Julia Stemper, Head Dreamer and Player
Julia created Stone Soup Shakespeare after contemplating the idea for 3 years. While persuing her Masters at the Royal Scottish Academy of Acting in Glasgow she decided that there was no need to wait - sometimes it's better just to jump. Prior to her move to Glasgow, Julia was living in Washington, DC where she spent a long time working for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage program, about a year pretending to by historic flag maker Mary Pickersgill at the Smithsonian Museum of American History and the entire time acting like various different characters for various different theater companies around the capitol. Julia credits most of who she is to her family, a little of her imagination to Ingrid Deetz and nursery school and a smidge of her positivity to Mary Tyler Moore - cause who isn't inspired by berets being tossed in the air.
All of this she brings to the company along with a near feverish love of Shakespeare that she owes primarily to her Great Aunt Terri. Terri (sometimes also known as Aunt Millie) grew up during the depression. She did not finish high school. She married and had one son. She lived in South Dakota. And she knew Shakespeare backwards and forwards. She loved the writing, the stories and the excitement. She passed this love onto Julia. Julia was not always sure what to do with Shakespeare - truth be told she preferred jazz hands and chorus lines to iambic pentameter for awhile, but she persevered. A wonderful production of The Merchant of Venice at SIUC's McLeod Theatre in 1995 was perhaps the turning point. All of a sudden the potential of Shakespeare's words were on-stage in a production that made sense. It was energetic and as the tale of Shylock unfolded before her Julia understood why her Great Aunt held such deep affection for the Bard. Of course Julia also brings a love of playing dress-up, belting jazz tunes, doing/teaching yoga and following college basketball and NHL hockey to Stone Soup. Hey, a lot can be said for the epic quality that is March Madness! Julia is as excited as a kid in a candy shop to see what will unfold when all of her ingredients meld with her artistic partners as the pot that is Stone Soup Shakespeare gets all stirred up.