Dear Opening Act Community,
When I first entered Walton High School in the fall of 2003 as a new teaching artist with a small nonprofit called Opening Act, I wasn’t considering for a moment how my life was about to change. I was focused on making sure I remembered the vocal warm-up I was tasked to lead and the audition I needed to race to immediately after class.
It didn’t take long for Opening Act’s students and our heart-filled process of making collaborative theater to eclipse my focus entirely, setting me on an astonishing journey, guiding me to where we find ourselves today.
While this week marks the end of my time as Executive Director, I am delighted to remain on staff through June as a Strategic Advisor, supporting our dynamic and accomplished incoming Executive Director, Zareta Ricks, and working closely with all of you during this critical 20th Anniversary Year.
It is the great gift of my life to have had the opportunity to work side-by-side with so many dedicated and awe-inspiring staff, teaching artists, volunteers, artists, supporters, and board members. The hours we’ve spent laughing, crying, collaborating, and simply being – together – has proven to be the most substantive and rewarding education one could imagine.
Ultimately, it has been the students who have inspired my commitment. For 17 years, I have remained a teaching artist despite my evolving responsibilities as Executive Director. For two hours each week, year after year, I have journeyed alongside amazing ensembles of young artists creating shows that speak their truth, ask difficult questions, and voice their vision for a world they wish to see. I have watched young people develop the skills that will help them succeed in any profession. To humbly be a part of this process has been my deepest and most abiding honor.
Upon my departure from Opening Act, I have one final ask of you. Please remain steadfast in your commitment to our students. We have built a strong and vibrant community that has the potential to unleash profound change in our divided world. The theater is life’s great laboratory to explore, create, and rehearse for a future that includes us all. While I may not be leading the mainstage production, please know that this work – arts and youth development access for all – will continue and must continue until everyone has the chance to take center stage.
With love and gratitude,