The Voice of Vance: Theatre Performance

Savannah Vance, Writer

Since the 5th century, eccentrics everywhere have been flocking to seats to experience a show expressed in live form. Theatre has been the heart of millions of creative people. As someone who has acted for years, it has become a comfortable place for people like me to manifest an artistic outlet. The aftermath of acting has been outstanding. Theatre has helped me, personally, to grow and develop into the person I am today.

Growing up, I was incredibly nervous. I would beg my parents to let me skip school, because the idea of socialization was terrifying. I could barely say my name when they called role. The students around me made fun of anything they could find. A loud, chubby, middle-class kid was a perfect candidate for whatever creative nickname they decided to gift upon me that morning. Of course, I felt out of place.

Throughout my school years, small church plays and choir were helping to develop my love for the stage. It was not until I found out about a local community theatre called Beckley Childrens Theatre (BCT), that I began to love theatre. They were holding auditions without any experience needed; I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to break away from anything I had previously experienced and jumped on it. The whole drive there, I felt a lump in my throat. The nerves I grew up with swelled into a visceral, nauseating moment. This accumulated at the door of the theatre, but as my shaking 13-year-old self entered the building and was greeted by kind faces looking for local talent, I knew I was sought after. That was absolutely mind-blowing. That moment sparked the performer in me and proved to myself how desperately I wanted to pursue this.

Gayle Oaks, the founder of BCT, said, “Theatre activities nurture children to be spontaneous and helps them think on their feet. It encourages them to emphasize and understand emotions.” Oaks, who has been involved in theatre for years, claimed, “Theatre is an amazing way for children to find out who they will be when they become an adult.”

Years passed. The shy, bullied child I once was, morphed into the person I am today—completely opposite. Theatre grows confidence like nothing else. It teaches discipline, cooperation, how to deal with rejection, motivation, commitment, responsibility and so much more. It’s a wonderful way to meet amazing people, and has opened the door to so many exciting opportunities. Recently, I had the honor to play Golde, the female lead, in Woodrow Wilson High School’s theatre production of Fiddler on the Roof. Only around a third of the actors in that theatre had never acted before, proving you can be a part of a professional theatre without ever having experience. Countless directors in this area are willing to work with young actors to grow into talented adults.