Nice to meet you.
I'm Kendra. Director, teaching-artist, unapologetic idealist. I made some things for you.
Human in Public is a unique alchemy of cyclical creativity, artistic anarchy, voice liberation, earth and moon body-tuning, and sacred sensual dance parties, all designed to help you live your brightest, most vibrant life on a happy, healthy planet.
My work is devoted to helping theatre folx re-mind, remember, and reset towards ancient rhythms that will sustain you in this addicted, over-socialized, tapped-out society. Your body already knows how. I can help with the rest.
Is this for you?
Performers + Directors
You tend to hold the heaviest time burden of the process, and at the end of the day, the review will likely be about you. You need rhythms, rituals, and rest so you can repeat it all tomorrow.
playwrights + Designers
You are first on the scene, and stressing all the way through tech. You hold story close and weave more magic than most realize. You need optimized creativity, heightened intuition, and massive trust.
Technicians + Management
You organize, strategize, build it, paint it, fix it, find it, and get us all there on time, every time. You need a simpler, cleaner food system and reliable returns on long, sweaty hours.
Theatre and film majors past, present, future; amateurs and professionals, hobbyists. Actors, designers, directors, technicians, playwrights, composers, choreographers, cinematographers. If you participate in any way in the process of bringing stories to life onstage or screen, I made this for you. If the tech struggle is real, if you currently have seventeen jobs, if you know what it is to miss a wedding, birth, or funeral for a gig, if you’d rather be in rehearsal than anywhere else, if your schedule is killing your health and wellness and you just can’t stop, yes. Come in. Put on your blacks, grab a yummy beverage, and let’s get down to it.
"I was told you would see right into my soul, and you did. I am so grateful."
What to know more about me?
Raised on a farm-ish in Florida swamp land, I cut my teeth in NYC before iPhones were a thing while living with an 84-year-old woman in midtown Manhattan, performing in East Village basements. I've spent about a decade in theatre programs including an MFA in acting, and over a decade teaching professionals and college students; the current iteration is a seat on performance faculty at Northern Illinois University, where I teach movement, voice, acting, and period styles along with intensive personal process work in the rehearsal room. I'm in my sixth year at Northern. The work I share on this site was prompted and shaped by my students; it exists as much for them as for lil' baby me who sometimes cried on the subway between rehearsal and waiting tables.
My preferred vices are coffee, wine, and goat cheese. I love days off and tech rehearsals equally. I'm a political feminist, pronouns she/her/hers. Some students call me Moon Mom.
I live in Chicagoland with movement-teaching partner Joseph, wild and free three-year-old Jack, tiny cat Calpurnia, and a jungle yard full of medicine I'd like to know more about. For teenage me, the ultimate dream was to work in the theatre while growing a family, and lemme tell ya, finding balance and ease in this craziness has been equal parts painful and pretty.
Now the dream is changing: I've logged thirty years onstage and twenty in the field with the most gorgeous teachers and friends and all of it was leading here, in pursuit of freedom for the creatives I know and love who are completely. burnt. out. Or on the verge. Or ready to quit, cut corners, settle, sell out.
I value hard work but I'm done with long hours, low wages, shitty nutrition, and the broken systems that got us here. I'm done with the system of the artist-slave. I don't believe in unpaid internships and refuse to work a million jobs to make ends meet. Oh and I don't care if I have the weirdest job in the room. I'm a maker. Like you, I'm programmed to see the world differently. Like you, I grow full of rage when asked to work a day job, or when I'll ever get a normal life, or if I'm ready to grow up. I have no apologies.
I am here to give permission, process, pathways, and pleasure. I'm here to sustain you in pursuit of your wildest dreams, no matter how impossible it may seem.
Do we already know each other?
You care about your people, planet, the under-served, the misrepresented, animals, children, the future. You value honesty, truth, vulnerability, course-correction. You actively re-educate, decolonize, and detoxify your patterns and environments. You want more space, freedom, ease, health, laughter, sex, and thriving relationships along with better jobs, travel, and stories. You want to feel powerful and beautiful and clear and seen. You'd like to be more present in your body, and able to freely express ALL the life in there and still be valued, trusted, and wanted. You want more access to your intuition and impulses, and to trust the instrument, channel, vessel, choice, mind, instinct. You want to fully live your life by being fearlessly seen and heard.
You want it for all of your people, and all who believe in human rights. You strive to live your purpose. You believe in right livelihood and deeper love and nature patterns and the cycle of life and the wheel of the year. You value and are curious about ancient ways, ancestors, our bodies, our homes, our personal magic, creative energy, pleasure, quiet, space, and human experience. All of it. And you want it to continue, and you know you can help. You know there is a better way.
And maybe your nerves get all up in the way. And anxiety. And depression. And time and money. And so on. I know. Me too.
My work isn’t for everybody. It's mysterious and intuitive. Some folx prefer the status quo. Some have their own magic. If this speaks to you, you are called. If you are fiercely sick of hustling and running, you are called. If you’re ready to shed the toxic thought patterns of patriarchy and get back to an ancient knowing then you. are. called.
I’m here for the health of the community landscape. For all. For us. Now.
Join me in the war on what we’ve been told. This is the age of the rising artist: we desperately need you and your point of view and your experience and your rage and your love. We need you. Only you can tell us what you know and how it should go from here. This is how makers will save the world.
Take a look around. Try it on for size. Visit me on Instagram, where I'm most likely to be found posting earth-based rhythms and medicine (@humaninpublic) and theatre professor mom realness (@kendra.holton).
Check out the retreats I run over at Actor’s Movement Camp.
Need some encouragement now? Try 7 Reasons to Keep Making Theatre (Especially When You're Broke) and the creative clearing kit freebie.