Meet Michael Payne: Cleveland’s New Theater Teacher

By Madeline Sweet, News Editor

Michael Payne teaches intro to theater, IB theater (HL and SL) and intermediate theater at Cleveland. Not only is he new to the school, Portland is a new city to him as well.

Payne grew up an only child in Dallas, Texas. He didn’t live near many other kids, so he put on one-man shows in his tree house. “I had no idea what I was doing,” he said. “I would just see stuff on television and I would try to recreate it.” 

One time he wanted to put on a puppet show and he cut up his mom’s wigs to use for his characters. After this she put him in classes at the Dallas Theater and he stayed involved throughout high school. 

He went to Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the University of Texas in Austin. Michael started as a professional actor, but Payne always knew he would end up in the classroom. 

“I had some really awesome teachers when I was a kid and that guided me towards places and discovering things and I just really respected teachers. There was something really cool that I liked about a classroom. And I didn’t know what I wanted to teach, I thought I might teach English, then I realized theater is what I wanted,” he said.

Payne is trying to teach students that “it takes a whole community to put on a play, a whole community to tell a story,” he said.