Inspiring Young People Day After Day

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Hey ya’ll! My name is Anna Rachel Holland and I am a rising sophomore. This last year I attended Hollins University, and I will be attending James Madison University in the fall as a Theatre Major. I am actually a native of the Roanoke Valley, where I’ve lived my whole life. Roanoke has always been my home and is such a beautiful city with friendly people, good food, and plenty to do! It’s a wonderful place to be continuing theatre excellence and reaching out to the community through theatre, which is what Mill Mountain Theatre is doing.

Being a newly nineteen-year-old, I can say honestly that I don’t know what I truly want to do for the rest of my life or really where I belong in the grand scheme of things, but I can truly say that doing children’s theatre drives me. There is something so incredible about seeing young people taking time to willingly just sit, listen, and learn, all while having fun. This week we’ve had some amazing young audiences. At the library performances both Monday and Tuesday morning, we had feedback from both children and parents, telling us how accessible we had made Shakespeare. At our performance at the West End Center we had a lot of fun with lively bunch of kids who really responded to the show! Throughout the show, they would talk to the characters and give their input- they were really fun!

Touring a show can be fun for this reason- the different kinds of audiences you’ll be able to reach! However, there are some difficulties involved. Loading and unloading the van, performing in heat or wind, waking up early… these can be challenging! But you know it’s all worth it when you see kids inspired by what you’re creating. One group of young girls at the West End Center told me how much they loved my character because they wanted to be strong women as well. That’s the ultimate goal, and it truly touched me.

So, wherever I end up after college, I hope I am able to work with children or outreach and make strides to show young people how much they can learn outside of the classroom and how fun it can be!

 

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