The newly-named Director of the Professional Theatre Training Company at Actors Theatre brings her work and family life with passion, energy and creativity.
Aprofessionally trained actor who worked steadily as a performer for 15 years, Christine Albright-Tufts had an epiphany after the birth of her son, Henry. “I became keenly aware of the growth and potential in this little human,” she says. “That quickly started to expand to the world around me, and I found this intense desire to ask others, “What do you need?”
She started teaching in addition to acting and found she was happiest not on the stage, but in the classroom. She taught at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College for the Performing Arts and Oklahoma City University, and just recently arrived here, at Actors Theatre, one of the most renowned professional training programs in the country. Says Christine, “I just got hired to do my dream job, and I could not be happier.”
We asked this Louisville transplant to share some thoughts about her fulfilling home and work life.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY
“My husband, John, and I met at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival 12 years ago. We started out playing a pair of young lovers in a play called UP. He and I were instant best friends who tried very hard not to date each other. The following year, they hired us to play Romeo and Juliet, and not dating just became impossible. We got married two years later. Then we had Henry four years after that. From the second he was born, he was this amazing little thoughtful human. I think most kids make you speed up to chase after them, but Henry’s one of those kids who makes you slow down to explore and listen to the world around you.”
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR CAREER?
“I get to be creative for a living. And I get to meet a lot of really wonderful people.”
HOW DO YOU BALANCE CAREER AND FAMILY?
“We are an artist family. There is no balance! But seriously, we ask for help. I have been blessed with the most amazing parents who would drop everything to help us. Even when they live thousands of miles away, they manage to be the best support system we could ask for.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR BIGGEST TIME CHALLENGES?
“My husband is a very successful actor. He continues to work at theaters all over the country. In fact, this summer he did a show in Frankfurt, Germany. So, for us the time challenge is time apart.”
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THEM?
“We do our best to find the routines within the chaos. We have set times when we check in every day. We make sure we never go longer than three or four weeks without seeing each other. And chocolate. We eat chocolate every day at 3 p.m.”
DO YOU TRY TO SHARE ANY ASPECTS OF YOUR WORK OR CAREER WITH YOUR SON OR DO YOU KEEP THEM SEPARATE?
“I love for Henry to see what I do. I think it is vital for him to see me as a fully-fledged human with work that is of value to me. I also have heard from female students of mine how grateful they are to see an example of a woman having both a family and a career in the theatre.”
DO YOU THINK YOUR WORK ETHIC HAS RUBBED OFF ON YOUR CHILD?
“I honestly don’t know. Henry’s personality was so clear from the moment he was born, I’m not all that sure that I have anything to do with its development. For the most part, I feel it’s my job to listen and learn who he is and nurture his development. What I do know, is that the life we are giving him is providing him with a sense of adventure, and he is seeing both of his parents follow their dreams. I don’t know what the ultimate outcome will be, but I’m proud of what we’re doing.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIME FOR HOBBIES OR PASTTIMES OUTSIDE OF WORK AND FAMILY AND, IF SO, WHAT ARE THEY?
“I love to garden. I love to run. And I like to watch the Cubs play.”
WHAT VALUES DO YOU TRY TO MODEL FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
“Bravery, Curiosity, Acceptance, Inclusivity, Love.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS?
“I performed Shakespeare while pregnant, through constant nausea. And no one knew.”
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER PARENTS WHO ARE JUGGLING CAREERS AND MOTHERHOOD?
“I think being a mother is a career, and it’s hard. Then add a job on top of that, and it can feel like you can’t really give either the full attention they deserve. So, ask for help. Ask your friends, ask your family, ask your colleagues for what you need. And try to find a little time just for yourself, to take a breath.”