From Savannah to center stage


From Savannah to center stage

“Take risks, make mistakes, and have an epiphany or two.” That’s the mantra Savannah State theatre instructor David I. L. Poole lives by. With his never-say-can’t personality, he’s mastered puppetry, opened his own theatre at 16, and helped found a repertory theatre company in Savannah called The Collective Face Theatre Ensemble.

In other words, he doesn’t let anything stop him. So when his company’s performance space closed down, Poole pitched a partnership: Collective Face plus SSU’s theatre troupe, Players by the Sea (PBTS).

As the artistic director for Collective Face and an advisor for PBTS, Poole had already been enlisting students as interns in the Ensemble. They’d build sets, create costumes, and work to get a leg up in the theatre community. This new win-win idea added a whole new level of opportunity. Collective Face would have a home and PBTS would get more community exposure and hands-on experience. The plan received a resounding thumbs-up.

“SSU students have so much spunk. Willingness. Talent. I love helping them hone their skills, watching them grow and transform into better performers.” – David I. L. Poole

Now, Poole is cultivating a collaborative laboratory environment for his students and Ensemble members. For their first show, 9 to 5: The Musical, five students snagged roles alongside professional actors. And lots more worked behind the scenes. One Tiger was even invited to join Collective Face.

Poole sees this relationship as a step in the right direction for both SSU and Savannah’s growing arts scene. “Savannah is such a diverse city that it’s so important to show that diversity on stage. Partnering with an HBCU gives us so many ways to make it happen.”

His ultimate vision: For the University and Collective Face to grow into a powerhouse, must-see destination. He’s not totally sure how to make it happen yet, but that’s a risk he’s willing to take. Seriously Impressive

David I. L. Poole has been voted the city of Savannah’s Best Director three years running: 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Savannah State University, 3219 College St., Savannah, GA 31404 • All Rights Reserved © 2021