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  • gabriellanbarnum

Looking back, to look forward

When I took on the project of revamping the website for Defiance Community Players, I couldn't help but feel weight on my shoulders. How do I take over 40 years of experience and great theater, and do it justice? I wanted to make sure that I honored the memories and legacy of this organization that means so much to me.

Then it hit me, I would use those memories as my inspiration! I immersed myself in VHS recordings, poster designs, photographs and editorials. And what was my greatest takeaway? Love. This organization was started by a group of talented individuals who LOVED what they did, and wanted to share that love with their community. Through production after production that love grew to include more people, and inspired the youth of their community to pursue the performing arts after high school and as a career... like me. My first Defiance show that I was a part of was their 2011 production of "Hairspray." I walked into the audition nervous, shaky, and not knowing what to expect. I was greeted warmly by familiar faces and introduced to the magical world of musical theater. When I received the phone call that they would like me to return for a call-back audition, I was ecstatic! Getting to read lines with other potential cast mates, sing songs, and dance made it all start to seem so "real."

A few days later I had a friend call me to tell me that she had seen the cast list and that I got a part! The rest of my memories of that production are like a dream. I had so much fun, made friendships that have lasted ever since, and found something that filled an empty part of me: Theater.

I went on to apply for the Ivy Adler Memorial Scholarship that is awarded by Defiance Community Theater, and was one of the recipients that year. As a home schooled student, having a scholarship available for me to apply for was very important to my education. Most scholarships that High School Seniors apply for are not available for home schooled students, regardless of grades or academic performance. Because of that scholarship, I was able to follow my passion and earn an Associate Degree in Theater while I was at it. I owe so much to this incredible organization, and I am honored and humbled to serve as Vice President. We are just getting started with re-branding and a new beginning, and we can't wait to share our plans with all of you, very soon.

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