something, it feels really good to achieve it."
"And if you can learn to overcome, you can learn to do anything in the world."
She said drama opens doors and minds.
"Anybody can be who they want to be," Bellido said. "And in theater, you can be somebody new, somebody different and then go back to being yourself."