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Meet Encore 2016 Senior: Sam Barrett

Encore: What motivated you to first get involved with Encore?
Sam:
I wanted to participate in a theater program outside of school, and I had seen Encore productions since I was very young. I also knew a few friends who had been or still were involved with Encore.
Copyright Larry McClemons
Encore: What was your first experience with Encore like?
Sam:
I was given the role of the Goblin King’s Assistant in 2013’s The Hobbit, and also picked up the role of Essie the troll when one actress had to drop out due to conflicts. It was a strange experience wearing a goblin costume under a wig and baggy skirt, but a very fun first production.

Encore: What roles have you performed on cast with Encore? Which was your favorite to play, and why?
Sam:
I have performed many roles, including Essie in The Hobbit, a turkey in Honk Jr, a pie-thieving woodsman in Big Bad, Mr. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Dr. Watson in The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes, and Farmer Stuyvesant in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. My favorite role to play was Dr. Watson, since I enjoyed the character interactions he had with Holmes and the various patients at the mental hospital.

Encore: Have you worked on crew with Encore? If so, what was your favorite position on crew, and why was it your favorite?
Sam:
My favorite position that I’ve worked on was when I worked the fly loft in The 3 Musketeers, which involves pulling ropes that make backdrops and curtains rise and fall. I enjoyed this because it kept me active, and it’s an important skill to learn in tech theater.

Encore: Can you describe your favorite experience with Encore (What role or production, and why was it your favorite)?
Sam:
My favorite experience was when I stage managed A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol, since it combined everything I had learned about acting and tech up to that point, and taught me new skills as well. I was very proud of the final outcome of the show, and I’m glad that Encore is continuing to run it in their next season.

Encore: What are your plans after graduation?
Sam:
After graduation I will be attending Christopher Newport University, where I plan to study science or computer science.

Encore: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned through Encore or theater in general after graduation?
Sam:
I plan to continue participating in theater, though not academically or professionally, and hope to participate in or attend Encore’s summer productions. I also know that many of the skills I’ve learned in theater such as public speaking, adaptability, and working in groups, will aid me for many years to come.

Encore: Do you have any advice for this year’s rising seniors at Encore?
Sam:
Try to make your last season with Encore the best season you can, not only for you but for everyone else involved too.

Encore: If you had to use an emoticon to describe your experience with Encore, what would it be and why?
Sam:
smiling-face-with-smiling-eyesA happy face, since I am very happy with my overall experience at Encore!

Photo credit Larry McClemons

Meet Encore 2016 Senior: Annelise Coffin

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Encore: What motivated you to first get involved with Encore?
Annelise:
They were doing a musical I loved and I had never done community theatre before!

Encore: What was your first experience with Encore like?
Annelise:
Incredible! I had a great time and met incredible people! I learned so much!

Encore: What are your plans after graduation?
Annelise:
I will be attending Christopher Newport University!

Encore: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned through Encore or theater in general after graduation?
Annelise
Theater prepares you for any situation! I’m always on my toes and can just into anything and respond greatly!

Encore: Do you have any advice for this year’s rising seniors at Encore?
Annelise
Enjoy every moment because it will go by fast!

Meet Encore 2016 Senior: Rosemarie O’Connor

Encore: What motivated you to first get involved with Encore?
Rosemarie:
I first got involved with Encore as a chance to audition outside of school and learn some new skills while meeting awesome people.
Rosemarie OConoor
Encore: What was your first experience with Encore like?
Rosemarie:
My first experience with Encore was with a great cast. From a little awkward first rehearsal we moved to being a close group of friends.

Encore: What roles have you performed on cast with Encore? Which was your favorite to play, and why?
Rosemarie:
The only role that I’ve had on stage with Encore was in the chorus of Once Upon a Mattress but, my favorite role was as the Arts Management Intern because I got to see all the aspects of what Encore does and how it positively effects so many people’s lives.

Encore: Can you describe your favorite experience with Encore (What role or production, and why was it your favorite)?
Rosemarie:
My favorite Encore experience was last summer when I had the opportunity to visit all of the camps and the Shrek rehearsals and take pictures to document what it looks like to be a part of Encore.

Encore: What are your plans after graduation?
Rosemarie:
I am going to be one of the Institutional Development Apprentices at Imagination Stage where I will be working with both the Development and Marketing departments.

Encore: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned through Encore or theater in general after graduation?
Rosemarie:
I plan on using my Encore life lessons in my everyday life. Everything that I’ve taken away from my time with Encore already has been applied to the different facets of my life.

Encore: Do you have any advice for this year’s rising seniors at Encore?
Rosemarie:
Take opportunities to try new things. Problems are problems; they’re just solutions you haven’t sorted out yet.

