How can a regional performing arts festival further inspire, engage and awaken a love for the performing arts in our students? Would you have appreciated something like this when you were a student?
AG: I have no doubt about the importance of these kind of events. The thing is you meet your tribe; you meet your people. You realise you're not alone. There may be a small percentage of students in your school, but when you go to a regional festival you get encouragement. You start to realise — there are others here who are just as passionate about this as I am.
There are moments when you feel weird sometimes, or your parents can be hesitant wondering if this is something you can really do as a profession. You won’t know until you go out into the world and meet people who are like-minded, and you go to theatres and you go to a festival.
This is very exciting. I'm so excited for the students. To go and meet other students, other teachers, other artists, at a festival will certainly change things for them and make them realise that this isn't out of reach, they’re not just dreaming. There are other people who think like me and it is possible.
IK: I think it's a fabulous idea. The performing arts are about sharing and about bringing people together. It's a communicative exercise, and if a student is only experiencing the art form in isolated classes weekly, monthly, or maybe only when a visiting artist decides to drop by once a year, then that would feel small. Going to a festival and getting a sense of the scale of that kind of art, that it happens between people every day, all the time, everywhere. It really helps colour in the picture of what it means to be an artist.
When you were a student, what would you have wanted to know before embarking on a career in the performing arts?
AG: I didn't realise this until very recently, but I see that my creative/artistic voice is important. There are things that I want to share; ideas, creative endeavours. I realise I have something to offer.
I find that the world, because of our phones and the internet, is becoming smaller and more accessible. At the same time we're becoming more insulated and more confined (maybe because of our phones too) to our little bubbles, particularly for students.
I really believe if you're going to make a career in the arts there's something driving you and it comes from a need to create, a need to say something. A need to express yourself and I would have encouraged my younger self to listen to that and be confident of it, that I do have something to share, that I do have something of value and of worth that is worth sharing. It took me a long time to figure that out.
It's hard because sometimes you think you're not good enough, or not worthy enough. "I'm just a student or a teenager" but there's a lot that we have in our toolboxes and in our shared experiences, no one can take that away from you. You shouldn't be afraid to share your experiences.
IK: It’s around high school when the study of technique can become the most intense and the discipline and the time it takes to train your body or fingers, or whatever your art form is, feels like a constant exercise in trying to accomplishment the work of other people who are more advanced than you are professionally.
You train yourself to do what other people can do, but ultimately all of that work that you do is in order to become the best possible version of yourself you can be. Being an artist is about knowing how to (in the most brutally and raw and honest way) be yourself, which is something that no one else can do. So that reminder of how personal the performing arts is, comes to mind.
Also, being an artist is a lifestyle. There's no real way to teach that, it's something that you have to experience but it's not just a job or a career path. It's something that continues through every millisecond of your life.