Meet The Fellows

Every year, First Stage hires a group of incredible emerging professionals to be Teaching Artist Fellows. These Fellows will spend a year with us working both in the classroom and on the stage, fostering their education, performance, and business skills along the way. Today, we introduce you to the three Fellows who will spend this year transforming lives through theater with us!

Giana Blazquez

Where are you from?
I am from Orlando, Florida! Orlando is special to me for many reasons. For one, both sets of my grandparents also live there so I was able to foster a close relationship with them growing up. Orlando has a really awesome sense of community and there is so much good food to eat! One of my favorite things to do is go to a food truck event called "Tasty Tuesdays" by the T.G. Lee milk factory. Also, who can resist the Florida sunshine?

Why did you want to be a First Stage Fellow?
In Orlando I worked as a Teaching Artist at the Orlando Repertory Theatre when my boss introduced me to the Fellowship program at First Stage. Upon reading the description, I was so impressed by what I might be able to do. Teach all year AND perform in shows!? It seemed too good to be true. So my colleagues at the REP really encouraged me to apply, and now here I am!

What’s one goal you have set for yourself this year?
One thing I would love to do is direct and/or choreograph for a Company Class show. I truly believe that you can set the bar higher than most people would expect and the students will absolutely meet or exceed it.

What are your impressions of First Stage so far?
I never want to leave! Everyone has been so welcoming and supportive, I really can't think of a better place to be. I have loved meeting and working with all of the students, and I am having so much fun as a Teaching Apprentice this summer.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Fun fact! When I was little I really wanted to be a veterinarian. I have always had an irrational love of dogs, so when I was little I would watch dog shows on Animal Planet ALL the time. Because of this, there is a 95% that I can name a breed of dog that I see on the street.

You can catch Giana in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER and LOVABYE DRAGON as well as understudying several other shows throughout our season!

LaDareon Copeland

Where are you from?
I am from Warner Robins, GA - it is the place where I began my entrance into the theatre for the first time.

Why did you want to be a First Stage Fellow?
I found out about First Stage at a convention called Southeastern Theatre Conference; I fell in love with the program. The fact that this program helps other students understand theatre, as well as helps them use theatre in life is what I have been doing all my life.

What are you looking forward to most about being a Fellow this year?
Gaining stronger teaching skills and my first opportunities of professional theatre experience. Before I came to First Stage I was really great at teaching high school and college students how to perform monologues and scenes in addition to giving them voice lessons. Being at First Stage will help me enable me to do the same thing for kids of all ages.

What are your impressions of First Stage so far?
First Stage Theater Academy has so much love, acceptance and talent. I’ve never seen such talent in children until I came here. These students are dedicated and want to learn about theatre and those are the best students to teach. I am so blessed to work at a place where the students and faculty can be who they truly are with no judgment.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
One of my favorite shows is RuPaul’s Drag Race! Yeah, I know drag queens right? But drag is another form of art and performance. Also, one of my dream roles to perform is Genie in the musical Aladdin. When that performance was shown on the Tony Awards, all my friends were like “This is totally your character and your personality!!!” Ever since then, I have been researching James Monroe Iglehart and the shows that he has done.

Don't miss LaDareon this season in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER and WELCOME TO BRONZEVILLE, among others!

Lachrisa Grandberry

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My favorite thing about living here are the many festivals and all the good cheese to eat! I love my city because there's always an opportunity to meet and connect with so many other amazing people!

Why did you want to be a First Stage Fellow?
Over the past few years I've taught in private schools in Milwaukee. As much as I enjoy teaching, I've missed teaching arts and performing. Becoming a FirstStage Fellow is a way for me to not only teach arts and perform, but to be challenged, learn, grow, and collaborate with other artist who are doing the same.

What were you like as a kid?
As a kid I was very loud, outgoing, a little crazy, and involved with too many extra curricular activities! Not much has changed since my childhood when it comes to my personality.

How did you discover theater?
My first theatrical experience was in the 6th grade and I got play Oprah Winfrey in a living museum show! This was a life changing moment for me. As a kid Acting was my outlet, but soon after I realized it was my purpose and gift to share with the world.

What are you looking forward to most about being a Fellow this year?
I'm beyond excited for the Journey First Stage will take me on. So far, I've received nothing but good vibes from everyone at the organization! I'm looking forward to learning the different teaching concepts for theater, as well as taking part in many of my first young audience productions.

Lachrisa can be seen this season in WELCOME TO BRONZEVILLE, Lois Ehlert's MOLE HILL STORIES, and JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK!

1 comment:

boccebelle said...

Looks like so much fun! I wish I could sign up...but I am 70...sigh.

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