Meet the Staff Meet the Staff Liss Couch-Edwards, Marketing and Graphic Design Coordinator By Theresa M. MacNaughton, Community Engagement Associate Tell us a little about yourself. I grew up in Farmington and attended The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury. I later graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Art History and Film and then returned to Walker’s as the photography teacher and graphic designer. I taught there for four and a half years before joining Hartford Stage in January. I am also looking forward to receiving my MFA in Illustration this summer. My fiance, John, and I live in Simsbury. Tell us about the first time you experienced live theatre and how it impacted you. Both of my parents’ families have been in – and been to – countless productions over the years, so I have been exposed to a lot of theatre throughout my life. In fifth grade, my class did a musical called School Daze, and I ended up creating the image on the t-shirts we all wore as costumes. Perhaps it foreshadowed what I do now – illustration and design for theatre. Later, in seventh grade, my entire middle school came to Hartford Stage to see A Christmas Carol. I was in awe of the costumes, lighting and set, and I have been smitten with Hartford Stage’s productions ever since! You started your career at Hartford Stage as a volunteer usher. How does it feel now to be a full-fledged member of the staff? As an usher, I thought I was lucky just to be able to see every production each season. Now, as a staff member, I feel even more fortunate because I have been given the opportunity to become a part of making those shows happen. What do you enjoy most about designing for theatre? Designers essentially introduce a show to its audience. It is our jobs to create materials that make people want to experience the production in person, so it is important that we produce pieces that accurately reflect the mood and individuality of each show. My favorite part is reading a script and choosing which elements to include in the artwork – things that will catch someone’s attention and spark their curiosity. You’re currently finishing up your MFA in Illustration at the Hartford Art School. What do you hope to achieve once you earn your degree? I am in the process of writing and illustrating two children’s books, which I would love to see published. I enjoy writing for young kids who are first learning to read, so I incorporate word and character repetition, as well as a lot of humor. What show are you most looking forward to seeing this season? Definitely Romeo & Juliet. It is often difficult to do Shakespeare well, and Darko’s interpretations of the works are always powerful and inspiring. You play the ukulele. How did that come about? I am not entirely sure! When I was in high school, my family – for some reason – went to a ukulele studio in New Hartford, Connecticut, where we saw them get made by hand. Their shapes and designs are very different than the typical ukulele – mine is mint green and my sister’s looks like a pineapple. Everyone in my family has played for years now. What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I drink Diet Coke in the morning instead of coffee. Do you have other talents or passions outside of working in theatre? In addition to doing illustration, I am a portrait and sports photographer. My fiance and I are also New York Mets fans, and we love going to games during baseball season. What is your personal motto in life? Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, wrote, “Use your natural powers – of persistence, concentration, insight, and sensitivity – to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply.” In other words, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, find your strengths and play to them.