St. Louis, Missouri
In his twenty-four years of teaching theatre, Brian Welch has established curricular and performance theatre programs at three Missouri high schools and founded Thespian troupes at two of them. At the time of his induction he taught at Villa Duchesne/Oak Hill School, a private Catholic girls’ school in St. Louis, where he was also chair of the Fine Arts Department.
“Whether Brian is organizing his Thespians, rehearsing a play, building a set, or mounting a major field trip, he is attuned to the needs of his students,” wrote English department chairperson Connie S. Schmollinger in her Hall of Fame letter of recommendation. “He does not coddle or enable but rather he challenges each young woman to present her best effort.”
Mr. Welch extended his students’ experience beyond the classroom and into the community through the Villa Duchesne Service Learning Theatre Program. Senior citizens were invited to participate in theatre classes with Villa students, usually on scene work and small-scale performances. The students, in turn, frequently created theatre programs at senior centers and residences throughout the school year. This program has been recognized nationally five times.
In addition to his accomplishments in the schools, Mr. Welch served as a community, collegiate, and civic performer, director, and producer as well as arts advocate and leader. He was involved with the Educational Theatre Association on local, state, and regional levels, including service as Missouri state Thespian board member, state Thespian director, territorial director, and leadership coach.
Mr. Welch’s other professional affiliations have included the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, Catholic Teachers’ Association, and National Arts Steering Committee for the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from Southwest Baptist University and a lifetime certificate from Missouri to teach drama, speech, and English.