June 2021
Mentoring Comes Full Circle
Director gives back through PCA’s Summer Youth Program

Has your life ever come full circle? That is exactly how Kelsey Claire describes her theatre life in Prescott. For Kelsey, born and raised here, the circle started with her acting in plays at age twelve. Through theatre, she says, she discovered herself. 

Tatum Calhoun and Kelsey Claire 

After graduating high school she went to Manhattan to attend an acting school, where she fell in love with the diversity and unpredictability of New York City culture.

After she finished that program, Kelsey’s former director at Prescott Center for the Arts, Cathy Hawn, called to see how things were going. “I was at a point where I wasn’t sure what to do.” Kelsey laughs, “She had a role for me, so I came back home and took the role, thinking I’d figure things out and soon be leaving again.”

She was then asked to help choreograph a show at Park Avenue Theatre, where she’d done choreography before. She laughs again, “I figured, ‘why not? I enjoy it. I’ll help out with one or two shows,’ all the while thinking, I’m not staying.” During the first show the director confided that she was moving out of town and that Kelsey would be a perfect fit to take the reins. Kelsey laughs even harder, “That was six years ago!”

Since that time Kelsey has been very busy working with PAT. She choreographed Beauty and the Beast at Yavapai College, and this last year she’s been teaching theatre at a local charter school.

Kelsey asked PCA Executive Director Robyn Allen whether her high-school students could use their facilities. Robyn agreed, and invited Kelsey to direct this year’s summer show, Rodeo.

Kelsey accepted the invitation. Now she works with the kids on stage-management, lighting, sound and all aspects of the show.

One of those young adults is Tatum Calhoun, who will stage-manage Rodeo. Tatum describes stage-management as “pretty fulfilling when you have everything where it should be and ready for the next scene.”

Tatum smiles, “for me, organization has been the easiest aspect of stage-managing, while having people listen to me is the hardest. I want to be respectful of people. It doesn’t feel like I am when I’m telling them what to do.”Her favorite part of theatre is ‘helping others grow in their ability.’

Gina Steverson is one of the instructors of summer programming for youth at PCA. “There are kids with experience, and others just beginning. The kids who have experience often will help mentor the new ones.”

Kelsey speaks of her hopes: “I am in a position to pass opportunities I had on to the next generation. I want to keep that cycle going.” She admits, “I didn’t anticipate I’d be in a position to give back, but am thrilled I can. It’s a gift I can pass on.”

Rodeo is a fun, goofy, slapstick comedy about a cowgirl heroine who wants to take the winning prize to start a school for underprivileged cowgirls. Challenges grow when she learns only cowboys are allowed.

Rodeo will run July 1-11, with all ages welcome to this family-oriented event. Look for tickets on the PCA website.

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