Extraordinary staffer Alaina Talley has worked for Acting for Young People as a Teaching Artist since 2010 and joined the administrative team of Potomac Arts Academy in 2012. She teaches year-round theater classes, works in our in-school acting programs, teaches acting summer camps, coordinates private lessons, and is the official Assistant Coordinator of Registration & Programs. Faculty Coordinator Claire Allen had a conversation with Alaina to find our more about this dynamic individual.
CAllen: How did you first fall in love with acting?
ATalley: I did a few plays through elementary school as a bird or a towns-person and always remember having such a great time, but it wasn’t until middle school that I really started to fall in love with acting and being on stage. I had amazing mentors through middle school that inspired me and encouraged me to perform. I’ll never forget — I was cast as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof Jr. at my Middle School and I feel it was that experience that made me beyond excited to stay on the stage! My family has always been so supportive and still come to see me perform!
CAllen: Tell us about a memorable teaching experience you’ve had.
ATalley: Through Acting For Young People I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing students. I teach on Saturdays in a program that I worked with Mary Lechter to create called our “Adventures” series. It’s a class that acts as a stepping stone between the beginner class and the larger musical showcase program. Since starting this program in 2014, I’ve had the privilege to teach some of the same students for multiple semesters as they grow and age up in the program. As I was directing my last Spring class while they performed their play for an audience, I realized that I was watching proud, loud little actors who came into the program without any expectation or experience. They were glowing with confidence — it was pretty amazing to see the transformation!
CAllen: What is special about teaching for AFYP/Potomac?
ATalley: There’s a deep level of care and attention that lives in the programs that we offer. Every aspect of our programs is for the student- no matter what age! Teaching a subject like theater, music, or art is such an amazing way to teach people that being creative can change your whole perspective on learning. Expressing yourself in these art forms leads to stronger relationships, communication skills, and confidence. It’s more that just a class once a week, it’s a community of artists!
CAllen: What are some unique things you do when you teach?
ATalley: I incorporate song into almost every lesson I teach, especially with the younger age groups. Everything from getting into a circle to learning a new acting concept. Song and memorization are so closely linked that students pick up on it quickly and retain it in a creative way! I also love to hear students compliment each other. At the end of almost every class I ask students to tell me one thing they think someone else in the class did well today. It boosts everyone’s self-esteem and builds community!
CAllen: Do you have any pets?
ATalley: I do! [big smile] I have a big 1.5yr old puppy named Marshall [pictured above]. He’s a riot, but I’m obsessed with him!