Three Minutes with Brian Walsh, director of “Dora the Explorer, Live!”

There’s so much creativity in these kids that I try to foster. I learn from their creativity and put it into my creativity, and melt them together!

– Brian Walsh


What does it take to be a director? Brian Walsh shares his thoughts and vision on directing “Dora the Explorer, Live!” and the creative process that is paving the way to Upper Darby Summer Stage’s 37th Season opener.

Brenna: What is your insight/vision for the show? 

Brian Walsh: It’s kind of hard to say, cause you want to be true to the medium that it comes from [the Nickelodeon TV show], because it has to be very specific, you can’t really deviate that much. The vision for me is to really, I don’t want to say corny, but it needs to be fun and exciting with a little twist of adventure, which will draw in the kids [in the show] and the audience. I want them to be dazzled! A lot of the steps are simple, so maybe the kids at home can recreate them themselves.

That is really cool. I think that this is important for a show like Dora, because it’s a Nickelodeon kid’s show, which is a show where kids sit and watch and try to mimic what’s going on.

Yeah, they are expecting something.

 Yeah, that’s really cool!

How do you feel working with the cast? Is this different from casts in the past because of the show?

Yes, for me I thought a lot of cast members would be like it’s “Dora the Explorer” oh my gosh …But really thinking about it and watching it, they are so into it! They love the creativity; they are so invested in it!

Then I put two and two together; this is the first generation that had Dora. They are thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen and we have a good bit of seventeen year olds, but Dora started in 2000… I think that’s why they are so invested in it, because they know it and they watched it when they were kids and they are excited about it. I don’t think there’s a person [in the cast] that is sitting in the corner rolling their eyes because they are bored. They are smiling and taking the fun from it and really connecting it, which I think is really awesome.

That’s awesome! Well let’s see what else. Why do you keep coming back to Summer Stage? The million-dollar question!

The million-dollar question. No! I love this place because it’s a family and I grew up here. This is where I learned to love theater and this kind of like me giving back, because I love theater.

What’s your perspective from being a participant in the program to a director?

When you’re a kid you don’t see how much goes into it. You just think they  [the directors] are up there, they tell us what to do and that’s all they do. But when you’re in the director’s shoes I guess, you see the involvement. It’s not just telling the kids what to do; you have to make sure that everything is in its place and that everything is your vision, and the vision of your whole staff. So that means meetings, and it starts in May, or even before May when you get the script in April. It’s not like we got the script a couple days ago and then we decided to put on a show. It’s a process and I love the process, creating from the start until the end. It’s an awesome regimented thing, where it starts small and then you get ideas, then you talk to other people and those ideas build, and more people come in and more ideas. It’s a collaborative thing. I love working collaboratively!

How many shows have you directed [at Summer Stage]?

Since 2007, so this is my 5th or 6th.

Nice! Yeah cause, I remember in 2005 you were my stage manager!

Yes! That’s right!

So it’s been a progression, but now you’re doing big things!

Yeah, yeah! I enjoy it! I love working with kids. Seeing kids create characters and helping them get it! Like coming on [stage], think about when you were that age what did you do? Connections, trying to get a connection out of kids, I think that’s the coolest thing!

Yeah, then they get it. This is kind of a little bit similar, but what are the kids learning and how are you learning from the kids?  From years past and now, are there things that you take back from them? Do they give you things as you are giving them the tools to become better performers?

I think the creativity that the kids have themselves. I may think it one way, but they might think it this way, and their way may work, and their way works better than what I thought it would be, because they are invested in it! If they think it is should be that way, it’s that collaborative thing again. There’s so much creativity in these kids that I try to foster. I learn from their creativity and put it into my creativity, and melt them together!

That’s awesome! Why should people come see “Dora the Explorer”?

It’s exciting! It’s so good. I don’t know, even though it’s corny and preschool, you learn so many things from her! Who would have thought to have a Pirate Party and there’s a treasure chest with costumes and props and things like that! It’s just cool and so fun! I don’t know it excites you!



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2 thoughts on “Three Minutes with Brian Walsh, director of “Dora the Explorer, Live!”

  1. Helen Hartigan says:

    Two of my favorite people! Great work both of you!

  2. Bill Strahan says:

    Brian – we are so lucky to have you at Summer Stage. Thanks for taking on Dora and for putting so much of your talents and energy into it.

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