I’ve always tried to listen to my students when they ask for something. It’s important to me to do shows that they feel passionate about- even if it wasn’t yet at the top of my list. PIPPIN was brought to me by a handful of students I love and trust, and so here we are.

This wasn’t an easy process. It’s a HUGE show. It’s a show that requires relentless energy and commitment and challenges performers to sing, dance, and act outside of their immediate comfort zones. For students between the ages of 11-19, this was an extra special challenge. As we chugged along together, we discussed what the players, especially the Leading Player, meant to us. Was it pressure from friends or family and their expectations for you? Is it a relationship you need to move on from? Is it the devil? Is it pressures from society that we feel are forcing us to live a life we don’t necessarily know that we want to live? Pippin is selected to join this wheel and follow along the path laid out for him, but what makes the story beautiful is when he is honest with himself and finally brave enough to break away from the pack. Unpacking the story together as a cast involved unpacking the “Pippin” in each of us. How do we handle the feeling of not fitting into our own world?

We have a fantastically interesting group of students in this PIPPIN cast. Last year an article was written about us and they referred to us as the “island of misfit toys”. I was quite proud of that statement. Since opening BARCLAY in 2016 our team has made it a goal to host a space where people can enjoy being their favorite versions of themselves, all the time. We have all sorts in our theatre family, but what has been beautiful to me during this rehearsal process was really seeing that space being created. Watching this cast group together, fight together, learn together… has been so exciting for our production team, and is reflected in their performances.

Each of us work through things at our own pace in life, and I am so happy to know that this group has found a ‘corner of the sky’ where they can break away from what is gripping them, if even for a few hours. How much better could our whole world be if more people felt more comfortable being exactly who they are and doing exactly what they love? Our gift tonight is to give YOU a taste of our world and passion for a few hours so you can reflect on the “Pippin” in you.

“Rivers belong where they can ramble… eagles belong where they can fly… I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free. Gotta find my corner, or the sky”

Christine Barclay