Circles of Gratitude

Theatre is a Circle

Making a circle with my hands, and then making a circle with my department.

Last year, when I first arrived at Herndon High School, I made an introductory video. In that video, I stated the belief that theatre is a circle, rather than a pyramid. This year I have been focused on growing and strengthening that circle. What I have increasingly come to realize is just how important a role gratitude plays in keeping the bonds of that circle strong. Talent and hard work can make a production successful, but from show to show, year to year, only gratitude can really sustain a theatre’s vitality.

The Students

Students “strut” down the hallway following each show.

I have to give thanks to the students who put in their time an energy to make our collective endeavors a success. Oftentimes being the only paid adult gives a feeling a loneliness and obligation about this work. Looking back on this year so far, I have felt so much gratitude for the magnificent effort that the students have contributed. Showing up every day (6 days a week over the last month and a half) has been an absolute blast, and it’s the students are the reason for that. And it stands to mention that I derive a great deal of gratitude from all of my students, not just the “A+” types (although I love them, too). I find it fun and challenging to find new ways to engage different learners in the hopes of building a bigger and stronger circle because it will translate to a more vibrant and diverse ensemble.

The Adults in the Room 

There are so many people that chip in to make theatre a worthwhile and valuable experience. I feel so grateful for the adults who are sending a clear message to the students that all of the struggle and hours of rehearsal is important and necessary. As the director of the department, I’m expected to be a strong advocate for my program. But I am truly humbled when volunteers put in the grueling hours alongside me and the students. They don’t have to, and yet there they are, fighting for more resources for my program, taking photos for press, and bringing in pizza to keep morale high.

My Inner Circle

As you can see, I have my hands full, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

As a parent of two young kids, every hour I spend outside of the house comes at a huge emotional cost. Being married to an incredibly supportive person who is my partner and biggest supporter offsets that cost in immeasurable ways. When my two girls can come to the theatre and see the reason their dad has been missing for all those weeks, and they see it with smiles on their faces, I can’t describe how grateful I feel.

Thank you, lastly, for reading this blog and giving me a reason to promote my theatre program.


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1 Comment

  1. Erin Maxwell on November 28, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    This is beautiful. Nothing about theater should be a hierarchy, and I think our ensemble during this production showed this. Our circumference is stronger than ever now.

    P.S. That picture with you and your twins deserves a Cappie…

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