Original Research: Interview with Elizabeth Wiley (Confirmed)

Elizabeth Wiley is a performer and music teacher local to the Staunton area. She is also a professor at William & Mary.

On 12/15/2020, at 7:00 AM, Elizabeth Wiley was contacted with the following email:

“Dear Ms. Wiley,

I am William Bradford, a high school student at Renaissance School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I am conducting my Senior Thesis research on performance psychology.

Because of your extensive history in production and work with students, I believe that you have a unique perspective, which I would like to ask you a few questions about.

Would you be open to an online interview sometime between now and January 6th or 7th? I am typically available on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 12:00 and 6:00 PM EST, but I would be glad to accommodate your schedule.

I am certain you are busy, so if scheduling a call does not work for you, I have attached questions below, in case you may have the opportunity to answer via email instead.

Thank you so much for your kind consideration,
With my highest regards,
William Bradford

1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work as a professor at William & Mary? Have you been able to arrange any modified performances? Did they inspire the same pre-performance emotions as before the pandemic?

2. Have you ever worked with performers using emotion-based performance analysis tools? If not, how do you recommend identifying and maintaining an emotional state that is conducive to peak performance?

3. Performing athletes commonly use mental tools such as positive self-talk to help remain in an optimal state of emotion during performances. What mental tools do you suggest to students for coping with performance anxiety during performances and why?

4. Do you have any specific pre-performance routines that you use or that you instruct your students to use?

5. Flow is essentially the feeling of complete immersion in a performance. Is there any specific way that you can recall accessing this feeling, or is out of your control? If it is out of your control, do you feel that you can influence it with proper preparation?

6. Overtraining is a common phenomenon in sports training today. Its symptoms include long-term mood alterations and decreased physical performance in sports. Have you found that training for a performance too much can elicit these symptoms as well? Is there anything in specific that you do to mitigate this effect?”

She responded, agreeing to an interview with the following email:

“You are writing at a good time (no travels, between semesters, etc.). Yes, I would be happy to talk with you via zoom. I’m finishing up a project until the 21st, but after that, I am fairly open, even during the holiday weeks, so if you’d like to do this during your school break, I’m open to that. OR we could aim for that first week of January.
Elizabeth Wiley
Professor of Theatre
Dept of Theatre, Speech and Dance – 130 Morton Hall
College of William & Mary”

I responded with the following email, which was where our correspondence left off as of 12/16/2020 at 2:56 PM:

“Dear Ms. Wiley,

Thank you for your quick response. Would you like to do a Zoom call in the first week of January? I think that may be the best option overall. Are you available on the 5th, 6th, or 7th of January? If not, please let me know when works best for you and I would be glad to accommodate.

Thank you very much for your kind consideration,
Kind regards,
William Bradford”

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