BWW Interview: Mackenna Goodrich of ARIZONA YOUNG ACTOR'S ALLIANCE
Mackenna Goodrich, founder of Arizona Young Actor's Alliance, and host of the AYAA Awards, is an Ohio college student majoring in drama. She started theatre at the age of six, in a production of The Frog Prince in Montana. While playing a "venus fly trap" she got to "hang backstage and eat snacks". She continued theatre through high school, and started directing shows her sophomore year of high school at Hamilton High School.
She always thought she had wanted to be an actor and in the spotlight, until she started to direct and choreograph, and realized she had an immense strength for the more technical side of theatre.
By the numbers, AYAA has 524 likes on Facebook, and hit 100,000 views on the blog just over three weeks ago. Within this year, there have been 6 in-person cabarets, hosted at various theatres around the valley.
Mackenna noted, "I started the website because I noticed there was a lot of tension between The Youth Theatres in Arizona; I know there's a lot of badmouthing going on because people didn't get certain roles, or people that only do shows at "this" theatre; I started the website to try and ease that tension. Now it's a place for people to hang out online and now we've branched into doing things in real life."
Speaking of the "real life" things, Mackenna has been working on a production of "She Kills Monsters", a show which produced at ASU last summer, which attracted the attention of several students at Hamilton High School. Several of them wanted to include it in the school season, but it wasn't exactly the best fit for the school at the time. Mackenna reached out to Fountain Hills Theater and began to work on the show, which opens July 28th.
Regarding the AYAA Awards, this year's nomination round had almost 225 submissions, which increased immensely from 50 last summer. Last summer, the official voting round had 550 people vote, so I can't wait to see how many participate this year. At least 32 shows have been nominated for "Best Musical" and 55 girls were nominated for "Best Leading Actress", which had to be narrowed down to five for the official voting round.
Mackenna added in that she always enjoys reading the nominations, "because it's cool to see what other theatres are doing and whenever I see a new name I get really excited because it gives me hope that stuff is still going on here and that it's going to keep going. Youth theatre was so important to me as kid that I want to make sure everyone has that. It's great to me that it's still happening and there's all these young people getting nominated or voted for in these awards; this is going to keep going, this is going to keep happening."
If she were to start her own theatre, one of Mackenna's core values would be to do more plays. Especially since the base of all theatre (even musicals!) are plays, it would benefit youth actors to read more plays and perform them.
Speaking out about the recent conflict between Arizona Youth Theatres in choice of content and boundaries, Mackenna offered an extremely wise statement that still is ringing in my ears almost a week after the interview.
"It's hard for you to act things that you're currently going through. Topics like teenage pregnancy or drugs are really challenging for people our age to do because they haven't had the time to step away from it and reflect on it. I have mixed feelings on it because they're all shows that I like but it presents a really big challenge for the actors because it's just so difficult to act something out that you're in the middle of going through."
A HUGE thank you to Mackenna Goodrich for speaking to me about her blog and the awards, don't forget to vote HERE!
Don't forget to purchase tickets for She Kills Monsters, running July 28th-30th at Fountain Hills Theater, tickets are available HERE.