In this edition, we catch up with the wonderful alums who were able to join us for a sneak peek of this summer's Much Ado About Nothing!
Chicago Youth Shakespeare recently sponsored an event at Chiya Chai cafe for our alumni to catch up with old members and connect with new members. Sophia Carlin, Oak Park River Forest '16, MarieAnge Louis-Jean, ChiArts ‘16, Jacinda Dorian, Nequa Valley High School ‘16, and Miles Allen, Northside Prep ‘17, were among those present at the event. The four alumni have graduated highschool and, using the techniques learned through CYS, have moved on to college to pursue fields rooted in the arts.
Sophia, a rising sophomore in PACE’s international performance ensemble program, an acting program that provides opportunities to perform while travelling around the world. Since playing Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream, Celia in As You Like It, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Sophia has gone on to utilize the freedom and expressiveness encouraged through CYS to jumpstart her theater career in New York. In all her roles, Sophia brought experimentation and creativity to her parts-- even putting a box on her head for the famous Queen Mab speech as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. She believes that the freedom allowed through the CYS program directly transcends into her work today. In addition to the theater she’s involved with through her school, she was also named as an artistic director apprentice for Hamlet Is Not Dead, a theater company in New York.
MarieAnge and Jacinda are keeping it close to home. MarieAnge is pursuing theater at University of Illinois Chicago. After getting acclimated to the UIC program during her first year, she’s earned a place as an understudy for the university’s production of Judas Iscariot. Jacinda, who will be an acting student at Columbia University this fall, is spending the summer taking classes. She believes CYS’ emphasis on professionalism and training makes the program unique.
Recently graduated from Northside Prep and heading to Carleton College this fall, Miles hopes to pursue English with a possible double major in biology or neurology. Though his path has diverged from acting, CYS’ approach to text analysis has aided him on his academic path. He reasons, “CYS’ approach to getting to ‘why’ and the depth with which the program requires you to approach your character and the fullness really made me appreciate the process of picking apart a complex text.”
The event at Chiya Chai brought to light the many exciting things CYS alums are doing after their time with the program. Having contributed to the program and gained something worthwhile, they all have words of wisdom for the current CYS students. Jacinda advises future performers, “You don’t find another place like this, so make it your home.” Sophia offers a little life advice by suggesting, “Embrace your inner weird.”
Check out some of our favorite Bard books and articles:
Read Louis Fantasia's Introduction to Playing Shakespeare's Characters: Monarchs and Madmen
Released in 2019