Theatre Teacher Holds Great Value of the Arts over Awards

by Kimberly Greulich ‘18

English teacher Christopher Goodrich has taught theatre at Sherwood for four years, but his passion for the theatrical arts runs deeper than the classroom—he also runs a small professional theatre company with his wife, Rachel Stroud-Goodrich.

The company produced shows like “Danny Boy,” a play about a little person, in October 2014, and a version of the classic Shakespearean tragedy starring senior citizens in a nursing home, entitled “Romeo and Juliet: Love Knows No Age” in July 2015.

With these performances, Unexpected Stage Company has one primary motive: to give a voice to those who are voiceless. “Our scripted goal is to explore the intimacies and intricacies of human relationships,” Goodrich.

“It serves, really, as an education for us, too … because we want to know about these voices in our society. So, some of that is choosing a show in which we’ll gain something—some knowledge from it, you know—some way that the world works—by doing it,” said Goodrich.

Last year proved to be quite a good year for Unexpected Stage Company: the company ran a production of “Oblivion,” by Carly Mensch (writer of GLOW, Orange is The New Black, and Weeds, among other things). and was recommended for the Helen Hayes Awards, a ceremony which honoring theater in the D.C. area. Unexpected Stage falls into the “Smaller Theater” category, and official nominations should be announced by early 2018.

Unexpected Stage Company started in 2010, and operates with a nine-person board, with Stroud-Goodrich covering the business end and both she and Goodrich handling the creative portions. The number of actors varies based upon the script they choose to perform that season.

The company typically performs one summer show and one fall show, with two smaller, onenight events during the winter. Unexpected Stage Company has performed all over Maryland, as well as D.C., though it mostly focuses its efforts in Montgomery County.

This is not Goodrich’s first experience with the Helen Hayes Awards—their production of the musical “Dani Girl” in Summer 2014 got them three nominations: one for directing and two for acting.

For a small company with such a unique set of ambitions, Goodrich does not seem overly concerned about winning awards, despite the potential benefits to his company from the resulting attention.

“I try not to get too attached to awards … I think we have such an award-heavy culture, in terms of their importance in our society, and I don’t really get it,” commented Goodrich.

While Unexpected Stage Company does not have a myriad of awards to publicize its artistic greatness, the company repeatedly proves that it does not need them: they have their values, their dreams, and their goals, and Goodrich will keep working to share his passion with anyone who is willing to receive it.