Encore: If you had to use an emoticon to describe your experience with Encore, what would it be and why?
Rosemarie:
downloadThe four leaf clover because I feel very lucky that I’ve been a part of the Encore family.

Photo Credit Larry McClemons

Meet Encore 2016 Senior: Usman Ishaq

Encore: What motivated you to first get involved with Encore?
Usman:
A friend convinced me to audition for Legally Blonde instead of going to travel soccer tryouts.
Copyright Larry McClemons
Encore: What was your first experience with Encore like?
Usman:
Legally Blonde changed my perspective of the arts as a whole. I attribute everything that I am today to the people I got to work with and the show itself. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Encore: What roles have you performed on cast with Encore? Which was your favorite to play, and why?
Usman:
Nikos/Padamadan/JetBlue Pilot/Ensemble in Legally Blonde, and Sir Harold in Once Upon a Mattress

Encore: Can you describe your favorite experience with Encore (What role or production, and why was it your favorite)?
Usman:
Playing Nikos with my friend Will Westray was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Playing that role is what inspired me to pursue the arts.

Encore: What are your plans after graduation?
Usman:
I will be attending Ithaca College to get my BFA in Musical Theatre.

Encore: Do you have any advice for this year’s rising seniors at Encore?
Usman:
Take every opportunity available. Practicality is just another way of convincing yourself to take the safe route. Do what makes you happy. Being safe and secure will keep you alive, but it won’t let you live.

Photo Credit Larry McClemons

Meet Encore 2016 Senior: Brennen Kaitlyn Beckwith

Encore: What motivated you to first get involved with Encore?
Brennen:
My friend Reiss Gidner was in it and I wanted something to do outside of school. I also wanted to be a famous actress and for some reason my 7th grade mind though Encore was the way to do that.
Kaitlyn Beckwith (Crew)
Encore: What was your first experience with Encore like?
Brennen:
I was the “proptart” for The Best Haunted House Ever. I was afraid and intimidated by everyone.

Encore: What roles have you performed on cast with Encore? Which was your favorite to play, and why?
Brennen:
I was the competitor pig in Charlottes Web and the evil cat in Sleeping Beauty, oh and Balin in The Hobbit. I have so many good memories from acting for Encore but one that sticks with me the most was Susan Keady telling me: “You can try acting for a while but you’re a techie at heart.” Who knew how right she would be?

Encore: Have you worked on crew with Encore? If so, what was your favorite position on crew, and why was it your favorite?
Brennen:
I worked so much crew for Encore are you kidding me? I probably worked every position except Stage Manager, which I was in line to do this year if I hadn’t moved. Encore introduced me to my passion for work behind the scenes; I would have never known. Whatever position I was in didn’t matter I was just excited to be a part of the show and to learn.

Encore: Can you describe your favorite experience with Encore (What role or production, and why was it your favorite)?
Brennen:
I have so many good memories from every show I did. The Three Musketeers was a blast, I was working lights one act and then the next I was working sound because our sound tech dislocated her arm, what a wild ride. I don’t think I could possibly pick a favorite show, cause each one the memories were so different and all so wonderful.

Encore: What are your plans after graduation?
Brennen:
After I moved to Sarasota FL I got into a Theater Focus high school where I studied technical theater on an amazing stage every single day. I’m going to University Of West Florida in Pensacola to major in – get this Susan Keady – Technical Theater with a focus in Stage Management. (Did I mention I got a scholarship for technical theater, well I did)

Encore: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned through Encore or theater in general after graduation?
Brennen:
I’m always going to be surrounded by theater. Encore taught me that theater is where I belong. As I grew up in the fast paced world of Arlington, Encore was my escape. Some how when I entered those stage doors I was safe, I put aside everything else in my life and just worked. I can’t thank Encore enough for setting me on the path for theater. Not to mention everything I learned from working tech and all the shows I could put on my resume to get into a college.

Encore: Do you have any advice for this year’s rising seniors at Encore?
Brennen:
Enjoy every moment. Don’t be a diva. Help the little ones, try not to think you’re better than them. Be good, do good. Know that whatever you want to do is valid, even if it’s not the path everyone in Arlington expects you to go on. If theater has taught me anything, it’s that there is never one answer and never a direct path.

You can also find Brennen on Youtube at YouTube.com/brennenbeckwith IMG_5321
Photo Credit Larry McClemons

Meet Encore 2016 Senior: Reiss Gidner

Encore: What motivated you to first get involved with Encore?
Reiss:
I had seen some of the Encore shows and decided that I wanted to be a part of them. I wanted to be on the other side of the curtain.
Reiss Gidner ("Zombie")
Encore: What was your first experience with Encore like?
Reiss:
I don’t remember any specifics, but I remember that it was very welcoming, and I felt like I immediately had a place there.

