When I was a kid, my parents took me to see Sideways Stories From Wayside School at Childsplay and I remember sitting in the audience and thinking “hey, I could do that.” And years later, in a Childsplay summer camp, I did.
I started taking classes from them when I was a kid at a very early age. Despite quitting many things as a child, I somehow stuck with theatre, and I think I owe most of that to Childsplay.
I loved taking their classes and going to see their shows and knowing that the actors onstage were the same people who were coaching me in theatre. From their training, I learned how to act, but I also learned how to be kind and respectful. I learned about theatre etiquette. I learned how to take a note. I learned how to speak up for myself. I learned how to communicate.
Childsplay has shaped so much of not only who I am as an artist, but also as a person. It’s crazy for me to look back at photos or video tapes of performing in their summer camps and know that without those moments, I would not be where I am. At 20 years old, I still tell people that the best training I ever got was when I was a kid.
Whether it be Jon Gentry giving me the note “act better,” Debra K. Stevens introducing me to Shakespeare, Katie McFadzen and Yolanda London directing Thea and letting me watch her shine, Dwayne Hartford telling me (for the first but not last time) to slow down, or Jodie Weiss for teaching me that when I don’t know what to do, I should just jump, thank you. Thank you Childsplay for teaching me much more than just the basics and continuing to let me be a part of your family.
Childsplay is a theatre company for kids and families. They also teach children’s classes and camps. They’re located in Tempe, AZ. Please consider voting for them here, if they get the most votes they will receive a grant to help fund their work.