The Compass

The Compass is a podcast that asks: What do artists do to keep themselves from going to the dark side? How do they find balance when they may be creating beautiful things, but not necessarily making their entire income from their art? Hosted by actress Leah Walsh.
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Sep 15, 2017
Actress and drama therapist Liz Vital shares her thoughts on dealing with the dark side, leaving L.A. for Seattle, deciding to go to graduate school for  Drama Therapy, the healing power of storytelling, becoming a parent, and producing work with friends. This episode was recorded over Skype. If you value the conversations The Compass Podcast brings to light, please consider supporting the next year of the podcast by becoming a Patron on our new Patreon page! Receive access to bonus content: Thank you! Note: check out the documentary Liz mentions by Zeina Daccache
Sep 8, 2017

Dancer, teacher, and choreographer Lucie Baker shares her experiences with the dark side, how she approaches producing her own work, teaching, setting financial standards for yourself as an artist and asking for what you need, and her recent dive into expressive arts therapy while training at The Tamalpa Institute. Lucie is currently based in Seattle, this episode was recorded over Skype. Check out her work at

Aug 25, 2017

Creative producer and chef Stephen Sanders shares his experiences with the dark side, focusing on the long-term, his passion for supporting artists and building community, carrying on the legacies of his mentors, and his newest creative outlet Oxford Plaid, an intimate dinner party and creative photography service which is allowing him to bring people together in a whole new way. Check it out at

Aug 18, 2017

Actor Erin Wilhelmi shares her experiences with the dark side, her love for supporting the development of new plays, mentors, day jobs, and what it's been like taking over a role in a play that's already been running. She is currently appearing as Emmy in A Doll's House, Part 2 on Broadway. Check out her work at

Aug 11, 2017

The Compass Podcast, Episode 87: Matt Lombardi is now online! Fiction writer Matt Lombardi shares his thoughts on the dark side, his process as a writer, the long game of writing a novel, teaching, and not wasting time now that he's become a parent. The Compass was created two years ago! Happy Birthday, The Compass Podcast!

Aug 4, 2017

Actor Seth Numrich shares his thoughts on acknowledging when you're in the dark side, activism, working abroad as an American actor, the effects of commerce on the modern theatre, and coming from a creative family. Seth has been on stage in New York in shows including War Horse, Golden Boy, The Merchant of VeniceSlipping, and Iphigenia 2.0.



Jul 28, 2017

Director, choreographer, filmmaker, and dancer Yara Travieso shares her experiences with the dark side, finding a healthier way of working, coming from a creative family, the economy of art, and deciding where to put your energy.

Jul 21, 2017
Dancer and teacher Jamal Callender shares his experiences keeping out of the dark side, the strength he's finding in reexamining his approach to fitness and nutrition, the role technology plays in keeping him connected to his family and loved ones while dancing in Germany, the institutional differences in dance in Europe as opposed to the U.S.A., speaking up for yourself and your colleagues in a company setting, and starting the Barbados Dance Project. Check out the awesome work he's doing here:
Jul 15, 2017

Actress and director Delia Kropp shares her experiences with the dark side, advocating for transgender actors and stories in the Chicago theatre scene, re-entering the profession, and the importance of pursuing opportunities you're passionate about. Check out her current work here: Feldenkrais lesson audio recordings mentioned can be found here:

Jul 7, 2017

Actor Charlie Russell, currently performing in The Play That Goes Wrong on Broadway,  shares her experiences with the dark side, creating work with a longterm company of artists, growing in a performance and owning your choices, the long journey The Play That Goes Wrong has taken to go from performing in a pub to running the show on Broadway, taking care of yourself during a long wrong of a very physical show, and exploring New York City. Check out everything Mischief Theatre is up to here:

Jun 23, 2017

Filmmaker Kat Hidalgo and Actor Anna Martine Freeman share their experiences with the dark side, being an advocate for yourself and others, Kat's move from Ecuador to Canada, the Olivier Award-winning play Rotterdam that Anna is currently starring in in London, travel, activism, being proactive as queer artists, and friendship. Check out Kat's film work here: and keep informed of Anna's acting work on Twitter @annamartine_ and @RotterdamPlay. 

