Being Part Of The Team
By Laurel Flom; Edited by Liz Thompson
I’m extremely grateful to have a very layered experience with Cape Fear Regional Theatre.
It began the summer after second grade when my family and I moved to Fayetteville. My mom, dad, and grandfather all had history with the theatre, and as a way to get involved in my new community, my sister and I joined the theatre’s summer camp. The theme that year was “the circus” and I remember playing with clown noses and pretending to be lions. It felt so great to express all the pent-up imagination I’d been keeping inside! CFRT gave me a chance to play, which I believe is incredibly important for children and adults alike.
In the years that followed, I attended summer camps each year and eventually became a camp counselor. I took a variety of studio classes that taught me about Shakespeare, musical theatre, and dance. The classes never got old because there was always something new to learn. I also auditioned for shows and was over the moon to be cast in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Children of Eden, Our Town, Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Pride & Prejudice, Sweeney Todd and others. Through these experiences, I not only grew as an artist but as a person. I’m not exactly the most outgoing person, but CFRT’s warm community encouraged individuality and teamwork and helped me feel comfortable opening up with others.
This past summer, my experience at CFRT came full circle when I had the opportunity to be an instructor for CFRT’s summer camps that culminated in youth performances of Shrek Jr. and A Year with Frog & Toad – Kids. As someone who had been involved as a camper and counselor for almost a decade, it was a dream come true. It was impressive to see how much the program has evolved since my very first year as a lion as students now rehearse and perform an entire show at full production value within two weeks! Even more impressive to me was the passion that flowed through the kids’ veins. The mornings were early and days could be long, but ask them a question about their Dulocian character and they would give you an entire backstory including their shoe size. As with any job, it had its challenges but the children made it easy. I thank CFRT for providing all kinds of kids the opportunity to unabashedly be themselves and be heard.
As I move forward with my life, I will always have a spot in my heart for CFRT. Growing up, it was a haven for an awkward kid like me who really loved to sing. As a young adult, I find the work created here exciting and inspiring. I’ve realized that, in addition to performing, I want a career behind the scenes. I want to be involved with every possible aspect of theatre. CFRT has taught me that each part of theatre creates the whole – whether a Fly Operator to a Stage Manager, no one link is more important than the other. CFRT is a team.
I love that CFRT provides opportunities for those who wish to be involved with the theatrical process, but I also love that it works hard to build great relationships with residents of Fayetteville – one of the most diverse cities in the state. Special projects such as the Classic Theatre Series and the upcoming Downrange: Voices from the Homefront embrace the community and exemplify the future of the arts, sharing the past while exploring stories that need to be told. Audiences come back to CFRT time and time again because they receive quality entertainment, but also because they have memorable experiences that challenge their way of thinking. Just as Tom, CFRT’s Artistic Director, always says, “Don’t sit back and relax, but lean forward and engage.” CFRT has turned audience members from all walks of life into participants, and that is absolutely priceless.
CFRT’s youth education and outreach programs reach thousands of children each year but we couldn’t do it without the support of our committed volunteers and generous donors. Please join our #25DaysOfGiving campaign to help us raise $25,000 this year. Your gift will help us renovate our youth education classrooms, update our resources, and reach more children in 2016! DONATE TODAY!