Drama teacher acts on experience



Jennifer Saigeon’s past experiences in Hollywood lead her to realize her love for teaching theatre.


“That doesn’t matter, you have life experience!”

It’s a line from Little Shop of Horrors, the first musical new drama teacher Jennifer Dithridge-Saigeon is directing at Roseville High School. Nothing could ring more true for Saigeon herself.
Though she now finds herself a seasoned drama teacher with a passion for her students, Saigeon’s theater journey began long before her time at RHS.

As a fresh Chico State graduate, Saigeon’s journey began in Los Angeles, the unofficial movie and acting capital of the country, where Hollywood reigns supreme.

“I literally packed everything into my car…and drove down there,” Saigeon said.

While Saigeon didn’t become an overnight sensation in Hollywood, her 10 years in Los Angeles led her down interesting career paths and through a plethora of jobs in the industry, some even lighting her fire for theater education.

“I worked a lot of jobs when I was acting…I worked three jobs at a time at some points,” Saigeon said. “I taught kids theatre, I taught adults theatre, I taught at [Northridge] where I was going to get my masters. All of those were awesome experiences.”

In between her theatre, film and directing jobs, Saigeon also found herself training at the Larry Moss studio.

Named as a direct tribute to famous acting coach Larry Moss who taught many Academy Award winning actors.


“You’re constantly [studying in classes] with actors who have been in the business, because you have to be [training] to keep yourself ready to work at any time if your agent calls,” Saigeon said.
Jennifer Dithridge-Saigeon may not be a household name, but her work portfolio offers a glimpse into the variety surrounding her LA lifestyle.

Her experience in the industry spans from creating her own personal projects, to directorial opportunities, as well as less glamorous theatre work for the aspiring actor.

“I was an extra. [Extras] work anywhere from twelve to sixteen hour days, and you get paid sixty bucks. You’re around all of the actors who are in a TV show. You’re background, you’re in various scenes, whatever they need you for,” Saigeon said. “That was really fun, but you could be on some strange shoots.”

According to senior John Wallasch, Saigeon’s experience within the industry helps prepare students for a new level of theatrical study.

“I had an audition for UCLA not too long ago, and she worked with the monologues I was doing multiple times, and I thought they were strengthened every single time I worked with her,” Wallasch said. “She’s been very supportive of my aspirations.”

Junior Annabelle Tiznado feels Saigeon’s past exposure as a working actor and teacher have strengthened her directorial abilities in rehearsals.

“[In rehearsals] it’s very professional…we get these things done and we’re simultaneously working on different things, which is really nice, especially for the show now which has a lot of different things going on,” Tiznado said. “It’s nice that she knows we need to split up and conquer.”

Throughout Saigeon’s 10 years in Los Angeles, though the acting jobs came and went, one thing always remained constant – her passion for teaching.

“I always loved teaching,” Saigeon said. “When I figured out I could take my acting and also help students, then I decided I definitely wanted to do something like that.”

According to Wallasch, Saigeon’s teaching and directing style leans on her past experiences while encouraging student discussion.

“[In] rehearsals, she’ll bring in a lot of collaborative work, she’ll talk about how we can bring in new things to play with,” Wallasch said. “It’s always a sort of play.”

For Saigeon, her ultimate goal in discussing her work in the industry is to best prepare her students for the path they have ahead of them.

“I try to remind students of the dedication to the craft, and what it means when you’re actually out going to auditions and trying to book jobs,” Saigeon said. “How can we apply what we’re learning in the classroom to that experience?”