#FFF Family Feature Friday: where we celebrate some of the amazing families under the PCA umbrella. We are extremely thankful to our families!
On our first ever #FFF, we are featuring a powerhouse. A force to be reckoned with. The ‘Dream Team’ (as we like to call them): James and Danielle Ferguson, Daniel and Krisha Saunders, and Larissa Johnson. Parents of PCA students Ellie, Jordana and Annaliese, and Marley.
We asked this cluster of wonder what youth theater means to them because it’s very clear to us that it means a lot. The ‘Dream Team’ personify the ‘community’ in community theater and we were intrigued to know why.
Krisha opened with a sentiment we think most would agree with when explaining why youth theater is so beneficial for youngsters: “Theater provides a great outlet for self-expression. In the age where so many kids are forced to into a ”box of conformity” theater (especially Miss Jacqueline and Mr. Steve) fosters creativity and individuality in a loving environment.”
To explain why 5-year-old Ellie Ferguson “deeply LOVES theater” and feels “overjoyed every time she goes,” Danielle Ferguson said, “how great it is to be able to grow, adapt, learn, and fully commit to a role with a camaraderie of wonderful, positive, and supportive people.” She went on to say “this experience strengthens her (Ellie’s) self-confidence, creativity, and sense of community, and she is finding a side of herself she never knew was there, which is pretty cool.”
Across April and May, the Dream Team spent a lot of time creating some of the set pieces for our upcoming Aladdin shows.
Larissa Johnson stated that “Theater goes beyond the stage and we have had a blast building sets and building friendships with memories that will last a lifetime. Marley is always up for any excuse to get more involved with theatre.”
Marley Johnson-Ordonez (top) and Marley and Ellie Ferguson (bottom) painting the Palace couches.
Whilst talking about how they integrated the girls into becoming mini set builders, Danielle, said, “We made it fun. While the primer was drying, James brought out some wood, and the girls got to talk about safety around tools. They got to hammer, saw, and even use a nail gun! They were so into it. While we waited for the first coat of paint to dry, the girls made a volcano. It was a fun bonding experience.”
Krisha added that the “process of set-building provides my children with a greater appreciation of all the hard work and effort that it takes to create a show.”
Danielle supported Krisha’s opinion: “we want Ellie to appreciate that there is an entire team working hard in the background that often goes unnoticed, but is essential to the performance. We hope that she will generalize this into her day-to-day life and she will recognize, consider, and appreciate people or things that often go unnoticed. Consideration and appreciation are important qualities to carry throughout life.”
Left to right: James Ferguson, Larissa Johnson and Danielle Ferguson, posing whilst painting!
The finished result… fit for a king! (Or Prince).
On the subject of the importance of finding the right instructor, Danielle said: “Jacqueline (Dunford) has a very special gift. The way that she is with her students and what she brings out in them is awesome. Jacqueline fosters the supportive environment that allows her students to feel confident and comfortable to fully explore and express themselves and that is such a wonderful gift. She inspires them and she creates a love of theater in all of them. She has something, “often imitated, but never duplicated.”
Ms. Jacqueline (Dunford) with the girls ahead of their Peter Pan Jr. performance.
Larissa added “Ms Jacqueline has been a true gem in Marley’s life. Her entire being exudes an upbeat and positive attitude, full of life and pure joy that is so contagious. With her encouraging way of teaching, Marley has reached for the stars with confidence like none other! Marley never misses a chance to be with her beloved Ms. Jacqueline.”
The girls on stage during Peter Pan Jr.
As a parting sentence, Danielle mentioned that when they talk about theater, her quote to Ellie has always been, “Theater will always bring love, friends, and magic to your life.” We most certainly agree with that.
The girls will be performing in our upcoming production of Aladdin kids at Phoenix Center for the Arts. Grab your tickets to see them (and their handy work) in action!