I have two kids and my daughter has recently taken a liking to being onstage. She is seven and her wanting to be involved in theatre has been a new experience for me. I didn’t really develop my passion for theatre until I was in high school, so I wouldn’t have considered myself a theatre kid. I didn’t grow up in the environment my daughter currently is in now.
I’ve been a theatre director and teacher for over 18 years and I know that there are significant benefits to being involved in the performing arts. Theatre influences the development of physical, emotional, and social skills by boosting self-confidence, cooperation, communication, creative thinking, and memory. I tell parents all the time that I wish I had some place like Elm Street when I was growing up and how great it is for their children to be involved in a theatrical arts environment.
I see so many children walk in our doors wishing for the opportunity to stand in the spotlight. As children, we have so many opportunities to grow, change, and explore. We create hopes and dreams.
Being a theatre parent is an out-of-body experience for me. For years I have encouraged other students to pursue performing to overcome fears of public-speaking, improve their social skills, or create stories—but never have I thought of impressing these skills on my own children. I always had the open mind to let my daughter play soccer if she wanted to. To witness her interest and personally see her growth where I work is an enriching adventure. She loves to paint, draw, sing, and create stories—all of these activities she can participate in at Elm Street.
Over the years, I’ve received tens of thousands of praises, thank you’s, and hugs from children to adults. I’ve been criticized and misunderstood, only to research more and become stronger in my artistic worth. I’ve worked alongside those who admire my works and hundreds of those that I learn something new from every day.
So, why art? Why do I work in such a field that some people say is dying? Why do I do what I do?
The term “art” can be defined in many ways: painting, music, dance, theatre, literature—the list goes on. The dictionary defines “art” as something that is created with imagination and skill that expresses important ideas and feelings.
It’s a form of expression. It is part of my identity. I enjoy creating with others. And I especially love to share art with the community and with my family. I am a dreamer at heart and my aspirations are better expressed through my artistic endeavors.
But, it’s the moments that someone connects with my art, my life, and they share a part of their lives with me. And it’s because of those instances that make me want to reach everyone and make their own unique connection with art—and it’s even more encouraging when it’s my own children.
Elm Street encourages children and adults to be engaged and inspired through art. We created our Collage Series to give actors and artists of all ages’ opportunity to grow—to express their hopes and dreams, to gain confidence in their abilities, and to learn more about themselves.
We recognize the power the arts have for the next generation, which is why we have developed digital classes this fall to allow our students to grow, engage, and thrive in a time where in-person interaction isn’t always possible. Learn more about these classes and what to expect the week of August 10th!