• Shannon Stoddard

Highlights of 2018

What a whirlwind of a year it has been! Last year at this time I was packing up my Brooklyn apartment and making final arrangements for the move back home to Arkansas. Little did I know what an exciting year 2018 was going to be for me.


- Moved back home in the middle of the month and honestly thought my life would be slow paced while I tried out the Freelance Teaching Artist life. This "slow-paced life" didn't last long...



- Began working with the Community School of the Arts part-time both teaching and in the office. I began teaching a Drama Class through their Outreach program at Ballman Elementary, some Drama classes with the Homeschool Connections program.

- I also began producing Calendar Girls at the Fort Smith Little Theatre -- this really meant that I was in charge of keeping the theatre clean for the run of the show... not that exciting.

- I also began rehearsals for Mythical Creatures and How to Approach Them at FSLT... where I got to act as a sassy unicorn named "Sparkles!" This was clearly the highlight of my acting career!

MARCH 2018

- Continued working in the office and teaching those classes at CSA. I also created a Kids Theatre Company for grade K-2 which turned out to be very successful.

-Worked backstage for the Youth Theatre Company's production of Beauty and the Beast.

APRIL 2018

- Finished the Spring semester with showcases for my Ballman Elementary Drama Outreach Class, and small showcases for the Homeschool Connections and Kids Theatre classes... All very successful!

- Performed as "Sparkles the Unicorn" in Mythical Creatures! The show went fabulously even though I was suffering a pretty bad cold/upper respiratory infection at the time and was on a ton of medicine!

MAY 2018

- Went back to NYC for my NYU graduation! Got to walk across the stage at Radio City Music Hall which was pretty magical... as well as the big ceremony at Yankee Stadium.

- Within my trip to NYC I also got to see spectacular productions of both Mean Girls AND Frozen! I also got to spend quality time with my Stoddard and O'Neill families and all my NYC friends!

- Taught a week-long Teen Musical Intensive camp with CSA where we put together a musical production of Aladdin in only a week's time! It was so much fun working with the teens again!

JUNE 2018

- Got to go to Disney World with the family which was pretty magical! Also got to spend some time with the Florida O'Neill family!

- Began teaching Preschool Drama classes at CSA using the Dance.Laugh.Learn curriculum I taught in NYC! It's been a big hit at CSA since then!

- Taught a Broadway Babies camp for grades K-2 which was a super success!

- Began the "Lights Camera Action Creative Storytimes" with the Fort Smith Public Library! Once a month a share a story (or two or three) with the children, include a creative movement activity to go along with the story then the kids get to do a craft! These have been lots of fun!

JULY 2018

- Began being FULL TIME with CSA -- acting part time as instructor and part time as office staff!

- Taught a Teen Improv Camp with CSA. This was a major success with these students!

- Began teaching Private Acting / Musical Theatre with CSA -- this was a fun new challenge!

- Took on the CSA Ambassadors and expanded this group to perform at different events -- such as the Downtown Business Associations FIRST TUESDAYS DOWNTOWN.


- Started teaching Drama Class on behalf of CSA with the Future School of Fort Smith.

- Started rehearsals for The Lion King JR with a cast of 39 students in grades 3-6!


- Began teaching Drama classes with the FAITH Homeschool Co-Op on behalf of CSA -- reaching students in Preschool through Highschool.

- Continued teaching a Fall Semester of Preschool Drama AND Kids Theatre.

- Started teaching a Fall semester of another Ballman Elementary Drama Outreach Class.

- Continued teaching Private Acting / Musical Theatre Lessons.

- Taught a Private Playwrighting Class -- created some material for our Christmas show!


- Created and taught a Teen Audition Prep class for students to prepare for the upcoming Wizard of Oz auditions!

- Performed successful showcases with my FAITH Homeschool Co-Op students.

- Began rehearsals for Wackiest Tackiest Christmas at FSLT.


- Successful showcase by my Ballman Elementary Drama Students!

- SOLD OUT performances of The Lion King JR!

- Great auditions for the Wizard of Oz -- cast of about 35 in grades 6-12!

- Began rehearsals for CSA Christmas.


- SOLD OUT performances of Wackiest Tackiest Christmas at the Fort Smith Little Theatre!

- Successful end of semester Showcase with my Future School Drama Class!

- Great performances of CSA Christmas -- I even got to dress as a TREE!

- Took students caroling to area nursing homes -- spreading lots of Christmas cheer and love!

- Hosted a night at the Creekmore Holiday Express which was lots of fun!

I am sure there are many highlights I am forgetting throughout the past 12 months... but these were some of my most memorable highlights! I can't wait to see what 2019 has in store for me. My New Year's Resolution to myself is to be better about documenting a Teaching Artist life on here -- with a blog a month sharing some of my experiences!