Encore: What roles have you performed on cast with Encore? Which was your favorite to play, and why?
Reiss:
Gretchen van Doorn (Legend of Sleepy Hollow), Knight/Corny (Princess and the Magic Pea), Rubber Duck (The Velveteen Rabbit), Zombie (The Best Haunted House Ever), Josette (Brothers’ Grimm Out of Order), Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web), Thorin (The Hobbit), Perfume Girl, Ensemble (Legally Blonde The Musical). I think my favorite was the ensemble in Legally Blonde, because that was such a fun show to be in, and I got to bring so many different characters to life.

Encore: Have you worked on crew with Encore? If so, what was your favorite position on crew, and why was it your favorite?
Reiss:
My favorite position on crew is the assistant stage manager, because I felt like I was able to keep everything going smoothly backstage, and I enjoyed that responsibility.

Encore: Can you describe your favorite experience with Encore (What role or production, and why was it your favorite)?
Reiss:
My favorite experience with Encore would have to be participating in The Best Haunted House Ever. I originally didn’t get in, but when someone dropped out, the cast was in need of someone to play the Zombie. I volunteered, and I came into the cast a week before tech week. I had such a blast creating that character in such a short time, and looking back on it, I feel like I was there for the entire rehearsal process.

Encore: What are your plans after graduation?
Reiss:
I am going to be double-majoring at Virginia Tech in theatre and Animal Science (Pre-Vet).

Encore: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned through Encore or theater in general after graduation?
Reiss:
Throughout my years of doing theatre, I had learned to be a more open and accepting person in general. I am always ready to try new ideas and to listen to what others have to say.

Encore: Do you have any advice for this year’s rising seniors at Encore?
Reiss:
Senior year can be stressful, but try not to let yourself get caught up in it all. Make this year about new experiences. Branch out and find out more about yourself.

Encore: If you had to use an emoticon to describe your experience with Encore, what would it be and why?
Reiss:
smiling-face-with-smiling-eyesA simple smiley face would do the trick for me, because I have so many fond memories of Encore, but I’m excited to go out and try new things.

Photo credit Larry McClemons

Meet Encore 2016 Senior: Ana McMenamin

Encore: What motivated you to first get involved with Encore?
Ana:
My two best friends were involved at Encore and I felt left out.
Ana McMenamin
Encore: What was your first experience with Encore like?
Ana:
Terrifying. I was super nervous for auditions. I was kind of a quiet kid that nobody really thought would ever do theatre.

Encore: What roles have you performed on cast with Encore? Which was your favorite to play, and why?
Ana:
Zara in Aladdin, Little Miss Muffit in Big Bad, ensemble in Legally Blonde, ensemble in Little Mermaid, Inspector Lestrade in Sherlock, ensemble in Once Upon a Mattress, and an Evil Step Sister in Cinderella. My favorite show I’ve been in was Once Upon a Mattress because the cast was really tight-knit which made for a really fun experience.

Encore: Have you worked on crew with Encore? If so, what was your favorite position on crew, and why was it your favorite?
Ana:
Yes, I have worked on crew! My favorite crew role so far has been sound, mostly because I got to be in the booth with two of my close friends.

Encore: What are your plans after graduation?
Ana:
I am studying Marine Biology at the University of Rhode Island.

Encore: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned through Encore or theater in general after graduation?
Ana:
I have gained presentation skills that I think will help me in the research world.

Encore: Do you have any advice for this year’s rising seniors at Encore?
Ana:
Don’t stress too much about the prestige of your college. It’s absolutely not worth your energy. Go somewhere you will do well and be able to get awesome opportunities.

Photo by Catherine Schreiber

Meet Encore 2016 Senior: Nicole Redifer

Encore: What motivated you to first get involved with Encore?
Nicole:
Many of my friends were auditioning for shows and were in shows at Encore, so I decided to give it a shot!
Nicole Redifer ("Rapper")
Encore: What was your first experience with Encore like?
Nicole:
I remember one of the first things I did with Encore was a workshop where a girl, who I am now very close friends with, and I pretended to be spies and talked to each other on our spy phones- which was actually our feet. We always bring up what a silly moment that was.

Encore: What roles have you performed on cast with Encore? Which was your favorite to play, and why?
Nicole:
I have played a Wolf in Dracula, Owl in Hansel and Gretel, Harlequin Doll in The Velveteen Rabbit, Jack in Jack and the Magic Beans, a Munchkin and Flying Monkey in the Wizard of Oz, and Jennifer and Narrator 3 in Darius the Dragon and Rap-Punzel. My favorite roles to play would probably have to be Jack and a Flying Monkey, but for very different reasons. As Jack, I got to experience life as a young boy and go through a journey I had never gone through every night. As a Flying Monkey, I got to play and act however I wanted, expand on my character as much as I wanted, which I think has influenced my acting to this day.

