Associate Professor of Theater Director of Visual and Performing Arts
Christian Brandjes has acted in countless performances since earning a bachelor’s degree in English and theater from the University of Vermont and a master of fine arts in acting from Brandeis University. He has directed a variety of plays, from Shakespeare to “Godspell.” He has been a choreographer, set designer, workshop facilitator, and musical conductor. And since 2003, he has shared his repertoire of talents and skills with Daemen College students.
What do you like best about teaching Daemen students?
Daemen students are hardworking and ready to try new things, which is imperative to learning theater. They’re always engaging, especially the freshmen, and they’re just plain fun to teach.
What prompted you to get into acting and theater?
In eighth grade, I wanted to be a bard as in an itinerant singer of heroic tales. I went through phases of wanting to be a journalist, a psychologist, a medieval literature PhD, and a linguist, and I entered college intending to be a poet. Ultimately, I stayed with theater.
What is the most interesting lesson you’ve learned from your theater experience? How do you use this in the classroom?
Most topics to be explored can be phrased as open-ended questions. In theater, there are no “solutions.” Whatever works in the context that has been “collectively created” is the rule. To present a question or a problem to students, and to allow them to construct a process that results in a solution is exciting.
Who has influenced you most in your life?
My parents have always been, and continue to be, profound influences. Every opinion I have, every choice I’ve made, good or bad, has been influenced by what they’ve taught me. As an actor, the two most important influences are Eric Hill, founder of Blue Hill Performance Ensemble and artistic director of Berkshire Theater Group. He was my first serious theater mentor, both as a director and a teacher. The other is Janet Morrison, my mentor and acting teacher at Brandeis University. She was a true empath, and a skilled actor and teacher