EMMA JARVIS—Hello, Lyric Community! For those of you who do not know, I will be in the Lyric Theatre Company Creative Space this summer as an intern. I am elated to be working at Lyric with such passionate and driven co-workers. Although this summer is unique due to these turbulent times, I can’t wait to aid in promoting art and strengthening the community during my time here. 

I feel lucky to be a South Burlington local, and to have grown up in an area where the arts are embraced and encouraged. I have been involved in theatre for around a decade, starting with my role as a chorus member in Tiger Lily’s tribe, in Orchard Elementary School’s production of Peter Pan. I was a painfully shy child who didn’t have many outlets, and barely had a handful of friends; finding my connection to the stage changed all of that. Theatre allowed me to find my voice, expand my boundaries, and develop a stronger emotional understanding of others and the world around me. 

I started working with famed Lyric Theatre Alum, and fellow Lyric Link haver, Tim Maynes, once I entered Middle School. I learned a lot from Tim about stage presence, storytelling, and the difference between stage left and stage right.  Under his direction, I played roles such as Mrs. Mayor in Seussical, and a Poppy in The Wizard of Oz

At this point, members of my family saw my interest in theatre and started to take me to a plethora of Lyric shows. Since I saw my first Lyric Show, Hello, Dolly, I’ve been a fervent supporter. Some of my all time Lyric favorites are Titanic, Legally Blonde, Les Misérables, and White Christmas. I have always left the theatre so proud of the great art that my community was able to come together and create, and so motivated to continue to participate in theatre myself. 

Emma, as Mrs. Vernon-Williams, alongside Jeremy Brotz as Wade Walker, in the 2018 Flynn Youth Theatre production of Cry-Baby.

In 2015 I made my only official Lyric stage appearance as “The Baker” in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat through LyricKids. I was able to shine alongside my teva-clad cast, as we zeroed in our complete focus on putting together the best performance we could in only a week’s time. (Taking a healthy amount of breaks to play high energy theatre games along the way!) This gave me the chance to meet other kids from across the state who shared the same passion for performing.  The talent and commitment to theatrical excellence was like nothing I had experienced before. This was a turning point for me, and it was electrifying to make serious and well orchestrated theatre with like minded peers. I continued on to participate in theatre at South Burlington High School and participated in The Flynn’s Show Choir as well as many Flynn Summer Youth Theatre Musicals, where I was able to create amazing art under the guidance of Ryan Addario, Lyric’s Development and Marketing Coordinator, and dance instructor extraordinaire! Getting to fill my time surrounded by talented and devoted creatives and peers, reassured me that I needed to pursue a career in which I could help others have these same opportunities. 

Emma, performing with her college a capella group, “The Wheatones”.

I am now a rising senior at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, majoring in Business and Management with a concentration in Arts, Policy, and Nonprofits, with a minor in Theatre Studies. This is in pursuit of my goal to help create and foster spaces that concentrate on community placemaking and the performing arts. It was the growth that I saw in myself and my peers once I started to do theatre that motivated me to pursue a career path in which I could help spread and promote accessibility to the arts. Being that Lyric’s core motivations are community connection, theatrical expression, and education, it seems as though there couldn’t be a better place for me to be this summer. 

Although I have not had a lot of experience working with Lyric theatrically, it feels as though I have always been a part of the Lyric family. So many of my mentors and role models have come up through Lyric or had some semblance of a hand in one or numerous Lyric Productions. Lyric has cultivated so many positive artists and creatives, that I owe nearly my entire theatrical knowledge to it. Even sitting as an enthusiastic audience member I feel as though I have gained so much from Lyric, as it is such a major staple of locally produced theatre in Vermont. Something I have always appreciated about the Vermont theatre scene as a whole, is that there is a sentiment of lifting each other up, and supporting each other in creative endeavors. There isn’t cut-throat competition, but rather a notion that we are here to collectively embrace any and all new art created by our peers—I believe that this has strengthened the bond we have as a community immensely. Lyric, in my opinion, is one of the champions of this positive theatrical support chain, as the key to Lyric seems to be that everyone and anyone who is interested can find some way to participate. And this makes Lyric an immensely important and strong organization that I am so proud to be working with.