MRT's Young Company Summer Showcase 6:30 to 7:30 PM EDT This Friday, July 31. Free/Register here. READ PROGRAM NOTES.
A NOTE FROM ARTISTIC DIRECTOR COURTNEY SALE & YOUNG COMPANY DIRECTOR ROBERT CORNELIUS
We are thrilled to share the work of our 2020 Young Company. For the last three weeks, this intrepid group of artists has shown humor, creativity, resiliency, and heart. We knew the program would feel different in a virtual space and these students have shown art thrives in the most unlikely of spaces, and that they can adapt to just about anything.
From monologue work from some of the hottest playwrights working today to collaborating on their own plays, to interacting with guest artists, these students have continually impressed and inspired us. We celebrate them, their contributions, and look forward to sharing the work of these burgeoning artists with you.
Robert and Courtney
THANK YOU TO OUR YOUNG COMPANY SPONSORS!
The Ramsey McCluskey Family Foundation
Corning Incorporated Foundation
United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
Nicholas G. & Carol L. Xenos
And Individuals who supported
MRT's Holiday Basket Raffle and Spring Auction
MEET THE YOUNG COMPANY
OLIVIA CHAVEZ (she/her) was born in Argentina in 2005. She currently lives in Buenos Aires and attends Saint Mary of the Hills School. She lives for music and enjoys playing the guitar. Olivia grew up surrounded by the arts from Kinder Music to ballet since she was three. She had acting, singing, and dancing lessons throughout her young life. She has participated in school plays and had two appearances in community theatre playing Ivanka in Once and young Rapunzel in Tangled. Now she takes Hip Hop lessons at H3 academy and plays soccer twice a week.
MAYA STARR DENSON (she/they) is from South Hadley MA, 14 years old, and is starting high school next year at Pioneer Valley Performing Arts. This is her first year as a part of MRT. She enjoys also modeling, singing, dancing, and drawing. Although most of her experience is in film (independent film, commercial, and TV), she has been in theater productions such as the Off-Broadway Musical The Garden of Life, the opera The Dark River: The Fannie Lou Hamer Story, Wizard of Oz, The Pirates of Penzance, Seussical Jr., and at the moment she is part of a modern interpretation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at the Pioneer Valley of Performing Arts. She is proud of both her and everyone else's hard work and hopes the audience enjoys the show.
KHANH HA (she/her) is in her second year in MRT’s Young Company. She’s been in musicals and plays for school, like Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka Jr., Off The Trail (an original student-written play), and much more. Last year, Khanh played the role of Kiley, a trans women character, from the original play Two Sides. Outside theater, she enjoys dancing and listening to music. Khanh is happy to be with Young Company this summer and also wants to thank all her peers for their undying support for her.
CARLY HEALANDER (they/them) is a recent high school graduate from Lexington, Kentucky. Their breakthrough performance as an actor was a paper puppet show/dance off in the living room (Mom loved it). Carly has participated in a handful of local theatre productions and open mics around Lexington but can also be found curled in a blanket with a good book. Carly is so grateful to be a part of Young Company 2020 and has learned so much through this experience.
KAYLA JACKSON (she/her) is 16 years old. This is her first year being a part of the Young Company of MRT, and she loves it! Kayla lives in Lowell, MA, and will be a sophomore at Lowell High. She’s been in the junior musical Beauty and the Beast and the play Our Town. You can most likely find her enjoying any activity with a friend. Kayla wants to an actress when grows up and willing to do any theater program to get more acting experience!
MICAH LAMKIN (he/him) is 15 years old, and this is his first year with the Young Company. He’s from Lowell, MA. Micah used to go to an arts school, where he took several arts classes, including music, art, drama, and more. He has acted in a school adaptation of Let’s kill the Boss and would’ve acted in Clue but, due to COVID-19, was unable to. In his free time, he likes to play video games and bass. He would like to thank his drama teacher, Mr. Rose, for teaching him everything he knows, and his mom for giving him endless support and countless pep talks, and that’s all for Micah.
