Embark! - Setting the Stage for Life

by Kelsey Meshell, Arts Administration Apprentice

 “I teach so a student can learn the power of the arts, and use it to change the world around them.

So they will make an intangible idea a reality.

So they will recognize beauty,

So they will be sensitive,

So they will have more love,

More compassion,

More gentleness,

More good,

In short,

More life.”

- Joshua Miller, 2019 Embark Master Teacher

Theatre isn’t just about spotlights and standing ovations. Like a lot of things in life, there are long days and hard work that goes into making theatre. Embark! Youth Theatre Conservatory, Endstation’s two-week summer program, sets out to unearth that process, honing in on why that work is important and how it can enable students to not only be better performers on stage, but be more intentional and expressive in their everyday lives.

Program Director Martha Reddick sums it up,

“At Embark, we focus on life skills through theatre skills. During their two weeks, students will learn Confidence, Creativity, and Communication skills that can be applied to any area of their life both on and off the stage. It is a joy to watch our students practice bravery every day!”


This summer, we are celebrating our most successful camp yet! Thanks to supportive parents, donors, and sponsors enabled more than 40 students to come together to learn everything from Shakespeare to musical theatre, stage combat to improv, and build friendships with other young creatives. 

So how do we accomplish this?

Reddick spends a year seeking master instructors who not only hold professional teaching and performance resumes, but also resonate with our mission of instilling important life lessons. This year’s team had this to share about their work and embark. 


Ezra Colon, teaching artist, director, and actor based in Omaha, NE.

“Having been with the program off and on since its inception, it fills my soul getting an opportunity to see the students grow over that time period. In my class, there is an overarching idea of Practicing Bravery. One time there was a student doing the hardest thing I could think of, improvising an entire monologue, working through the challenge of communicating through a lisp and stutter. It was one of the most beautiful things I had experienced in all my years of teaching. It was incredibly inspirational and I will never forget it as a shining example of courage, support and perseverance.” 


Jessica De La Rosa, actor and teaching artist based in Louisville, KY.

“I love teaching at Embark! because the mission of the camp goes beyond arts education. During classes we are focused on invaluable life skills regarding Creativity, Communication- and my personal favorite: Confidence! We get the privilege of spending time with these young people, and seeing them make great strides, as they come into their own on and off stage.”

The students’ time at Embark! is short, but the friendships and skills they develop stay with them forever.

Join us July 19 at 5:30 PM at the Thoresen Theatre on Randolph College to witness all the fabulous work our students have been doing to create magic on the stage! 

Chris Bailey