What is it like to work and study with Joe??....

Joe is the person who saw more in me than I saw in myself. He challenged me to think, voice my opinions, and make discoveries. Through his mentorship, I have discovered new passions and new skills, and, most importantly, a new sense of the person I could be.

One of his life mottos is, “Be good people first.” Joe has encouraged, pushed, prodded, and guided me along. I’m proud to say that because of him, I think I’m much closer to that goal. Today, I am a better theatre artist and better person. I am eternally grateful for Joe’s passion, heart, and investment in who I am.
— Lauren Terry, B.F.A. Musical Theatre, 2019, Ouachita Baptist University - www.laurenelisabethterry.com
Joe has an unparalleled drive which ensures his collaborators and colleagues perform at their top potential. He holds himself to the highest standard and expects the same of his team.
— Nelson Rodriguez, Pride Films & Plays, Artistic Director
Joe is one of my favorite directors/professors I’ve had the opportunity to work with & learn from. His approach to tackling the script, extensive table work, and the dedication to finding out the story and the best way to tell it is fascinating; how well he treats his actors & truly makes you feel appreciated but without letting you get too comfortable (you are always on your toes in his productions) is so genius. Genuine is the best word I can use to describe him & I am so glad our paths crossed!
— Zach Myers, B.F.A. Musical Theatre, 2019, Ouachita Baptist University
Joe Hernandez is and will always be more than just a professor. Although he is an incredible teacher, he is also a motivator, a mentor, a listening ear and a man that pushes his students beyond their own expectations. Joe has the ability and gift to ignite passion into his friends, colleagues and students.
— Jessi Miller, Northwestern State University, B.S. Musical Theatre '17
“Joe and I met when I was a freshman in high school. He has challenged me as an artist to set goals. He has provided opportunities along the way in order for me to reach them. Joe cares nothing more than to meet young artists where they are at and propel them forward into the world and beyond.”
— Morgan Teel, Dance Waterloo, Artistic Director - www.dancewaterloo.org
Joe Hernandez is a mentor and a teacher who manages to see the potential in his students and inspires them to grow to it. He is a director who is highly collaborative and creatives an inventive and safe space for actors to play. He is great to work with because he has boundless energy, a generosity of spirit, and a critical eye; this creates a beautiful balance of both an atmosphere of trust and a striving for excellence. I think what sets him apart from other teachers is he not only pushes students to excel, but he inspires them to find that drive within themselves.
— Sydney Berk, LAMDA, M.A. Classical Acting, '17
Joe’s passion and dedication to his craft is contagious and inspiring.
— Kindra Steenerson, University of North Carolina Charlotte, Professor
My freshman year of college I was coming in already a very passionate theatre artist, but I had never met anyone more passionate about teaching, directing and theatre in general like I was. It was his passion that fed his students to want to be so much more and create so much more, myself included. He always expected his students to have the same burning desire to learn and grow as he did and that fire only built in me the more I was around him. Joe taught me to never give up on my dream and who I am as an actress. I am a stronger and more determined artist because of my time with him.
— Leanna Hicks, University of Richmond, B.A. Theatre '16
I first saw Joe at a masterclass he gave on “branding the artist”, and I left the class so inspired and ready to work! He later came to our school and taught a 3 week course on the same subject, and it was honestly a life-changer. Joe values hard work, honesty, and a passion for art, and he embodies these qualities at all times. His class was dynamic, and intuitive, and he himself was an extremely powerful force in all our lives.
— Luke Matherne, Northwestern State University, B.S. Musical Theatre '17
I believe Joe’s greatest strength, as a director, is his ability to bring together a group of artists and create a brand new community. Through this community wonderful, imaginative, and story driven work is created. I had the pleasure of being the lighting designer for his thesis project, Rumors. While working with him, Joe encouraged the cast, crew, and production team to come together as more than a group of people producing a play, but to become a family.
— Ben Norman, Southeastern Louisiana University, Technical Director
Studying with Joe Hernandez has been a turning point in my college career. I have received some of the greatest advice and instruction in our three week class than I have been given in all of my training. Along with his knowledge, his honesty and passion make him stand out from most. He is inspiring as an artist and just a person in general. With what I have gained from him, I feel more prepared than ever to bring my art into the professional world.
— Annie Dauzat, Northwestern State University, B.S. Musical Theatre '17
I’ve known Joe for about five years now, and while his mentorship has shaped me as a theatre artist and practitioner, I am continuously astounded by his ability to adapt to change and his willingness to gain knowledge from every experience and opportunity he encounters. Once you’ve worked with Joe, you have gained so much more than a mentor or a colleague. You now have someone in your corner that will listen to you, encourage you, and fight for you to succeed.
— Peyton Glendinning, Catawba College, B.A. Theatre '18
Over the past 15 years, I’ve known Joe Hernandez as a performer, teacher, and director, and in that time, I have witnessed his zeal for art and education deepen and expand to a contagious level. His commitment to create and innovate through collaboration while imparting his passion for theatre to his students is the driving force of his professional endeavors.
— Wendy Justice, Northwest Florida State College, Dance Instructor/Choreographer

Joe is a truly collaborative artist with big ideas and dreams. He’s constantly looking for new ways to create and interpret theatre, to keep the art he creates relevant and current. Nothing is too lofty for him; he is always willing to give ideas a try, and everything serves as a learning experience. He strives for a positive, open rehearsal process in which everyone is encouraged to bring ideas and to try new things, which makes him great to work with both as a student and as a colleague. He is also endlessly looking to help his students and colleagues to network, make connections, and take the next steps in their careers.
— Jodye Carroll Underwood, University of Southern Mississippi, M.F.A. Directing Candidate '18

Joe’s teaching is an original method. He cares less about the present and more about the future of students. Joe is engaged in helping with the work produced. His classes don’t allow you to fail, but rather give you no choice but to succeed.
— Taylor Smith, Northwestern State University, B.S. Musical Theatre '17