When Broadway Met the North
John Milton, celebrated English poet, once wrote: “the childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day.” Likewise, William Wordsworth once mused: “the child is the father of the man.” Both men were expounding on the universal notion that childhoods are formative and indicate the people that we will evolve into. They shape us, and as such are extremely important bits of the human journey—the bits that good parents obsess over in regards to their children and that grown adults continue to pore over in themselves, looking for the answers to life’s pervasive questions: Who am I? How did I get here? Where am I headed?
I know that I too, navel-gazing young adult that I am, spend a good deal of time wondering how I came to be the person I am today. Lately I question why I want to be a journalist. Why am I hedging my bets on being a writer at all? And, like many writers, what is it about my childhood and my hometown that inspired me?
These are questions that many writers face, and the answer isn’t always clear. However, my own answer is quite specific, because my journey to want to be something began with a specific and special part of Prince Albert: Broadway North Theatre Company. Broadway North is composed of dedicated members of the community that have produced musicals in Prince Albert since 1995. Everyone involved works hard to cultivate talent right here in the city, providing young people with opportunities they just wouldn’t find anywhere else. Youth involved with Broadway North are given the opportunity to learn and perform alongside each other, and also alongside graduates from programs all over the country who are brought in to act as examples for and mentors to the budding performers. In addition, being a part of Broadway North means working with accomplished directors, choreographers, stage managers, set designers, sound and lighting technicians, and costume designers. The creation of the E.A. Rawlinson Centre added a state-of-the-art performance facility to complete the package. You can search far and wide and never find a program quite like Broadway North. It is, in my opinion, one of Prince Albert’s best assets.
I walked in to my first audition when I was nine years old, following a Broadway North theater camp. I sang Circle of Life (probably rather poorly), and that was all it took. By the twelfth grade I had performed in about seventeen musicals and was slated to audition for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City.
Although I eventually decided that writing was the passion I wanted to turn into a career, that didn’t detract from the myriad lessons I learned in the Broadway North family. I learned that with honest hard work comes success, and that no one is born being the best at anything. I learned the value of constructive criticism. I learned that the right kind of attention and dedication inspires confidence, and even the most timid of nine year olds can grow to want to turn their opinion into a career. I learned that sometimes you just aren’t born to be the damsel in distress, but you can make people laugh, and sometimes that is even better. I learned that, regardless of the role or the musical, knowing who you are is the most valuable tool you can have in your toolbox.
Most of all, I learned that sometimes you will put all you’ve got into something and you will hear applause. If you give a child that, even just once, they will feel like they can do anything. I guarantee it.
Broadway North is back this summer with a Theatre Camp from August 13th-17th. Visit www.earawlinsoncentre.ca for more information and to register.
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