LIAM MCDERMOTT (he/him) is 17 years old from Tewksbury, MA. He’ll be a junior at Tewksbury Memorial High School. This is his second year doing Young Company, and he’s thrilled that the program was still able to happen this summer. Past shows include The Little Mermaid, Seussical, Shrek, Annie, Once On This Island, The Lottery, High School Musical, Legally Blonde, Grease, The Outsiders, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Godspell, and Alice in Wonderland. He hopes you enjoy the show and stay healthy throughout these tough times.
OLIVIA MOLLIGI (she/her) is entering her senior year of high school. She’s been in Young Company for nine years and ever since, she has gained acting experience and loves it. In Young Company, she creates a play from scratch with a couple of people that she met and got to experience the magic of playwriting. Thanks to her family; they were pushing her to go to college, and she is very grateful for that. Thank you to all the people who have supported her through her dreams of being an actress whether it’s on stage or behind a screen. She can’t be where she is without them.
MELKAMU NEUNABER (he/him) is fifteen years old. This is his first year with Merrimack Repertory Theatre's Young Company program, and it's been a great experience.
SHIVALI SUBREENDUTH (she/her) is in her second year in Young Company. She is thrilled to be in the program once again, meeting new faces, and creating new pieces. She started performing from a young age and has been in multiple shows, including Hairspray, The Lion King, and Romeo and Juliet! She loves to sing in her free time. Two years ago, she was brave enough to audition for "America's Got Talent;" she always tries to get better at what she does without giving up. Last year, she got her first lead role for her school drama club competition performance of Radium Girls. Shivali has always been an advocate for human rights and equality. She would like to thank Robert and Kaitlyn for all the love and support they have given for the two years she has been with them.
MEET THE TEACHING ARTISTS
ROBERT CORNELIUS (he/him) is an actor, writer, singer, teacher, and activist working and living in Chicago. This is Robert's second year heading up the Young Company, a program that has quickly become very dear to his heart. Most recently, Robert was seen on stage in the world premiere of Her Honor, Jane Byrne at Lookingglass Theatre, written and directed by Deanna Nicole Brooks, and the world premiere of Lottery Day by Ike Holter at the Goodman Theatre, Robert still performs and records with Poi Dog Pondering, and teaching and coaching actors as often as he can.
KAITLYN CROCKETT (she/they) is a queer theatrical artist living in Lowell, MA, and it's their second year with MRT's Young Company as the Program Coordinator. These students are the future, and the future is looking BRIGHT. Most recently, Kaitlyn was seen on stage in Circle Mirror Transformation in Lowell, as well as directing with Studio 506 Theatre for over five years. Kaitlyn would like to shout out the 1997 film version of Cinderella, starring Brandy and Whitney Houston. It has come to their attention not every knows this film exists and that needs to change.
CARLA STILLWELL (she/her) has been an award-winning actor, playwright and director for three decades. She is the former Artistic Director for MPAACT Theatre as well as a Playwright-In-Residence. Ms. Stillwell is a teaching artist with Victory Gardens Theatre, StoryCatcher’s Theatre, and is a regular creative writing workshop host at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She was a visiting workshop director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Ms. Stillwell has been a contributor to the online theatre magazine HowlRound, hosted by Emerson College of Boston, writing two popular articles, “What do we tell our young Playwrights who are Black” and “Diversity: It’s a Noun.” She recently directed the new play More Than Neighbors for the 2018 Great Plains Theatre Conference and is currently the Artist-in-Residence at The Experimental Station in Chicago, where over the next 12 months Ms. Stillwell will be incubating The Stillwell Institute of Contemporary Black Art that will live in Chicago’s South Shore community with a mission to recruit, develop and support contemporary Black artists and to teach art making in the Black community as a healing practice, a vehicle for social change, and a viable career opportunity.
IKE HOLTER (he/him) is a Chicago writer, and recipient of The Windham-Campbell prize, one of the highest awards for writing in the world. His award-winning plays include Exit Strategy, Hit The Wall, and Lottery Day, which have been seen all across the country. He was a writer for the Emmy winning “Fosse/Verdon” on FX and won the WGA for Best Long Form Adaptation. His commissions include Studio Theater, Goodman, Southcoast Rep, and Playwrights Horizons. https://www.ikeholter.org/