Way back in the year 2007, my mom spotted an audition notice in the local newspaper for a little place called Sol Children's Theatre. The audition was for the show Pocahontas which would soon be my first production at Sol. Only in fourth grade, I had no idea what to expect. I had never been on an audition before! I walked in small but confident, and I gave it my all. It wasn't long after that I was informed about being cast in the show.
I had never met any of the people at Sol before, but I quickly bonded with them. Everyone was so welcoming and supportive, and I was so surprised at how accepting they were considering that I was the youngest in the cast. I still remember giving my little speech at our last show, and how I cried happy tears and explained that I had found my family.
Over the course of the next few years, I performed in many other productions such as Hercules, Little Women, Cinderella, Rapunzel and the Young Actors Recitals. I have gained so much experience from being at Sol. Not only have I had the opportunity to perform, but I have been involved with the technical aspect of theatre as well which has greatly broadened my knowledge.
I am now in high school and still connected to Sol. I am a full time troupe member and I am busier than ever! Recently, I performed in our main stage production of The Ash Girl. This show was one that really touched my heart. I grew so much as a person and an actor and I have only to thank the amazing people I got to work with for that. Sol has truly helped me find myself. As of right now I am currently preparing for my role of Jane Austin in a one woman play called I Remain. It feels absolutely incredible to be where I am in my high time at Sol. I started out as this small fourth grader and climbed the ladder to the position I am now, and that feels pretty great.
After I Remain, I will be the sound board operator for two different musicals, and when I am finished with these positions, I know I will have something to jump right into. I have to stay busy at the theatre because when I'm not there, I'm not complete. Sol is a part of me and always will be; it is my home, and the beautiful people who make the magic happen are my dear friends, my family, and the loves of my life.
When Ireland performed for her first audience at the age of six, she received a standing ovation, sat down next to me and announced, "Mama. THIS is what I want to be when I grow up!" It was then we decided to take a slow and diligent path into the future. We chose a school for her where she could express her creativity, learning violin and performing in talent shows as well as plays. When the time came to attend a new school, Ireland was very distraught upon learning that it did not offer such programs and I feared that she would lose interest in not only the arts, but academically as well.
It was then we began attending shows at local children's theaters and found nothing even remotely close to the level of professionalism we were searching for. Then one day, while rummaging through the TGIF section of the newspaper, I found an audition for Pocahontas at a place I was unfamiliar with, SOL Children Theatre. Ireland was enjoying herself at surf camp when I made the call without her knowledge, reassuring the person I spoke with that yes, she would be prepared by the following day while all along thinking in my head thought, "If you even knew..."
Ireland was thrilled when she was cast as the King's daughter in Pocahontas and I can honestly say the experience changed her life. My tiny, once misunderstood 11 year old daughter grew more confident with each rehearsal and I felt that we had finally found a place where both she and her talent could be nurtured. My thoughts were confirmed at the end of opening night while I watched her being embraced by her cast mates, many of them much older than she. The joy that filled my being that night is indescribable. After years of feeling alone, Ireland had found a family and a place to call home.
Since then, Ireland has performed in quite a few productions at SOL, including Cinderella, Hercules, Little Women, Rapunzel and The AshGirl. Not only has she had the opportunity to grow as an actor but has also been able to showcase her other talents as a musician and vocalist in the Youth Artist Recitals and she cherishes the experience of jobs such as soundboard and lights.
I can not speak highly enough of the amazing work done at SOL. Their level of professionalism is outstanding, with each production carefully cast so that the actor's' strengths can truly shine. Rosalie Grant and her exceptional sidekicks make every experience amazing as well as fun. I love listening to my daughter's stories during our rides back to West Palm Beach following rehearsals. Her face lights up with every tale and she gets more and more excited as every opening night approaches.
Ireland is pursuing a life in the arts and I could not be more grateful to SOL for allowing her to grow as both a performer and individual. She is no longer lost and that is something I know she will cherish for the rest of her life, both professionally as well as personally.