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Texas State faculty member stars in Austin Shakepeare’s “The Real Thing”

Kate Glasheen, head of Texas State University’s acting program, stars with Grant Goodman, in the Austin Shakespeare production of Tom Stoppard’s romantic comedy, “The Real Thing.”
Photo submitted by Motley Crew Media

Texas State faculty member stars in Austin Shakepeare’s “The Real Thing”

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Kate Glasheen loves her job. Even after catching the red eye home from on-site auditions in Chicago to teach her 9:30 a.m. class at Texas State, then fielding press interviews during lunch for her upcoming show — Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing” — before heading to Austin for that show’s rehearsals, she will tell you how fortunate she is to love everything that she does.

Glasheen, an associate professor and head of the acting department at Texas State, is at the forefront of a new movement in theater, one that embraces mental health and self care to help students prepare for working in the entertainment industry.

“It gives me a lot of purpose,” Glasheen said. “The business is hard no matter what. It’s changing, and there are many people trying to make the industry better. People are finally listening.”

Indeed they are. In fact, Texas State now boasts the second-largest theater program in the country, attracting young actors from all around the United States, and then subsequently placing them in everything from television shows to Broadway plays and movies. A large reason for Texas State’s growing success is the faculty’s dedication to a holistic approach to a young performer’s education.

“I’m not just here to teach them voice and speech, which I love to do,” Glasheen said. “One of the things I love about this department is that we really focus on not just preparing our young artists to be ready for the industry — to know the business of the business — but we also have made an effort to teach them how to be well-rounded humans and to take care of themselves. To know who you are outside the craft of acting is really important.”

Glasheen, who will soon be a certified life coach, applies these same techniques in all of her student meetings. “I want to end this message that you have to be a tortured, starving artist to make this work,” she said. “These are intelligent, capable people. They can go out into this business and build a life for themselves, no matter how their career might go. You can be a healthy, happy person and still be an artist.”

Some of these themes are explored in Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing,” in which Glasheen will play the role of Annie. A modern romantic comedy set in the theater world during the 1980s, “The Real Thing” explores the complexities of relationships as they grow and change over time.

“The theater has been used for generations to make people think, to promote different ideas, to make political statements, but it’s also for entertainment and it’s supposed to be reflecting life,” Glasheen said. “This play is all that. Love and trust and betrayal will always be relevant, but this play is also about ‘Who gets to be a writer? Who gets to be an artist?’” For example, the protagonist, Henry — played by Grant Goodman — is a playwright who loves pop music rather than opera. The play ponders whether Henry can be allowed those feelings and still be valid as an artist among his peers.

“It’s the nitty gritty of modern life,” Glasheen said. “You’ll laugh, you’ll feel betrayed. It makes you think, and it makes you feel, and it will be a very cathartic night at the theater.”

“The Real Thing” runs Feb. 17 - March 5 at the Rollins Theater, located at 701 W Riverside Dr. in Austin. Tickets start at $18 and are available at

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