Michelle Milne has returned this semester from travelling, performing, and teaching around the country to, once again, act as an assistant professor of theater at Goshen College.Between 2005-10, Milne was at GC and she taught classes such as Playwriting, Voice for the Actor, and Movement for the Stage as well as directed plays such as “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Big Love.”
Since her departure from Goshen College in 2010, Milne has engaged in a variety of different projects and events in the fields of theater, choreography, writing and many others.
“Doing a variety of projects is always exciting,” Milne said. “I never want to do the same thing over and over each day.”
Lately, Milne has been working for the theater department of Columbia College in Chicago and travelling.
She went from Indiana to Oregon, along the border of California to the Mexican border, and then to North Carolina before coming back to Indiana in one big theatrical tour she titled “Travelling Home.”
All along this national journey, Milne stopped to direct plays, participate in theater festivals, give workshops and even take part in learning tours to expand her own knowledge.
Milne also visited prisons and went across the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona with Mennonite Central Committee and Fronterra to study immigration issues—all of this related to her overarching topic, “Travelling Home.”
This theme is her way of asking audiences and individuals everywhere how we define ‘home,’ how we decide where home is, and the way concepts of home affect how we live our lives.
For Milne, this topic is one that originated right here in Goshen.
Her grandfather was the first in Milne’s family to teach here at Goshen, followed by both of Milne’s now-retired parents. Both Milne and her sister Andrea Milne went to college here at GC, which was followed by Milne’s employment, completing the familial cycle. Despite her family’s strong attachment to Goshen, she said, “we never stay here for too long.”
Milne’s family also has a long history of travel and visiting other countries and parts of the U.S., but they always come back to Goshen.
“I feel like I have a lot of homes now. Goshen is one of those homes—it was the first one. But the border is one of them, New York is one of them, and Portland is one of them,” Milne said.
But no matter how many other homes she has, she said she will always come back to Goshen because of the community and the roots she has here.
“Goshen… is exciting to be in,” Milne said. “People want to keep creating things here, which makes it feel very alive.”
Milne also loves the diversity in Goshen that seems to be ever increasing, including the Mennonite community, non-Mennonites, the always-expanding groups of artists and the growing Latino community, which “has completely changed the feel of the town.”
Milne is excited to now be involved in a myriad of different activities here in Goshen, only one of which is working here as a professor and directing our fall mainstage, “Eurydice.”
To otherwise occupy herself, Milne is staging the fight and dance choreography for a Roosevelt University theater production of “As You Like It” in Chicago.
On Tuesdays, Milne also instructs a Feldenkrais Method training workshop at Spacious Heart, which uses elements of neurology, physiology and bodily mindfulness as a physical therapy treatment or to improve theater or music performance.
On Monday, the Goshen Community Relations Committee (CRC) approved the hire of Milne and her sister Andrea Milne to generate what will become the Goshen Vision, a collaborative vision for the community’s development which will develop from discussions and surveys with much of Goshen’s diverse population, including artists, business owners, educators, administrators, etc.
Milne now looks forward to the upcoming mainstage production, presenting the finished community vision to the CRC, and potentially teaching an Inside Out class with the Elkhart County Jail during May Term.