DCPA EDUCATION CLASSES
A MOTHER’S INSIGHT BY S U Z A N N E YO E
I enrolled my son in the Children’s Acting Program at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) when he was five. To see my tiny toddler on stage with 750 faces staring at him…well, I was nervous. But there he stood, dressed as Harry Potter, reciting his lines and fiddling non-stop with his pipe cleaner glasses. He didn’t appear scared. He was brave. He was confident. And — quoting another parent — he was taller in every way. Did I do that? Well, I signed him up, but it was the DCPA’s extraordinary teaching artists — Tam, Allison, David, Stuart, Tim, Laurence, Jessica and so many others — who shaped that little guy. Who inspired him, encouraged him and told him he could be anything he wanted to be.
Well, he didn’t want to be an actor, that’s for sure. But he did want to do something even if it meant simply holding the curtain open in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “Great,” they said. “We’ll put him in tech, work him to death and see if he has what it takes.” And he did. Now my son has some challenges. He has dyslexia. He has ADD. He is unfocused, not terribly academic and frustrated by mainstream education. But DCPA Education opened new doors for him. He worked two summers supporting the Teen Company productions, which, in turn, piqued his interest in sound design. He quickly moved from pressing “play” to begin a song to designing the entire soundtrack for a show. Before I knew it, he wanted to audition for Stagecraft at Denver School of the Arts (DSA).
And there I was again. Nervous. Scared. How do you audition for Stagecraft? Well, let me tell you. It’s about how well you work with others. How you engage, collaborate and create. And he’d learned all of that from the DCPA instructors. Why was I worried? He wasn’t. Now he’s a Sophomore at DSA. He found his people. This summer he wanted to spend every day working with the Teen Acting Program, but it’s popular! He could only work on Bard Wars: The Empire Striketh Back. Other kids needed a chance after all. He was disappointed that he couldn’t be at the DCPA every day. Until… Tim McCracken, Director of the Adult Acting Program, asked him to run sound for the Master Class project — Trip to Bountiful — which sounded better than a trip to Florida! Instead he made birds chirp, buses arrive and music play. He told his friends, invited his grandmother, and tried (unsuccessfully) to play it “cool” around the adult cast. Despite the fact that he just turned “Sweet 16,” he’s had experience with the full gamut of the DCPA’s acting program — child, teen and adult. Because of DCPA Education and its fun, creative and incredibly devoted teachers, my son has gained confidence, poise, creativity, craftsmanship, a strong work ethic and life skills. And even though I continue to give him a really hard time about his last starring role — he was a cow whose only line was “moo” — I couldn’t be more proud of the young man he has become. He was raised by a loving family and that family is the DCPA. Suzanne Yoe is editor of Applause, Director of Communications & Cultural Affairs, and mother to two aspiring artists — Edward and Alexia.
APPLAUSE • NOV – DEC 2017 • 303.893.4100 • DENVERCENTER.ORG