Who We Are: Meet Jeffrey Billard

Jeffrey Billard, M.Ed. holds a Master's degree in Creative Arts in Learning from Lesley University and a B.A. in English and Journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He teaches at Northeastern University in Boston and has also taught American Literature & History, writing, poetry, drama, film and television production for twenty-seven years at the high school, primarily at Barnstable High School, and middle school levels. As Assistant Director of the Barnstable High School Drama Club from 1994 to 2001, Jeff was involved in over thirty productions as a director, assistant director, singer, and actor. More recently Jeff directed the original play The Uncle Binky Show and Yasmina Reza's 'Art,' both at the Provincetown Theater. He will also be directing the classic play Mister Roberts at the Barnstable Comedy Club in March, 2012. Jeff also collaborated on writing three chapters for The Stage and the School, a performing arts textbook published by McGraw-Hill.

Owing to his strong belief in being a teacher/artist, Jeff went to Vietnam in 1997 to study at the University of Hue and has written, directed, and performed in his play Voices Across the Wall dealing with issues from the Vietnam War and has written and performed I, Vietnam a one-man theatrical piece as well. In the Spring of 2011 Jeff's play Once on the Tiger's Back was chosen as a winner in the Provincetown Theater's Spring Playwright's Festival. He has also co-authored and performed the play Waiting for Ingivelse with Keith Caldwell and has written a collection of poetry around the Vietnam War entitled Poetry of Conscience and a second called Circle Intact dealing primarily with the war in Iraq as well as PTSD. Jeff has also been a featured poet at the Provincetown Poetry and Literary Arts Festival and was awarded an NEH Fellowship to study at the Summer Teacher Institute-Teaching the Vietnam War at the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at UMass Boston in 1996. Jeff is also a voice actor who has performed in numerous Audio Dramas including most recently playing Signor Gremio in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.

Jeff  teaches Integrated Teaching Through the Arts, Drama and Poetry Across the Curriculum and Creative Drama with his colleague Keith Caldwell at Northeastern University in Boston. The two have also co-authored a text for use in the course and facilitate teacher training workshops as well. Jeff and Keith also taught an improv course at the Advanced Studies Leadership Program at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the summer of 2011.

Jeff believes that integrating the arts into education engages and energizes students while allowing them to make connections with prior knowledge and relate it to their own lives. Allowing students to discover their own learning through the arts is a key to engaging them and promoting them to gain their own knowledge. Jeff firmly believes that each student, no matter what their age, has something unique to “add to the conversation” and that integrating the arts is the conduit to making that happen.

Photo credit: Marshall Photography, Diane Marshall photographer


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