Back in November, I was having tea at the Fruited Plain with Bethany Wallace, director of the Sioux Center Arts and Rec council and wife of Josiah Wallace, one of our infamous theatre professors. Although I knew her name and could pair it with her face, I didn’t know Bethany personally until I asked her if she’d have tea with me, explain how her passion for theatre emerged, and walk me through the life-story that brought her to so many theatre-related jobs, including the one in Sioux Center. I had recently changed my major to theatre, and I hoped that hearing about someone’s experience entering the often-exclusive world of theatre would give me a better idea of the craziness I had signed up for.
And because this is Sioux Center, where people care about people, Bethany took time out of her busy schedule (she’s also a mother of three spunky boys) to share her heart with some random college student.
And because this is Sioux Center, where people find their passions and create opportunities to explore those passions, a middle school girl wanting more theatre opportunities in her public middle school had approached Bethany the day previous.
And because this is Sioux Center, where people are always busy working on something worthwhile, Bethany was too swamped with other arts opportunities to direct a middle school drama club herself.
So, all because I live in the quirky community that is Sioux Center, I went into a meeting nervously hoping to brainstorm future job possibilities and walked out with my first official directing job. I was going to teach an after-school drama program for middle schoolers through the city, gaining firsthand experience in selecting/directing a show, building a set, designing costumes/makeup, working with students, holding to a budget -- everything I tentatively thought God could possibly, maybe, sort of be calling me to.
And after working with a group of eight middle school girls for the last two months, I’m so sure that the theatre is where I’m made to be. Moreover, I’m so sure that the theatre is where God made each of these girls to thrive. Whether we were warming up our bodies, warming up our voices, playing improv games, or working with our actual script of The Velveteen Rabbit adapted by Kathryn Shultz Miller, we were all alive, feeding off each other’s energy and growing as creative and relational human beings. It was bliss, and it was a real-life immersion into what I’ll continue growing into after high school.
And if I lived anywhere other than Sioux Center, I’m not sure the same opportunity would have presented itself so naturally. In my experience, living in a small town isn’t so bad when your community is full of big opportunities.