Jun 16, 2017

Actress and founder of The Artist Co-op Rachel Berger shares her experiences with the dark side, how she decided to pursue her new endeavor in creating a co-working space for artists, fundraising, mentors, bringing people together, and she gives us a tour of the space! Check out The Artist Co-op here: Check out The Compass Podcast Facebook page for video of this mini live episode take by Dominique Taylor of The Storyscape

Jun 9, 2017

Actress, singer, dancer, and producer Miranda Noelle Wilson shares her experiences with the dark side, building a community in NYC, feeding yourself artistically, starting a new theatre company, day jobs and transitions, and looking at the big picture. Check out what she's up to: and

Jun 2, 2017

The Compass Podcast, Episode 78: Garrett David Kim is now online! Playwright and educator Garrett David Kim shares his experiences with the dark side, growing as a playwright, finding your footing after college, and his educational work with the kids at The 52nd St Project here in NYC. Check out his work at and!

May 26, 2017

Actress Amelia McClain shares her thoughts on the dark side, the paths that being a reader for casting directors has opened up for her, becoming a parent as an artist, auditioning, and her approach to being an understudy. 

May 19, 2017

The Compass Podcast, Episode 76: Ben Bartolone is now online!

Playwright, actor, and producer Ben Bartolone shares his experiences with the dark side, discovering his love for playwriting, not being precious with your work, the importance of mentors helping younger artists, and The Bluestone Project which aims to foster empathy in our oft-divided nation. You can find more information about that work at:

May 12, 2017

The Compass Podcast, Episode 75: Danny Mefford. Choreographer Danny Mefford shares his experiences with the dark side, when he started identifying as a choreographer instead of a performer, the nature of collaboration, his artistic mentors, and challenging yourself. Danny's choreography can currently be seen in New York in Venus at the Signature Theatre, and Dear Evan Hansen at The Music Box Theatre on Broadway.

May 5, 2017

Actor Alex Hanna shares his experiences with the dark side, self-compassion, the support of family, sustaining a long run of a play, and streamlining his life. 

Apr 28, 2017

Visual artist Yazmany Arboleda shares his experiences with the dark side, the power of creating art in public spaces, following your heart instead of working within the system, valuing yourself, asking for help, and his latest project Espejismo, which asks the question "When people see you, what would you like them to know?". Check it out and share your own reflection at

Apr 21, 2017

The Compass Podcast, Episode 72: Dr. Lisa Hodge Kander. Director and teacher Dr. Lisa Hodge Kander shares her experiences with the dark side, her extensive work with youth theater, going back to school to get her PhD, the importance of defining success for yourself and building a community that can truly support you, raising a family, and the role of the artist as activist.

Apr 14, 2017

Director Rob Goudy shares his experiences with the dark side, navigating the theatre scene in his hometown of Minneapolis, looking for new ways to support yourself as an artist, growing up in the theatre, his dream spaces to direct a show in, plus some awesome recommendations. 

Apr 7, 2017
Actor and illustrator Jessica Love shares her experiences with the dark side, managing expectations, growing up in a family of artists, finding power in illustration and deciding to make that work another part of her career as opposed to a hobby, and the process of developing a children's book and finding a publisher. 



Mar 31, 2017

Craftsperson and business owner Sarah Kirkham shares her experiences moving from building theatrical props to making handcrafted leather goods and starting her own company with her business partner, putting down roots in Milwaukee, being open to new opportunities, and her love for the National Park System. Check out her beautiful work at 

Mar 24, 2017

Actress Kahyun Kim shares her experiences with the dark side, moving to the United States from South Korea to pursue acting, navigating the TV/Film world in LA, the support of family and friends, the casting process as an asian actress, and the new play Linda Vista by Tracy Letts that she's currently in rehearsals for at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.

Mar 17, 2017

In today's mini episode, host Leah Walsh talks about hard decisions, and reads an excerpt from a talk Patti Smith gave at the Louisiana Literature Festival August 24, 2012, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. See footage of the talk here: Check back next week for a new full episode of The Compass.

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