Director & Theatre Arts Teacher
Benji Braswell is the Theatre teacher at Jefferson High School, director of the Mainstage production and Co-Sponsor of the Jefferson Players. In additions to directing productions with Jefferson Players this year, they will also be directing Jefferson High School’s annual musical. Their most recent role in a production at Jeff was serving as the director of Peter Pan.
Benji has lived a life centered on theatre. Originally from West Texas, Benji was raised performing in professional Shakespearean productions at The Globe of the Great Southwest. They earned their undergraduate degree in theatrical directing from Columbia College Chicago while working as an actor in Chicago’s bustling theatre scene. Benji earned their masters degree in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder where they worked as a dramaturg and teaching artist for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Benji's love for storytelling and the social impact of theatre has led them to teach all age groups throughout their career and direct for multiple non-profit groups such as ArtsUnderground in Colorado and GuideRight in Chicago. Their goal is ultimately to share the joy of theatre making with their students and inspire social change through storytelling.
Raeanne O'Day is an English teacher and improv coach working with Jefferson Players.
Raeanne graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2018 with a Bachelor's degree in English Education and a minor in Counseling. Raeanne was offered a teaching position at Lafayette Jefferson High School in July of 2018 and served as director and sponsor of Jefferson Players from 2018 to 2023.
She believes theatre is a place of empathy and expression: a place for students to explore new stories and learn more about themselves and the world. Raeanne wholeheartedly believes that theatre helps foster kindness and bravery--two traits that help create empathetic and well-rounded individuals. Her goal is to help her students become bolder, better, and kinder people through the magic of theatre.