So, if you've read any of my blogs (or know me even a little) you have heard a lot about theatre. This post is a little history about my journey with theatre, some of my favorite projects and where I am now in my theatre life!
I've been involved in theatre since Junior High. My first play was The Trouble With Derek and was about falling for a bad boy who *gasp* wanted to smoke cigarettes. It also happened to be my first stage kiss which, funny story, wasn't so much a kiss as my 'acting partner' stood in front of me and we stood with our faces inches away from each other so we didn't actually have to kiss. Junior High- those were the days.
Jump forward to college, after years of being involved with theatre, where I auditioned for a theatre scholarship at St. Ambrose University. I got the scholarship and intended to only minor in theatre and major in Nursing so I could, ya know, have a 'real' job when I graduated. After two and a half years in the nursing program I had a wake up call. Some major things happened in my life and I realized that I didn't like spending all of my time in stuffy hospitals and libraries. I wanted to feel the freedom of the stage and get more involved with the arts. I decided to switch my major to Theatre and stopped listening when people started hating. "You don't have a fall back plan?" "Do you think you'll be able to actually make money?" "You're going to struggle in life." "You can only do theatre in New York." I just knew that things would be okay. I knew in my heart of hearts that regardless of where I ended up, theatre would be what pushed me. And boy, has it.
I have been lucky enough to work with some of the most amazing artists the country has to offer. From the team at Dell 'Arte International in Humboldt Co. to Andrew Wade, the head of voice for the Royal Shakespeare Company to Phil Wm. McKinley, director of Broadway's Boy From Oz and Spiderman to the kids and adults that I have been fortunate enough to meet right here in our own Quad Cities. In fact, I learned pretty quick that you don't have to be in Chicago or LA or New York to meet talented, dedicated, passionate people. Further, I've had some once in a lifetime experiences here that I know I would never have had in any one of those bigger cities. Daniel and I had both had our sights set on Minneapolis (home of the Guthrie Theatre and host to more theatre seats per capita than any other city in America, including New York). We had all but packed our bags and signed the lease on a condo when we both opened our eyes, looked around and realized how much opportunity there is here in the QC and how much of an impact we could have here. The decision to stay meant shifting focus from being actors only, to being teaching artists and making art accessible for everyone. Don't get me wrong, I will always consider myself an actor and I am certain that had I moved elsewhere I would be acting full-time (probably sans baby and that right there is enough to never regret the decision to stay). But here in the Quad Cities, I have been able to expand my understanding of art and what an impact it can have on lives. From the art of the stage to art of photography to the art of teaching, I feel blessed that I am a working artist.
The below images are some of the archive photos I have taken during the past couple of years. They are meant to capture the energy of the stage so that when the set is long gone and the show has long since had it's last performance, you can remember the moments. The moments where art lived and did it's job to pose questions, demand answers and make you think. Even though I'm not a full time performer, I still feel art flowing through me every time I get to photograph a performance. And every time I watch my students perform, every time I see a sunset that just begs for a family to play in it, every time I shoot a married couple's first kiss- I feel art. And I'm so glad to have chosen the life I have and I wouldn't change a single thing. Thanks, fellow theatre folk, for helping make me who I am today <3