This summer, the Duluth Playhouse has six graduated seniors in its Teen Intensive program. As this is their last intensive and/or Children’s production of their theater career, we decided to have each individual write a brief tribute describing their experience at the Playhouse.
Heather Linn Montavon
My time at the Duluth Playhouse has radically changed my life for the better. Not only have I developed as a performer, but I have also grown as a person. The past three years have been memorable, and I’m ready to take the next step of my life with the skills and confidence I have received.
Click on over to read more about these graduating teens and their Playhouse experience!
It’s almost impossible to imagine what my life would be like without the Playhouse. I have fallen so in love with theater and so in love with the people in that community, and the thought of this being my last show with the Children’s Theater just makes my heart break. I love my Playhouse family. I grew up with these people, and to look back at my first show almost eight years ago and to look at where I am now, I hardly recognize myself. The Playhouse encourages you to find yourself, and then to let yourself shine through in full brilliance. It’s the most incredible feeling in the world to be standing in those lights in full costume at the end of opening night, and to see an audience so completely breath taken, and to just think “This is us. This is what we did.” All I can think of is the first time I ever saw a show onstage, how absolutely mesmerized I was, and how desperately I wanted to be doing what those people were doing. I wanted to be a part of the magic. The Playhouse fostered that dream and allowed me to make it a reality. It is thanks to their guidance, love, and support that I’ll be pursuing a degree in Theater Arts this fall, and devoting the rest of my life to creating theater. I owe so much to them, and I thank them with all of my heart.
Here stands a safe-haven, a refuge, a place to call your home. For that is what The Playhouse really is. Your home away from home. A place for you to come and be challenged. A place for you to learn. A place for you to find who you really are. Never before have I been in a safer environment built on security and trust. I have only been here a year and yet in my time I have been stretched and I have grown and I know I have made friends I will always come back to. You might think that your time, especially as short a time as mine, might mean nothing to anyone, but The Playhouse has taught me that your time is what you make it and my time is going to be something great.
When I moved to Duluth ten years ago and was in my first production with the Playhouse shortly after, I would never have thought that I would be where I am today. I have had so many incredible opportunities that wouldn’t be possible without the Playhouse’s Education Program; Everything from learning how to be an actor, to stage managing a show, or teaching children with autism. I have grown not just as a performer, but as a person. I have made some of my best friends at the Playhouse, and made memories that will last a lifetime. There are not many places that are more caring, supportive, and understanding than the Playhouse, and everyone is encouraged to be themselves. Thank you Kate Horvath, Liz Larson, Paige Kohler, Patrick Colvin, and all the people who make this program and place what it is. It’ll be hard to say goodbye to my second home, but I know that everyone at the Playhouse will always have my back as I start my next adventures.
When I think back on the Playhouse many years from now, I will think mostly about the love I have found through the program; I found my first love in one of my best friends of two years, love in the friendships and relationships I developed, and a deep love for performing and art. The Children’s Theatre at the Duluth Playhouse has given me the chance to accept these beautiful things into my heart, ultimately shaping and molding me as a person. I would be lost without this program guiding me over the past five years. I gained confidence in myself and confidence in others. I am so grateful that the Playhouse Family has always been open to me, even in the darkest times of my life. Kate Horvath and her students have truly been my biggest support in ways they could not imagine. When I depart for college, I will not be leaving one family, but two. I know I will be greeted with open arms when I wish to return. Thank you for allowing me to be the student, artist, friend, girlfriend, buddy, mentor, and performer that I have always dreamed of being.
For the past five years, the Duluth Playhouse has been my home away from home. Starting with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and ending with Titus Andronicus with a slew of shows in between, every moment here has been a story. Every moment has been an experience. Every moment has been an opportunity to learn. For these opportunities, I will be forever grateful. Thank you to Kate Horvath for making this entire thing possible. Now on to the next big adventure!