Why are these Young Actors More Likely to Succeed at a Career in the Performing Arts?

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This evening I had the privilege of witnessing a gifted group of young artists perform in an old warehouse studio in Cincinnati.  Six of the 14 teenagers, second year students with an independent theatre group, performed a first run play that asks the question, “What would happen if the story of Snow White took place today?”  The other eight actors, first year participants, each wrote and performed a 3 minute vignette. These   scenes, some serious drama and others humorous, each very different in theme and style, dealt with life issues and dilemmas not normally associated with teenage conversation.


Some of these 16 to 18 year-olds attended a charter public school for the creative and performing arts. Others were involved in theatre departments in their high schools. Some will be entering drama programs at universities in the fall.  Some are from the inner city. None are from affluent areas.  And all appeared to have the support of their families and friends. 


Seeing these young people so passionate about their craft and full of hope for their futures was so refreshing. I only hope that they can hold onto their dreams instead of turning into who they believe they’re expected to be and then realizing at 50 how far from their true north they’ve wandered as so many people do. Some will stick the course, though, and what will make the difference for them is the support they feel from their family and friends. Some of the parents are obviously concerned about how their sons or daughters will support themselves in what they know can be a roller-coaster ride of a career. Yet, many are borrowing money against the equity in their homes or doing whatever creative financing they can to fund a college education for their children knowing that the investment will not result in a six figure job offer upon graduation. 


I believe these students are likely to realize their dreams of a career in the performing arts. Not because they have more talent, better training or connections than some other aspiring actors but because they have the love and support of people who believe in them. 


I would not be surprised to learn that some of these supportive parents have spent years following someone else’s dream and are willing to do whatever it takes to enable their children to follow their own. With those they love rooting for them, they’re bound to succeed on whatever paths they choose. What better gift could a parent give their child than faith in their ability to succeed in their authentic livelihood?

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