Many moons ago I met Jessica May and she quickly became my best friend, Jessie.
“Jessica May” has become a title I use when she rarely doesn’t answer my phone call or if I’m dramatically knocked over by the dramatic sentence that just came out of her mouth… Which never fails to double me over with laughter.
Although, Jessie used to be a mere myth to my ears… ( She was studying abroad my first fall semester at The University of Alabama).
After getting back to the South, and time passed, we were cast in several shows together…. could best friends ask for more??
All this time, Jessie was dating the marvelous, deep-dimpled Tommy Walker! Who is now her perfectly matched fiancé.
In my opinion, an important part of being a happy artist is learning how to create work for yourself. Jessie and Tommy did just that in college when they established Kingdom Theatre, which mounted several stage productions during their time at the University. Now, with New York City as their home, they have embarked on another creative outlet which has a mission to raise up the next generation of artists and performers with strongly cultivated gifts and talents.
Tommy and Jessie were introduced to the theatre world fairly young and are aware of that burning fire that compels you to beg your parents to get a jump-start into acting.
Currently based in New York City, Drama Kids Studio will give kids that ideal opportunity. The Studio will offer a wide range of activities and workshops covering acting, music, dance/movement, and much more. When asked about the importance of kids being introduced to the arts at a young age, Tommy responded, “Any spark of creativity or feeling of self worth that we can bring to a newcomer in the performing arts is so powerful. We are in the position to help a kid realize whether or not this is something they want to pursue. To be able to foster any sort of passion in someone is a fortunate position to be in.” And, by doing so, they are helping “shape the creative artists of our future!”
Though Drama Kids Studio is being initiated through workshops, Tommy and Jessie have a broad and admirable goal for the future. “We are starting off with free workshops and hope to build our organization into something that brings affordable after school programs and day camps all across New York City.”
Aware of the competition found in the culture of the industry, they see being well-rounded as a necessary advantage. “Performers these days not only need to be good actors… dancing, singing, playing instruments, voiceovers, improvisation, and so much more now play a part in whether you get a role.” By honing gifts at a young age, their vision is to produce artists who know his or her individual voice and have learned how to connect to their art from various angles.
For Tommy, having that voice fueled by experience is key. It’s an honor to “take someone on a journey and to connect to a story, whether its fantastical or based in realism, is such a powerful position to be in. As theatre artists and storytellers we are able to help people take a moment, reflect on a situation, and share themselves with the world. There is no better career in the world in my opinion. ” And I must whole-heartedly agree.
As a dear friend, I could not be more proud of Jessie and Tommy. I am inspired by the love they share for each other and the arts. They are special and talented individuals who make an unstoppable team. Drama Kids Studio is keeping its willingness to grow open as they believe in the importance of theatre education and would love to see it spread with seeds planted all over!
If you’d like to get involved, know someone who may be interested or in New Your City towards the end of August, now is the time to sign up! Drama Kids Studio will be kicking off with a FREE day of workshops at Access Theater in Manhattan. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit their website at www.dramakidsstudio.weebly.com
Love you both and thanks for sharing!