BILL KOCH aka WILLIAM KOCH
AEA, SAG/AFTRA (formerly AGVA)
“Why do you want to be in Theatre?” If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question—by family, friends, directors, producers, students, et al—I’d have a lot of dollars!!! The answer for me, Bill Koch, is very simple—because being in Theatre is where I’m most happy most of the time, whatever part of Theatre I’m in. And thanks to being born with a wide variety of gifts and learning from some terrific teachers, I have actually made a living as a Theatre Artist throughout my life.
I learned early in professional Theatre that “success” is defined individually. I have had a successful career because I have had the opportunity to work my entire life doing what I most enjoy—some form of story telling—and also the joy of sharing with fellow artists and audiences.
I’ve been a dancer, actor, singer, choreographer, stage director, music director and stage manager; a few times I’ve designed sets or costumes or props; I’ve performed as a puppeteer, a mime, (never did learn to juggle); I’ve been a playwright, composer, lyricist, poet; I’ve taught in colleges, universities and acting schools; and I have a long list of “between shows” jobs. An early mentor taught me “Even if you’re working at a non-Theatre job, remember you are a Theatre Artist–look at these other jobs as research.”
My first acting role, in grade school, was as a talking milk bottle in a health food play. During later grade school, my mother and my aunt put together “The Koch Trio” (my two cousins tap dancing & me playing accordion) and took us to every talent show on Long Island! Next came four years playing contrabass in the world famous Hempstead High School Symphony Orchestra. But it was at St. Olaf College, MN where my first mentor Ralph Haugen opened up the world of Theatre for me! [see “Remember…” Highlight] Wow! I couldn’t get enough! Eventually I got to New York and began an incredible, joyous, painful, stimulating, provoking, life-affirming career in Theatre as a full-time profession.
I journeyed from ballet dancer to show dancer to actor to choreographer to stage director to playwright to composer & lyricist—all interwoven with puppetry! During more than half a century, I’ve created or brought to life 104 characters and stage directed and/or choreographed 221 productions, as well as written 13 full length plays (6 produced); 28 one-act plays (20 produced), in addition to countless compositions of folk & art songs, and several poetry collections [see “Mapping The Legacy”].
I am grateful to my Higher Power and every person who helped me along the way—and to myself for allowing myself to follow my dream and form an ongoing career in Theatre Arts!
Anyone can learn the techniques of Theatre, but no one can teach you the dream! Follow your dream!