Capital Times feature spotlighting UW–Madison’s Kelly says he ‘uses arts to open doors’

The Capital Times recently spotlighted the work of UW–Madison’s Baron Kelly, who joined the School of Education’s Department of Theatre and Drama this fall.

Baron Kelly

Kelly is a professor of acting with the Department of Theatre and Drama and holds a concurrent appointment with the Department of Continuing Studies’ Odyssey Project, which offers UW–Madison humanities classes for adult students facing economic barriers to college.

Kelly said the Odyssey Project has been “transformative” for a lot of people, “who’ve gone on to graduate school, degrees at UW–Madison, social work,” he explained.

“Now it’s expanded to Odyssey Junior, there’s childcare … they go into the prisons, they have a program there now,” he said. “The most important thing is the care of the students and what they’re doing. That has not changed.”

The article notes that Kelly has built his career on making lasting connections, as an educator, actor, director and author. He is a four-time Fulbright scholar, who earned his PhD in theatre research from UW–Madison in 2003.

This fall, he’s teaching a small, upper-level Shakespearean performance course. With his acting students, Kelly translated in-class feedback to video after the university nixed in-person instruction, the article explains.

“It’s more than just being analytical, the way I developed this teaching,” Kelly said. “I’m not regurgitating something out of a book — I’m creating my own way, because I’m an actor and I know what’s necessary to get these students activated.”

Read more about Kelly’s work by accessing the full article on the website, here.