A Day of Giving Thanks

Today, I am thankful for Theatre and how it has changed my life.

When I was a young girl growing up, I had a wonderful life with loving parents, friends and a picture perfect childhood. Or so it seemed. While all of that was great, I wasn’t  truly happy. Not by a long shot. I was not happy with me. I was an obese child when I was young and have continued to battle my weight all my life. I struggled with being bullied and not feeling like I fit it because of my weight. Although, my parents enrolled me in gymnastics, tennis and dance lessons to get me active, that just shot my self esteem down the toilet. I didn’t fit the mold. I didn’t have the ballerina body. I wasn’t a petite gymnastics powerhouse. I wasn’t a firecracker tennis player. Hey, I didn’t even like PE at school.

That all changed the day my parents took me to see the national tour of “Annie” in Birmingham, Alabama when I was 11 years old. I saw those little girls up on stage, and just knew I needed to be up there. It grabbed me and I haven’t looked back since. You see, theatre for me was an answer to a prayer. I truly believe God put me into Theatre to touch people’s lives which in turn helped me find myself and my purpose. Theatre was my missing puzzle piece.

In today’s society where girls are bombarded with pictures of perfect, pretty princesses and fashion models and buff cheerleaders, I want my daughter, along with the many girls I reach, to find the solace I have found in theatre.  For one, theatre has allowed me to step outside of myself and become anyone I want to be for even a couple of hours. Theatre has helped me to realize I don’t have to be a certain body type to be successful, because acting takes all shapes and sizes. Theatre has taught me to be compassionate and be grateful for what I do have as I have been able to share theatre with people that are less fortunate then myself.

Theatre has taught me how to have courage to get up in front of crowds of people or look someone straight in the eye and just be myself and be okay with that. In fact, be proud of who I am. Theatre has taught me how to reflect on my life and just be present and live in the now.

Theatre has brought many children through our doors and we have been blessed by watching them transform from often quiet, shy or awkward youngsters, into strong, confident young adults. And, I am proud to say I have had a part in that. Most of all theatre has taught me how to be a better parent I believe. It has taught me to not take life so seriously, and it’s ok to pretend  I am a guest at a tea party or a fierce jungle lion.

For this and so many other reasons, theatre has truly blessed my life and for this I am truly grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Can Theatre Give Me Quality Time With My Child?

Absolutely. Go see a show with your child. When ever I take my children to see a live show, I can’t wait to see the wonder and joy on their faces when they see the characters come to life on stage. And, even as they get older and now know some of the technical aspects and how stuff works, they forget for a brief moment and their imaginations take flight. There is something so special and unique about seeing a live show versus what all see on screens now, the scenes and sounds come to life on stage. Don’t you want to share that memory with your child?

What if your child is on stage, how can you share that experience with them? So many local theatres rely on parent support and volunteers to bring a show to life. No experience is necessary, just a willingness to be there and help out. Kind of like volunteering at your child’s school. By you being in the mix with your child, you are making memories together as you can talk afterwords about a common moment you shared as a family.

Studies prove that kids who have an active parent participating in activities with them, are less likely to turn to drugs, alcohol and gang violence because they have an open line of communication with their parents. A word to parents: don’t be a “stage mom”.  In other words, don’t be a parent who pushes their child into the arts in a negative way.  Directors appreciate parents who are cooperative, respectful, and willing to help.  Let your child pursue the performing arts because it’s their dream to your own.