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53. 8/13 From an Anonymous Former Student

I attended summer camp at Stage Right! for several years, but never participated in the year-round offerings due to commitments with other school activities. I met many incredible people at the studio, and while I don’t consider myself a victim of abuse, the time I spent at Stage Right! was enough to confirm that all of the stories I’ve read on this website are true. At the time, I was a shy student with a passion for musical theatre. I came to Stage Right! to pursue this passion, but always left disappointed. Coming into summer camp without the right friendships or connections, and not having a loud, belting voice, I saw no growth in my abilities. I enjoyed my time in the ensemble year after year, and met some wonderful people along the way. I appreciated the occasional efforts by the staff members to get me out of my shell, but without any opportunities for lead roles or featured parts, I was frustrated. I noticed the same kids, from the same friend group, getting the same parts, year after year. I just wanted to take this opportunity to comment on the cliques and toxic friend groups present at Stage Right! If you have an outgoing personality and are friends with the Artistic Director’s daughter or son, you can expect a lead role almost every time. Having never met that criteria, I stayed in the shadows. While a lot of my memories from the studio are foggy, I cannot remember any significant abuse I experienced, except for a drastic loss in my confidence. I noticed the constant abrasive comments and intense environment that the favorite students of the artistic director experienced, yet somehow still wanted to be them because I thought it was all a part of “learning.” I felt frustrated, trying to become friends with a group of people I didn’t even like because I thought I would have a better chance at a lead role, and would finally get a chance to improve my skills like I had been paying for. While my experience may be minuscule compared to others, I have been so inspired by reading everyone’s stories and hope that Stage Right! can soon make a change for the better.

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