From Stage to Classroom: How Professor Ed Gero's Industry Excellence Elevates Learning at George Mason University

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Professor Edward Gero’s journey exemplifies the exceptional blend of academic excellence and active industry involvement that is the hallmark of teaching in George Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. His illustrious career in the theater, punctuated by challenging roles and prestigious nominations, notably in recent projects like The Lehman Trilogy at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., illuminates the unparalleled educational environment Mason offers. Here, students aren't just learning from dedicated academics; they're being mentored by professionals in the prime of their careers, like Ed, who bring the vibrancy and rigor of their industry into the classroom. 

Professor Edward Gero

Ed's dual identity as an educator and a celebrated actor provides a unique learning experience for his students. His involvement in demanding roles and his continuous quest for artistic growth exemplify the dynamic learning on which Mason prides itself. "Being an actor is about being in a state of constant learning and adaptation," Ed reflects, sharing insights from his current engagement with The Lehman Trilogy, an experience that keeps him "on his feet," embodying multiple characters in each night’s performance of more than 3 and a half hours. 

This real-world engagement enriches Ed's teaching, making his classes a living dialogue with the industry. One of the highlights of his curriculum is a characterization course that challenges students to inhabit characters from their lives and beyond, fostering an immersive learning environment. "Students come in as someone they know, fully embodying that character for the entire class. It's about sparking their imagination, encouraging empathy, and pushing their boundaries," Ed explains. This exercise not only deepens the students' understanding of acting but also cultivates a profound sense of empathy and adaptability, traits essential for a successful career in the arts.   

Ed's teaching philosophy is built on the foundation of real-world applicability, encouraging students to explore and adapt to the industry's diverse opportunities. "The theater is always reinventing itself, and so must we," he states, emphasizing the importance of staying relevant and responsive to the shifts in the theater world, from technological advancements to the evolving narrative styles post-pandemic and during social reckonings.   

At Mason, the student experience is significantly amplified by learning from faculty like Ed, who are not just educators but active industry practitioners. This synergy between teaching and professional engagement offers students a rare glimpse into the realities of the art world, equipping them with the skills, resilience, and versatility needed to navigate the complexities of a career in theater. 

Ed's career and approach to teaching underscore Mason's commitment to offering an education that transcends traditional academic boundaries. Students at Mason are privy to an educational experience that prepares them for the multifaceted challenges of the arts industry, nurtured by mentors who are themselves navigating the same challenges. It's an education that's not only about mastering the craft but also about understanding the pulse of the industry from those who know it best. 

In choosing Mason, students step into a world where their education is infused with the insights, experiences, and successes of their professors. Ed's story is a testament to the enriching academic environment at Mason, where the art of teaching and doing merge to create a transformative educational journey. Here, the line between the classroom and the professional stage blurs, offering students an unparalleled launchpad into the world of arts guided by luminaries like Ed Gero.