Interview with Wilfred Paloma 09/12/2020
Wilfred is an Actor’s Equity member with an M.A. in Theatre Arts from San Diego State University and a B.A. in Theatre Performance: Acting and Musical Theatre. Wilfred is also a graduate of the Meisner and Chekhov Integrated Acting Studio (MCIT). In addition to Diversionary, Wilfred is a teaching artist for La Jolla Playhouse, Arts for Learning, Young Actors Theater, San Diego Junior Theatre, and Blindspot Collective. Wilfred has just opened a private Performing Arts studio in North Park (San Diego), CA.
In 2019, Wilfred directed and choreographed School of Rock as well as choreographed Hunchback of Notre Dame at San Diego Junior Theatre. Wilfred performed in La Jolla Playhouse’s POP Tour Light Years Away. Additionally, Wilfred is a facilitator and actor with the kNOw More Program based out of the Justice and Reconciliation department at Point Loma Nazarene University. It is a touring drama-based Forum Theatre piece designed as a Human Trafficking awareness and prevention program. Check Wilfred out on Spotify and iTunes—The Things We Never Say featured on the track “Coronado Lights”. Check out Wilfred’s contributions to the book Michael Chekhov and Sanford Meisner: Collisions and Convergence in Acting Training edited by Anjalee Deshpande Hutchinson.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the roll out of my own private Performing Arts studio. Over the years there has been a steady increase of people asking me about private sessions, and I was able to serve a few of those people when my time allowed and when there was an appropriate space available. The opening of Wilfred Paloma Studios is born out of this growing need from the community as well as my desire to customize and truly help individual people attain their performative and artistic goals.
Simultaneous to the endeavors at my studio, I am a teaching artist with other community arts organizations in San Diego, and am currently teaching a panoply of different classes virtually with students in K-12.
Also, I developed and will be directing “Uplifting YOUR Voice” – A Virtual Cabaret which will be produced by Scripps Theatre Arts. This virtual cabaret is about the youth finding, strengthening, and uplifting their voices to build community. This virtual cabaret is designed for Musical Theatre performers from ages 10 to 18. More information as well as the full casting call can be found at this website:
How has this pandemic affected or shifted your practice/changed your projects?
The pandemic caused the classes I was teaching in March of 2020 to shift to a virtual space. It was an uncertain and scary time! I was concerned for my students, my collaborators, and the world at large. I was also in process for two productions at the time and was set to direct and choreograph a third slated to begin production in May. All of these projects have shifted and continue to be in flux until it is safe to have live performances and concrete dates can be determined.
As the pandemic continues to ravage some parts of the country and remains a real concern, I have been very cautious engaging in-person work. With the roll out of Wilfred Paloma Studios, I have been able to adhere to social distancing and other guidelines ensuring a safe and comfortable environment to work. I also remain vigilant in offering virtual sessions as an option.
What has your journey been like as an artist or creative person?
My journey has been wild. Right out of high school, I was awarded the President’s Diversity Scholarship which is a full ride to San Diego State University. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was very much the overachiever in high school, and always wanted to please others: teachers and my parents. I ended up floundering about for a while, taking an extended leave of absence from school, and taking a full time job.
For almost eight years I slaved away in the retail world, and had very little to do with the performing arts. I made many mistakes, but out of those challenges I centered myself and took a hard look at my life. I channeled my creative spirit and made the conscious decision to go back to school, but this time I would do it on my terms and work towards my aims. On a whim, I auditioned for a production of Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights at San Diego City College for which I was cast as the lead character Usnavi, and the rest is history. From that moment, I never looked back.
It is now 2020, I have since attained my A.A. in Visual and Performing Arts from San Diego City College, transferred back to San Diego State State University to finish my B.A. in Theatre: Acting and Musical Theatre Performance in a year, and continued to complete my M.A. in Theatre Arts. While at San Diego State University I graduated from the MCIT Studio a conservatory style Acting Studio focusing on Meisner and Chekhov techniques. I also became eligible and joined the Actor’s Equity Association through a POP Tour production at La Jolla Playhouse in 2019.
I am so very humbled and grateful for my journey thus far. I have so many thank-you’s to the teachers, mentors, family and friends that have stuck by me and supported me through it all!
Do you have any tips for up-and-coming, or rising artists/creatives?
Never ever, ever give up! Trust that you are where you need to be. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Know who your tribe is! True power comes from knowing yourself, truly, and living it everyday!
Learn more about the artist on their website: