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BWW Blog: Theatre - Taking A Step Back

In order to grow as an artist and theatre-maker, I need to separate success from happiness, and theatre from life.

BWW Blog: Theatre - Taking A Step Back
Photo Credit: John David Mann

I am a few weeks into my spring semester here at Point Park University. After auditions, callbacks, and interviews, I think I have the rest of my sophomore year planned out. I am very thankful, as I have many exciting opportunities in store! But, I confess: I have never been so uncertain of my relationship with theatre.

Having the opportunity to study something I am so passionate about is a blessing. Furthermore, I study at a well-known conservatory with wonderful professors and wonderful peers. I have endless opportunities within the city in which I live, along with continuous support and guidance. Truly, I am immersed in the theatrical community. Still, I feel more alone than ever. Following the initial chaos of returning back to school, I had such a drastic swing of emotions. I had taken a hard step back from my theatrical playground of fun and reevaluated my situation at hand.

My childhood years were interesting, to say the least. As an only child, I had a brilliant, imaginative mind that disliked the constrictions of a small town. Growing older into my teenage years, I felt out of place within my school community. I did not and would not conform to small-mindedness, nor would I conform to ignorance. Cusping on the edge of adolescence, I felt like a loner in many regards. Still, there was one place that always accepted who I was, a place that always nurtured my inner artist, a place that I had called home for eight years: The Pennsylvania Youth Theatre (PYT).

I have written about the Pennsylvania Youth Theatre in a few of my previous blogs, as PYT holds a very special place in my heart. Applying to college, I assumed that this feeling of comfort and nurture found at PYT would exist at any conservatory or any theatrical setting. Unfortunately, as a twenty-year-old in her second year of college, I cannot say this is fully the case.

You see, for so long, I have held theatre and theatre-making as my main source of happiness and light. Any theatrical opportunity always brought sunshine to a gloomy day. Yet, rejections felt like a thunderstorm, loud and dangerous. And, you guessed it, when you go to school with some of the best emerging artists, rejections are as common as seeing a pigeon in the city.

Don't get me wrong, I still love theatre and Point Park. But, I have realized, I need to alter my relationship with theatre. In order to grow as an artist and theatre-maker, I need to separate success from happiness, and theatre from life. I am an artist, but I cannot only be an artist if I truly want to be authentically me.

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