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36. 8/11 From an Anonymous Former Student

I started with stage right my sophomore year of high school. I was homeschooled due to being bullied out of public school and having an abusive relationship. I saw stage right as an opportunity to try and rebuild some of the friendships I had lost as a result of leaving school. When I joined stage right I really had no comprehension of it being a bad place, but as things went on stuff got weird. I do not remember being targeted personally, this was potentially due to the fact I was seen as a “lower potential” child and even though it was never said to me, I felt it. I knew there was really no point in auditioning and really believe I only got the parts I did due to tokenism (in the king and I) and in my senior year because every senior gets a role. I had no real guidance on how to sing or read music, and nobody taught me because it was somewhat expected that everyone knew how to read/play music, even though the classes were advertised for everybody regardless of experience. My family also didn’t have money to donate and get preferential treatment, they were also not best friends with the directors. So basically my mom paid hundreds of dollars every semester for me to not even have a chance. But even that was worth it, why? Because I met some of the only friends I had during my high school years. These friends were seen by the creative directors as “bad” kids, I still do not know the reason why, perhaps it was because of their absolute ability to not care what the director thought of them. This did not pan out well however. I witnessed my friends get not just yelled at, but screamed at by the director. The director would tell me to stop speaking to them. I remember one of my friends had a blocking incident during “fiddler on the roof” and the director was fuming, all because my friend was a little late to the scene. It felt awful to have to stand and watch that, but as a trauma response I never ever moved or said anything when the director got mad. Sometimes he would yell at the whole class if some blocking (which the instructors would only give us vague instructions on how to do, especially if you were in the back) was a little off, he would order us to all sit down and call us lazy and useless, screaming the whole time. I remember disassociating on more than one occasion due to my already formed ptsd trauma responses, terrified I would get called out because I knew I would burst out crying. I think I might have cried a couple times, but again due to disassociation I don’t remember.

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