If you don’t count bullying her childhood playmates into performing at block parties, Anita Grant directed her first “real” play while she was Thespian Troupe 113 president at Niles North High School in Skokie, Illinois. Later, she was part of a group of precocious speech and drama education majors at the University of Illinois at Chicago who founded a theatre company. They cut rehearsal to protest at the 1968 Democratic convention. Three seasons of teaching and directing in church basements and vacant restaurants began her career in educational theatre.
After moving to Houston in 1971, Ms. Grant was a full-time mom and part-time actor, creative drama teacher, and non-profit organization volunteer leader.
In 1978, she began working in the cultural and performing arts department at the Jewish Community Center in Houston. She coordinated classes in dance and music, taught theatre classes, directed performing arts camps, and produced and directed the center’s plays.
In the mid-eighties, Ms. Grant was a graduate student at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) and became the UHCL Shaw Festival Teen Theatre Program director. She also became a member of the Texas Educational Theatre Association’s Creative Drama Network, tasked with training classroom teachers to implement the then newly mandated Texas comprehensive K-12 fine arts standards.
From 1987 to 2007, Ms. Grant was theatre director and sponsor of Thespian Troupe 3689 at Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas. She worked with area teachers to develop, and later revise, the district theatre arts curriculum. She was chair of the fine arts department from 2005 to 2007 and twice nominated for campus teacher of the year.
Troupe 3689 attended its first Texas Thespians State Festival in 1988. In 1989, they traveled to the International Thespian Festival and the troupe has participated in every Thespian Festival since. Ms. Grant was the Texas chapter director from 1999 to 2006 and continues to serve on the Texas Thespians executive board.