Laura Lane brings experience as working actress to TXST students
Laura Lane is a professor of acting in the College of Fine Arts and Communication. She joined the Texas State University Department of Theatre and Dance in 2004 and served as the head of acting for six years.
A native of Oklahoma, Lane earned a bachelor of fine arts at The University of Texas at Arlington and a master of fine arts at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Professionally, she is known as Lauren Lane because there was already a Laura Lane listed with the Actors’ Equity Association.
“I moved to Austin in 2002 with my daughter Kate, who was 4 years old at the time. I’m a single mom and wanted to relish the time with my daughter. Having worked steadily in Los Angeles for over a decade, I’d just turned 40 in a town where women over 40 rarely worked. I had just finished playing C.C. Babcock, a very recognizable comedy character on “The Nanny.” I made an educated guess that it would be a good long while before producers and directors would take a chance on me. I have family in Austin who embraced my decision to relocate, “ says Lane.
What do you like most about teaching?
“I loved the graduate school I attended, the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. We were lucky to have been taught by some of the brightest, most talented and creative artists in the world of theatre. I brought that history and knowledge to my work as a teacher and began to develop exercises, questions, and traditions that I could see excited the students interested in pursuing a professional career in acting.
“I have a unique insight because I studied extensively and am a classically trained actress who has worked at numerous regional theatres all over the country. I worked on three very successful television series (“The Nanny,” “L.A. Law,” and “Hunter”). I can share my experience in all aspects of the entertainment world, and I have found the students respect my experience and are willing to dive into our work together because they trust my veracity.”
Much has been written lately about film roles for older women. Actress Geena Davis, 66, has financed a study that found there were fewer good roles for women over 50. What has been your experience with Hollywood and roles for women?
“She is right, and I appreciate the effort she put in to statistically quantify this reality. Anything you watch, in this decade or the last three decades, who is the least represented? Women over 60. Yet one rarely hears this group mentioned by the various activists demanding more representation for historically marginalized groups. We continue to allow our cultural narrative to reflect a desire to bury women who age, as if we are an embarrassment.”
This year, the university will be opening up Live Oak Hall, the new film and television building. What kind of impact will this make to faculty and students in Theatre?
“This is a thrilling opportunity for Texas State students, and credit must be given to Johnny McAllister, assistant professor and head of film production. If he isn’t representing his own work at Cannes, he and Dean John Fleming, our chair Sarah Maines, former chair Deb Alley, and doubtless many others have been working diligently to help make this a reality. The film program at Texas State already works in concert with the B.F.A. acting program and with this advancement, the future is here.
If new students don’t flock to this university to pursue their careers as artistic entrepreneurs, well, they certainly aren’t reading the rankings for top undergraduate programs and they are likely to end up with enormous debt, crippling the flexibility they need to work at the highest levels in an industry with staggering demands.” ★