If you were to stop a theatre professional on the street and ask them how they got into theatre, the answers will be incredibly different. Many of us, though, got hooked because of the razz-matazz, we were enticed by the bright lights and the applause, yet many professionals who began on stage ultimately found a calling offstage, either in production or administration. Our jobs require less make-up and rhinestones, yet they are just as vital to creating art.
Many of the kids I work with want the bright lights and face paint in their plays. They want the spectacle of theatre. Occasionally, however, I get a group of kids that want a more quiet story that says something important. This season, I have had two such plays, Think Twice, the teen pregnancy play, and the latest piece, still untitled about slavery in America and the Underground Railroad.
It is impressive to me to speak to these kids and realize that they are adamant about telling this story. They aren't concerned with special effects or much in the way of costumes. They are willing to take on some difficult characters and get down to the business of storytelling. Theatre as an art form, not as a circus. Don't be surprised, then, if in a few years, these kids are the ones on our professional stages. They are developing a taste for the artistic.