I started NEYT an almost silent kid. NEYT helped me speak up, which has been super helpful in my daily life. While I am still a quiet person, I now feel comfortable standing up. I've referred to NEYT as many things: my theater, my school, my home.
Since I finished my last NEYT project in August, I have been preparing for and starting classes at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
NEYT was the most influential place I've gone in my life. NEYT gave me skills that I use daily in my life, as well as skills I use now in my acting training as an adult. As a homeschool student, when I was struggling with the application process for schools, NEYT staff was very supportive and helped me do research and keep my spirits high about the future. NEYT is where I found true and amazing friends, who were all so supportive and loving of each other.
There was the day when Crooked, a show I directed opened. I don't think I've felt something more fulfilling than seeing this show that I loved and poured my heart and soul into open and seeing the actors, my friends, do a wonderful, specific, connected job onstage.
In Mary Poppins we had some snags with the choreography, meaning most of the numbers in the show had to be re-choreographed late in the rehearsal process. This was super stressful at the time, and if I mention Mary Poppins dancing to my friends we all still groan about it. But this challenge helped me to learn how to adapt and take changes quickly. It also helped to get me out of my head about dancing, as I had to learn how to dance Step In Time without taking the time I usually take to fuss and worry.
NEYT helped me speak up, which has been super helpful in my daily life. While I am still a quiet person, I now feel comfortable standing up. NEYT also helped me find my friends, people that I can go to when I'm feeling down to help me back up. NEYT gave me a direction, when I was stressed out about if I could really pursue acting NEYT showed me that it was something that I was very passionate about and needed to keep doing as an adult.
I had a great time stage managing James and the Giant Peach Jr. Seeing the kids, some who I've mentored for years and some who the theater was totally new for, perform such a magical show! As a mentor, I was so happy to get to help these kids and watch them grow every rehearsal and show! The first two show day of Tuck Everlasting stands out, it was a time at NEYTI felt connected to my cast, us coming together during and between the shows as a supportive family, helping each other get through the long performance day.
I still talk to my friends from NEYT, sending them messages and face timing, and planning ways to come up and see their performances. Before I left completely for New York I was getting lunches with them and painting tee shirts. We’re already planning things to do together over my school breaks.
When I did my first class at NEYT in 2014 I was expecting to maybe learn how to project, or turn out. While I did learn those, I also learned so much more. I started NEYT an almost silent kid who knew nothing about acting. I left having learned to try to be truthful onstage, how to bring life to the characters I play, how to sing and dance, and how to speak up in my day to day life.
As a mentor at NEYT I often didn't realize the impact of my mentorship. The most important things of mentorship were to be a caring, supportive friend, and to be kind; things we should all already be doing in my opinion. But as I left NEYT I had multiple kids come to me and tell me about how my mentoring helped them; helping them decide to stay in an intimidating role, feel comfortable in their body type, and feel confident about their individuality in theater.
]I've referred to NEYT as many things: my theater, my school, my home. I've talked about the amazing training I received, the fun I had, and friends I love.