Getting to know...Colleen Ballance
Colleen Ballance is living a life that befits her name. The assistant theater professor is entering her third year at Wofford, balancing work, kids, church and of all things, football.
“I’m an avid football fan,” says Ballance, who picked up the bug while growing up in Texas. “I love the (Texas) Longhorns, the (Dallas) Cowboys and of course Wofford football.”
Her journey to Wofford was a long one. She got her undergraduate degree at Tulane University in New Orleans. For grad school she attended Brandeis University, near Boston. There were long stints in Minneapolis, Minn., at the Guthrie Theater and Charleston, S.C., before she and her husband moved to Spartanburg.
“While living in Charleston, my ex-husband got a job here,” says Ballance. “He ended up leaving, and I didn’t want to leave Spartanburg. I had already done some adjunct work in the department. I taught Intro to Theater and designed sets and lights for Mark (Ferguson). He knew me pretty well so I told him I wanted the job. I already had about five years of experience teaching on the undergraduate level.”
And so it came to pass. She took the job at Wofford in January of 2007, and has been loving it ever since.
“I didn’t want to leave Charleston,” she says. “I loved it more than anywhere I’d ever been. But once I got here and got settled in, I found I’m actually happier here. I go back to Charleston all the time. I spend at least two months there doing work for Spoleto Festival, USA.”
Ballance is very active within her church, doing a lot of local mission work and attending bible study. Her children, the youngest of whom is about to go off to college, also keep her busy. She also enjoys reading fiction and cooking. What kind of cooking?
“Good cooking,” she laughs. “I just like to look at recipes and sometimes I’ll find one that sounds really interesting.”
While good cooking wins over her stomach, her heart belongs to the arts. For starters, theater is her “professional passion.”
“Professionally I’m very fulfilled,” says Ballance, who loves to paint. “I’m not the type of person who really wants to stay in the studio and create my vision on a canvas, though. Theater has that social element that painting lacks.”
She says theater brings all sorts of interesting characters, real and portrayed, into her life.
“It’s kind of a crazy profession by nature, which is something I absolutely adore about it,” she says. “Crazy people work in theater. It’s a lot of fun being around theater people. You have actors, directors, musicians, techies and designers. They say that theater is the only art form that is a conglomeration of every other art form. It’s literature, art, music, acting…it has everything. It’s always fun and interesting. I think students like that aspect of it as well.”
Away from Wofford, she also gets her artistic fix at Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston every year.
“It’s almost like a second job,” she says. “It’s an international arts festival, probably one of the two or three best in the country.”