Encore: Have you worked on crew with Encore? If so, what was your favorite position on crew, and why was it your favorite?
Nicole
My favorite position on crew was doing Sound for Charlotte’s Webb, as I got to see the show every night and be a part of it without performing in it. Although it could be very stressful at times, I felt like an important part of the show and had lots of fun doing it.

Encore: Can you describe your favorite experience with Encore (What role or production, and why was it your favorite)?
Nicole:
My favorite experience with Encore was probably Jack and the Magic Beans as Jack. I met so many new people, and I have nothing but love for that production. Every night was a fairy tale journey that I never would have been able to experience otherwise.

Encore: What are your plans after graduation?
Nicole:
I am incredibly excited to go James Madison University next year to study Theatre!

Encore: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned through Encore or theater in general after graduation?
Nicole:
I plan to use what I’ve done with Encore in college while studying Theatre, but I also hope to continue to try new things, which is something I helped learn at Encore!

Encore: Do you have any advice for this year’s rising seniors at Encore?
Nicole:
Try not to stress out too much about college. Yes you need to get good grades and do a good application, but as long as you try you will end up in a place you love.

Encore: If you had to use an emoticon to describe your experience with Encore, what would it be and why?
Nicole:
download (1)I would use the emoticon that is smiling while sticking its tongue out. Encore has been a wonderful experience for me, hence the smile, and I have made so many amazing friends and learned so much as an artist, which is the silliness of the tongue.

Photo by Larry McClemons

Meet Encore 2016 Senior: Olivia Hammermaster

Encore: What motivated you to first get involved with Encore?
Olivia:
My old elementary school had a theatre department and I was eager to get back into it. A friend, Andrew Ruhnke, encouraged me to audition with him when we were in eighth grade.
The Magical Lamp of Aladdin (2012)
Encore: What was your first experience with Encore like?
Olivia:
Overwhelming. I didn’t realize I could love something so much so quickly.

Encore: What roles have you performed on cast with Encore? Which was your favorite to play, and why?
Olivia:
Robin Hood– soldier/townsperson, Aladdin– angry neighbor, The Hobbit– Oin, Sleeping Beauty– seamstress, 12 Dancing Princesses– Stumble

I loved participating in The Hobbit because that was when I learned the most about acting. Susan Keady pushed me to be my best. I developed that role unlike anything I thought possible. However, my favorite role was Stumble. I acted as the comic relief alongside two wonderful boys and really had a blast.

Encore: Have you worked on crew with Encore? If so, what was your favorite position on crew, and why was it your favorite?
Olivia:
Darius the Dragon/Rap-Punzel, Honk Jr., Big Bad, Legally Blonde

Anything on crew is fun. Spending time in the set shop, working with your team, and making a show come to life is great no matter what.

Encore: Can you describe your favorite experience with Encore (What role or production, and why was it your favorite)?
Olivia:
I have different favorites for different areas of theatre, but stage managing was definitely an unforgettable experience. I wish I had spent enough time with Encore to get a second chance!

Encore: What are your plans after graduation?
Olivia:
I will be attending Florida State University as an exploratory/undecided major.

Encore: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned through Encore or theater in general after graduation?
Olivia:
Make the most of the smallest roles. Cooperate with your peers. Enjoy every moment because all of a sudden you’re missing it.

Encore: Do you have any advice for this year’s rising seniors at Encore?
Olivia:
Don’t fall into a mentality that you’re too busy to have fun. You’ll stress yourself out. You need to do something you love, not just something you can put on an application.

Photos by Larry McClemons

Meet Encore 2016 Senior: Aryn Geier

Encore: What was your first experience with Encore like?
Aryn:
I was a part of the musical theatre intensive class, which was enriching, challenging, and very fun.
Aryn Geier ("Whitney")
Encore: What roles have you performed on cast with Encore? Which was your favorite to play, and why?
Aryn:
I played a delta nu sister and Whitney in Legally Blonde the Musical, which was my first Encore show. I loved being a delta nu because the songs and dances were so catchy, it was so fun to learn all of the harmonies and dance numbers.

Encore: What are your plans after graduation?
Aryn:
I’ll be majoring in musical theatre at American University.

Encore: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned through Encore or theater in general after graduation?
Aryn:
Theatre has taught me the importance of hard work and dedication, made me a more genuine person, and given me the base I needed to enter the world of the performing arts.

Photo credit: Larry McClemons