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38. 8/11 From an Anonymous Former Student

I have a passion for performing. I was never a favorite, but that didn’t matter. I didn’t care that I was always ensemble or that I was in the back, I was so happy to be there. As I went to the “teen” category, I noticed a change in the Artistic Director towards myself and a friend.

It began with screaming at us for things we did not do. A great example would be that we were making fun of a certain group of people, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. I put up with those screams though, as I knew I was not doing anything wrong. I knew he was starting to resent our presence whenever he let us know that we were “absolutely useless to him, on and off of the stage” the night before the 2012 performance of Annie.

My friend left right after that and did not perform in the show, but I did not want to give up yet, so I continued the show. I cried the entire time and that memory has never left my mind, following me in future performances with different leadership I have faced throughout my now adult career. About 4 months after that musical ended, I received a Facebook message from the owner apologizing, which I thought was very nice until he left a note at the end saying that he really needed me back because he didn’t have enough sensation performers to get to Disney that next year.

I always thought I was the problem, I am grateful to now know that there are an abundance of other students, staff and parents who have had similar experiences. We are not alone.

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