All it takes to change a child’s life with theater is #OneSpark. We asked our teaching artists what sparked their love of theater! 

Sindy Castro

Sindy Castro

When I was in 4th grade, I was accepted into an after school academic excellence program. Instead of going the traditional route, our two teachers decided to bring some theatre to the school with a production of Grease! It was my first time performing onstage and I loved rehearsing the dances and lines. I played the school principal and then got to do a quick change so I could dance in the big "We Go Together" number at the end of the play. I used to love performing for family, I’d put on shows for them with my cousins and sister. This positive experience inspired me to take a drama elective when I got to middle school and the rest is history!

Jessica Cermak

Jessica Cermak

When I was a little girl I would organize the neighborhood kids to put on performances of our favorite fairy tales. In essence that’s what I do for NYCCT now!

Khalia Davis

Khalia Davis

I was 11 years old and I participate in my first theater summer camp. At the end of the summer we performed a show where I got to say some pretty funny lines. After I got my first laugh, I knew I had to keep pursuing performing as a career. The immediacy of an audience reaction was spellbinding. After that experience, I wanted to discover all the ways I could affect an audience. There is no cooler feeling than stepping into someone else’s story breathing life into a new character.

Rebecca Gerrard

Rebecca Gerrard

I started getting involved in theatre at school when I was 11 and realised I loved it then. I moved schools when I was 14 and it was the drama department at my new school that were the most welcoming and friendly. My drama teachers were so warm, exciting and engaging, they were so encouraging of my ideas and who I was as a person. I felt so at home working on scripts and writing new plays. I made lovely friends and really quickly found my place in the new school. It was my drama teacher who encouraged me to go to college to study theatre full time back when I was 17 and I have never looked back!

Psacoya Guinn

Psacoya Guinn

I developed my love for theatre in the seventh grade. I was always sort of an odd ball, but through my theatre class I started to develop a sense of accepting myself. Theatre welcomed me and ultimately helped me find my voice. Now it‘s something I can’t see my life without.

Laura Hankin

Laura Hankin

I had a second grade teacher who had a piano in her classroom, and we spent some time every day doing music and theater. It was magical.

Kasia Klimiuk

Kasia Klimiuk

My parents took me to see a production of Annie when I was five. I remember it being a very special occasion. I also remember standing on a picnic table screaming tomorrow for a captive audience. So I think it made an impression!

Marion Lopez

Marion Lopez

My love of theater was sparked by my junior high school drama teacher. I was a new student to the school and she recognized that I would benefit from her class. She was beyond patient as I found my voice and encouraged me to take chances. She directed my class in the comedy "Competition Piece" and the joy of collaborating and community I found during that production helped me understand how transformative theatre can be.

Mackenzie McBride

Mackenzie McBride

Oddly enough, I fell in love with theater through film. I grew up watching almost exclusively classic films and movie musicals. I first got the acting bug from all these amazing old movies and theater was a way I could explore performance as early as elementary school. Later, I combined my love of theater with my love of poetry and became a playwright.

Katherine McDowell

Katherine McDowell

I honestly don‘t remember. I’ve been performing as long as I can recall, from living room dance recitals to recording made up stories on cassette tapes! My first big role was in a summer camp production when I was 11. I played the villain and I adored being someone who was so different from myself for every show. We performed on the stage of the local community college and it all felt so thrilling. I remember the transition from the stark greenroom, to the musty backstage with the rigging, and then stepping onto the boards. It filled me up with light and I’ve been loving it ever since.

Cheyenne Mesura

Cheyenne Mesura

I really wanted to be an athlete, but once I took a theater class in high school I was hooked! I traded in practice for rehearsals and I’ve been doing theater ever since. My first show was Beauty and the Beast and it was magical.

Julia Nickerson

Julia Nickerson

Getting to make connections, have fun, and explore different issues in our society. I am always learning from participants and growing in ways that go beyond my teaching artistry while having a blast.

Nicole Serra

Nicole Serra

I’ve loved performing and storytelling for as long as I can remember. My first memory of creating theatre was making puppets by drawing faces on paper plates and gluing them to popsicle sticks. I set up a stage by throwing a blanket over a piece of furniture – I hid behind it and put on a puppet show for my grandparents.

Brielle Silvestri

Brielle Silvestri

When I was 5 years old, my parents took me to a local production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I vividly remember a specific scene and the magic I felt has never left me.

#StarttheSpark and provide them with an opportunity to dream, create and become the person they’re meant to be.