There’s a chilly energy running through the theater. That particular smell of Autumn is sneaking in through the doors that open and close while excited players jitter about before our first run-through. Sitting backstage at the freshly opened Bartholomew Performing Arts Center, the notes from the baby grand echo through the artificial darkness of a black stage.
What a beautiful thing to be a part of! And the beauty of it all is that it comes, and it goes, and then it comes again. The art of theater mirrors life perfectly. Each show brings new excitement and challenges. Every player discovers themselves more as the show progresses. And eventually, the show comes to an end, the art complete, and is put away in a room somewhere, only to be discovered in a new form later.
Theater, like life, has so many forms. From the Greeks to Shakespeare to Sondheim, theater reaches people all over the world, including the people in York, Nebraska. Being a part of the Performing Arts Department at York College means that I get to breathe life into my art, just as my art breathes life into me. Every show challenges me to change and to grow. Right now, I am a part of The Secret Garden, a story about redemption. My character is Martha, a hardworking housemaid, who serves a household of lonely, duty-driven people, and a sick little boy. The challenge I have found with Martha... is that I am not Martha. I have to discover her kindness, her loyalty, her hope, and her love for everyone hurting within myself. This is what makes theater so great- that I can become someone very real on stage whom my audience has never met before and talk to them....sing to them!

If you want to change your life and influence others, join the Performing Arts Department. After ten shows, I can guarantee your life will be changed, and the audiences you touch will come to see you again and again because they experienced something incredible. I have confidence that someone in the audience will be moved to forgive someone, or maybe let go of some of the hurt in their life because of what they see in The Secret Garden – even if that person is only me.
As Autumn comes into full bloom, the leaves give and show us all how beautiful it is to let things go. If I've learned anything from my time onstage, it is to focus my energies on creating things that continue to give boundless returns. I encourage you to live out the things that bring you life and light and joy. Walk into the forgotten places and dust off the old things. Reach your hand out into the light, and wait for Discovery to touch you on the shoulder. All the world's a stage, and your heart dances to the beat that God plays, and  He is calling out to you saying, “I created you, now here is your stage. What will you perform?”

Performances of "The Secret Garden" at the Bartholomew Performing Arts Center will run October 20 - 22 at 7:30 p.m.with a Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 23.  Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and are free for York College students, staff, faculty and registered Panther Days students. Reserve your tickets online HERE.