By Megan Schadler
Ever since I was a little girl, I was absolutely mesmerized by theatre. Now, I’m entering into my senior year at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts and am slowly drowning in the sea that is college searching.
Enjoying theatre was one thing, but participating was a different story. When I figured out I wanted to be a part of what I was watching, I searched for a place I’d fit in. Unfortunately, I did not have much luck finding the right environment. Then, my mother told me about Touchstone’s Young Playwrights’ Festival. I auditioned along with a rather small amount of people, and at eleven years old, I was cast as a horse. As a newbie to theatre, I was not very pleased with my casting but decided to stick with it.
I’m so glad I did. As absolutely everyone in the entire world will tell you: “There are no small roles, only small actors.”
Besides, it isn’t about being the lead in a five-minute play; it’s about expressing the potential and creativity of the growing generations. I pranced on and offstage in a cardboard horse head. My role lasted about five seconds, and I’m very grateful to have been cast by the wonderful Bill George. In the short amount of time it took to put the whole production together, I had so much fun that I came back the next year. My interest in other theatres soon burned out; I just wasn’t having the fun that theatre was promising me.
When I was accepted at Charter Arts, I urged all my classmates to give it a try. As expected from high schoolers, they were all very dismissive, but with the help of another experienced YPF performer, Aidan Newell, and YPF director Christopher Morris, we rallied a good number of students to audition. Everyone had a blast, and we started a new tradition of getting together the night of the show and enjoying dinner outside on my deck.
There have been so many memories made through Young Playwrights’ Festival. I auditioned in sixth grade so I could get a start on performing but found myself coming back and bringing more and more people with me. The process is stress-free and simply a great time – not to mention, you get the satisfaction of knowing you made some kid very happy when you performed their play.
The number of people auditioning each year has grown so much since my first year. I’m amazed and overjoyed. It’s been such a lovely experience growing up with Touchstone, and I’m already looking forward to what my seventh year with the Young Playwrights’ Festival might bring.