I knew since a toddler that theatre is what I love. Of course, I didn’t know what theatre was at that age, but I knew I love the singing and dancing. Growing up in rural Maine, this turned my life into an ever ending game of ‘where do I fit in?’ I tried sports as a kid. Lots of sports. I quit tennis lessons after maybe two classes. I went to softball until I got my jersey, but then I lost interest and didn’t go back. When I was in my first track race at the tender age of maybe four, the couch asked my mom to carry me across the finish line because I was taking too long (this race was in meters). My shining moment in the pee-wee basketball games was dodging the ball and waving to the audience – er, the crowd? – as I was running up and down the court. So, it became apparent fairly quickly that I wasn’t going to be earning any scholarships for sports.
I was a shy child, so my parents entered me in a state pageant at age 5 to help me overcome my shyness. They thought it would be a one time deal. At least, I think, they hoped. On the way home from Bangor, I just kept talking about the next year when I do the next pageant, they looked at each other and rolled their eyes, but I found my niche – it was performing. As a child, I did pageants from age 5 to about age 13. I had dance recitals, baton recitals and competitions, gymnastic recitals. I felt special to do something that not many kids in my grade – or in my school, for that matter – was a part of. Everyone did sports. I performed, that was my happy place.
But, the theatre in my hometown was lacking. Plays and musicals was what I yearned to be a part of, but there just weren’t a lot of chances. And the few opportunities my school did have, I never got a role. It absolutely crushed me. I received my first true broken heart because of theatre, but I oddly still wanted it, I still kept auditioning. I still listened to Broadway cast albums on repeat in my bedroom. It was somewhere through that heartache that I realized I really loved theatre. The other activities I thought I loved but I was rejected from, I quickly lost interest. That never happened with theatre.
And this brings me to where I am now with theatre. Life is sorta funny at times, how it brings you full circle, and to places you never imagined you’d end up. At the moment, I am directing my first musical in The County at Wintergreen Arts Center, and it’s with children ages 5 to 12 – right in the age I was as I was discovering my love (and hate) for theatre. I love being able to bring back to The County what I’ve learned from my years in theatre and to be able to give something to elementary aged students that I didn’t have. Not to mention at a time where the arts and music budget not is getting cut out of schools, but out of the nation’s budget. It’s just as rewarding for me as it is for my mini actors to watch them grow as actors and as people, and to hear from their parents how they are gaining so much more confidence in themselves. It’s so awesome to watch these kiddos work really hard and to watch the results when they get through a scene without my help, or they finally master a dance that the choreographer taught them. Theatre is not an easy thing to make, but with the right mixture of awesome people and hard work, the pay off is always worth it in the end!
So, that’s a little glimpse of who I am and where I come from. With this blog, I intend to talk about all aspects of theatre, and my different experiences with theatre I’ve had over the years (and I assure you, I’ve had far more amazing experiences then negative ones by now). I also will go into more detail about this children’s musical (“We Are Monsters” – it goes up in two weeks!)
Theatre is incredibly important to who we are as humans. It helps you walk in someone else’s shoes for a time. It allows you to feel raw emotion that TV or movies just can’t provide. It can serve as an escape from your everyday crappy life if you just need a laugh. It teaches, it heals, it connects people. I hope to convey all these points in upcoming blog posts.