After the Christmas decorations and lights have been packed away, our studio has a quiet and clean look. So does the month of January. It really is time to set goals, take stock of the previous six months and delight in the slower pace of a Northeast Florida winter.

Reflecting on the last year, I am struck by the amount of work this group of artists has been able to carry off in spite of the challenges: four musicals (Jungle Book, Godspell, Moana and Matilda) as well as four plays (The Diviners, One Act Fest, The Foreigner, and A Christmas Story).  All of these works center on people who are presented with an unusual set of challenges and manage to respond to those trials with grace and humor.  Moana sets out in her tiny boat to save her village from starving. Matilda digs in her heels and triumphs over the Trunchbull. And Ralphie ends up securing his obsession: a Red Ryder bb gun.

The artists at the studio have been scaling their own ups and downs: donning masks, washing their hands, and keeping themselves socially distanced in the rehearsal space. Once everyone ticks off the boxes for a safe rehearsal meeting, it really is business as usual. When you work with this crew you come to understand, being a young artist is not a choice so much as a calling.

As we journey forward into 2022, I am excited to witness the continued growth of each and every one of them. Please consider baring witness to their process. It will mean the world to them.  And if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself being transformed.