by Maggie Ward, Theatre Director
It’s theater time at NDP and I am reminded why I choose to spend my career with theater kids! For nearly 40 years it has been my privilege to help them find their voices and explore their passion for performing.
This year we are doing the Once Upon a Mattress and this silly, topsy-turvy, cartoonish take on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale reminds us that “genuine” princesses are not only “exceedingly rare” and hard to spot, but they also don’t always look and behave as we have been led to expect. Winifred doesn’t arrive at the ball in an enchanted pumpkin carriage; rather she swims the moat and announces her own arrival. She doesn’t meekly accept her life in the swamps, although she loves the “beauty of the bog”; rather, she travels to a distant land to eagerly pursue her own “happily ever after.” Sometimes life forces us to take matters into our own hands and create our destinies. It is not until Dauntless finds his voice that his happiness can truly begin.
Amazingly, I have found plenty of genuine princes and princesses in years of NDP Theater. Many are now attending some of the best theater schools in the country; others are graduates working in professional theaters. A director’s wish for each member of the cast and crew, is that each show moves them closer to finding what drives their passion so they can begin to make their dreams real. It has been my pleasure to provide guidance and witness this amazing process. I envy the colleges and universities who will encourage these young performers’ next steps. For now, I will busy myself with hairspray and costume orders and poster designs and pictures and set builds and memos and notes and all of the laughs that the create memories that we all hold dear.