We had the good fortune of connecting with Tanya White and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tanya, what inspires you?
I find where we are right now, as a nation, inspiring. There are a lot of tough conversations around equality and accountability that people are having. There’s an emotional and value-driven rigor of personal and national examination happening that art facilitates and supports. I am writing with more frequency and abandon, with less censorship. The expression ‘the personal is political’ is really resonating, especially in the poetry I’m writing right now.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Right now, I’m focused on being the Artistic Director of a theatre company and find that all the skills I’ve developed over the past twenty years, in various roles and industries, support that work. I am so proud of the momentum we’re building. I am excited to share a vision and collaborate with an ensemble to realize what we can do. I’ve felt many challenges along the way but they all seem to serve me in getting better at the work I’m determined to do. I’ve had the benefit of people around me who really see the best in me and encourage my confidence. My professional life has been a journey taking the scenic route. While I appreciate the discipline of steadily moving in one direction, I find my choices take me on detours that end up contributing to my success in the long run. I do my best to stay present. While I don’t think I am unique in this point of view, I know it’s been the key to a deeper understanding and appreciation of who I am. I am always releasing judgement and criticism of myself and extending the same kindness to other people. I want the work I do, to be honest, kind and grounded in illuminating our connection to each other. I believe this honesty and kindness include championing change that means everyone is safe, fed, sheltered, educated and supported.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live and work in Santa Monica and do not own a car so I’m definitely living the local lifestyle. I guess it goes without saying the beach (including a walk on Venice Beach promenade) will be a destination, including a long coastal drive (I guess we’ll rent a car!)

Santa Monica is home to some really good restaurants. I’m a Milo & Olive fan and Birdy G’s for cocktails. Also, a favorite spot is Santa Monica Brewworks, owned and managed by some great guys and they’ve brilliantly adapted their spot for social distancing. We would definitely take a stroll to Belmar Park that features a new sculpture and a walk highlighting African-American history in Santa Monica. We’ll do a hike in Santa Monica mountains. I am NOT a hiker, but I manage to go once a year to remind myself WHY I’m not a hiker and enjoy some gorgeous views. I also like stop in at Bergamot Station and check out the galleries. Also, not a shopper but love pretty things so we may have to a little tourist venture to the 3rd st promenade/Santa Monica Place to window shop and then Great Labels on Wilshire, my go-to consignment spot.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Adrienne Johnson-Lister – Managing Director, Santa Monica Repertory Theater, friend and partner in crime (the revolutionary kind!) Amy Shimshon-Santo – Poet and champion

Website: santamonicarep.org

Instagram: @santamonicarep

Facebook: Santa Monica Repertory Theater

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