• Shannon Stoddard

Persistence is Key!

Last year at this time I was sitting in my Brooklyn apartment gearing up for my final semester of Grad School. Knowing that my plan was to move back home to Fort Smith once the semester was done -- I began putting together my resume, creating a personal website, and began reaching out to companies about theatre work once I arrived. Theatre is a tough field to break into and I am immensely thankful that it has worked out for me as well as it has!

Recently I was having a conversation with my father about when we drove up to Centenary College to tour the campus and speak to the head of the theatre department. My dad was anxious about the fact that I wanted to focus on such a field as theatre... but the head of the program reassured him that there were MANY areas of theatre of which I could be involved in and that persistence was a key. If I had a strong enough desire to succeed I could make this all work.

At the time of going into my freshmen year of college I had NO IDEA that I may want to teach -- nor was a certain what my future might hold. If you would have told me that I would later go on to graduated from NYU with my Masters in Theatre Education or that I'd end up teaching students in Preschool through High School about theatre... I would have said that you were crazy!

There have been MANY times of struggle within those years and I am sure that there will continue to be. As I am gearing up to take on a brand new bunch of students this semester I want them to at least leave my classroom/ rehearsal room knowing some key things...

1. Persistence is KEY - never give up following your dreams!

2. Be supportive of others - theatre is a team sport!

3. Have confidence in YOURSELF - if you don't believe in yourself no one else will either.

4. Have fun - why do something if it makes you miserable?

5. Surround yourself with others who want you to achieve rather than tear you down.

I can't wait to see what this year brings with it and I am looking forward to meeting all of my new students! I begin teaching my theatre class at the Future School this week where I will have the opportunity to develop a brand new curriculum for these high school students. Next week I begin auditions for The Lion King JR with about 40 students between the grades of 3-6. Then in September I begin teaching a whole hoard of other classes!

I plan on using this blog as somewhat of a journal -- but to document my semester teaching all of these different classes and directing all of these different shows. Stay tuned for a piece of the magic that is about to be created this year with all of my wonderful students. I can't wait!