The Stratford Playhouse is many things. I started theater toward the tail end of my freshman year, so I didn’t know what to expect from the Playhouse. All I remember is feeling excited to try and begin a new chapter of my life in the world of music and performing, but nervous to meet new people and try new things. I wondered if I would even be accepted into this new world. Thankfully, I faced a warm welcome and gained several new friends, memories, and lessons that I will carry with me always. While my “theater career,” as short as it has been, didn’t always come easy, I was lucky that 99 percent of moments were ones that made me smile.
I gained several role models along the way who shaped me as an actor, singer, and a young adult – from my friend Kyle Goodson, who begged me to audition for Newsies, to CeCe Prudhomme, our head director who constantly pushed me beyond myself. Each moment was instrumental. CeCe took a chance on me three years ago, a scrawny kid with stage fright, as did the other amazing directors of the Playhouse, who gave me more than life lessons and memories. They gave me a chance. I am now pursuing my love of music and songwriting at Belmont University this fall, and I wouldn’t have achieved that dream had it not been for the inspiration and support from everyone.
Honestly, I would conclude with a story or joke from my three years, but there are too many to fit in a 350-word limit, so I’ll leave you with the best summary of what I learned. The Stratford Playhouse is many things – supportive, exhilarating, challenging, inspiring, and one of a kind. But as a whole, it is defined by the leaders and learners who encapsulate the personality, passion, and possibility of theater and who truly embody the meaning of the phrase: “Yes, and….”
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