For two years, her grandmother, Staunton resident Alice DeWitt and Blackfriars supporter, had begged Krissa Halcomb to spend three weeks at ASC’s Young Company Theatre Camp (YCTC). To appease her grandmother, when she was 14, she finally agreed. “It was a life changing event” says Krissa. “It was heaven for me. I was with a group of campers who were so intelligent, so talented, totally cool. They loved learning and thought learning was fun. It dawned on me that there was some hope in the future.”
Krissa, like many kids, lived in a community with little opportunity to experience the arts. To her the arts were “boring.” She fell asleep during the one school trip to a live performance. She was in a school with kids who “didn’t care-they were just not interested.” Krissa was just not interested in theatre and thought a theatre camp sounded like an awful way to spend the summer. But, thanks to her grandmother’s prodding, she spent three weeks at YCTC in 2005. At YCTC, Krissa found herself in a group of kids who really wanted to do something and had hopes, dreams, and plans. Her first experience of the Blackfriars Playhouse had her on the edge of her seat completely amazed by what she saw and felt. “My first dream was to work at the Blackfriars Playhouse. There is no place in the world like the Blackfriars Playhouse. I didn’t care what I’d do there as long as I got to be there. It was just so much fun. I didn’t know learning could be fun.” Her dreams didn’t stop there. Three summers at YCTC had taught her that dreams can come true.
Today, Krissa is a freshman at Mary Baldwin College (MBC). Talking about the day she and her grandmother opened the acceptance letter, she is still in awe of the changes in her life since her first day at YCTC. “We didn’t want to get our hopes up and we were in such disbelief even as we read the acceptance letter. I am so grateful to the American Shakespeare Center and my grandmother. I am amazed by all that has happened.” Krissa says her mother encouraged her to study theatre “because she said my face would light up when I talked about performing, Shakespeare, the Blackfriars Playhouse, YCTC and so I’m doing my work-study in the theatre department at MBC.”
Krissa will be performing in the YCTC pre-show on Saturday, February 7th at 7pm with other YCTC alumnae. “I feel so empowered to be able to be a part of this performance to benefit ASC. I wish more kids could experience YCTC because it will change their lives. I also wish everyone could see a show in the Blackfriars Playhouse so we would have many more people excited about Shakespeare and live theatre. We, meaning people, need ASC for us to survive and thrive in our lives.”
Other YCTC alumni you can expect to see at Saturday’s special pre-show performance:
Thanks to Danielle Guy for suggesting the idea and to each of these YCTC alumni for participating in this performance.
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