Connie Shorb’s first introduction to DreamWrights was when her granddaughter enrolled in one of the summer camps. Connie remembers, “She just had a wonderful time. Of course, we came to see the performance. I was very impressed with how happy the kids were, what they were learning, how the staff handled them, and how they came back excited about what they were doing.” Connie says that it became very obvious early on that her granddaughter, Megan, was enjoying herself and that more summer camps and acting opportunities were going to be in her future.
Megan participated in a Broadway camp. Her brother, JR, enrolled too, and was cast as a spoon. Connie says for Megan being on stage came naturally, “Megan likes to perform. This gives her an opportunity to blossom.” Connie laughs, “But JR wasn’t quite sure if a spoon was something he wanted to be doing. But, Megan explained it was a pivotal role.” JR ultimately grew into his role as a spoon and liked it so much he returned to a Dinosaur Creativity Camp.
As Connie has come to several performances to see and support Megan and JR, she’s gotten to know DreamWrights and its values. “I’m impressed with the vision about what they’re trying to accomplish. I like the outreach to the community. I would hope that in the future that DW would be able to do things with some of the other arts groups in town.” Having an art background herself, Connie recognizes the opportunity that DreamWrights can offer the community both on and off the stage. “Bring the kids in, teach them set design. Hopefully these kids will take this back to their high schools and middle schools.”
Her grandkids on stage might be what brought Connie in, but it is the art that keeps her coming back. Formally educated with a degree in fine arts from Rollins College, Connie has had a love for art since she was a little kid. Even when the responsibilities of raising a family set in, Connie always kept herself engaged in art by building the Art Goes to School program at Indian Rock Elementary and providing what would now be considered rudimentary (only 4 colors at a time – hey – it was the 80s!) computer graphics for a local software house. But now, as Connie has more free time, she’s trying to get back to her artwork. As a step towards this goal, she’s decided to give set painting a try. “This is another venue. It is a different kind of art work. I’m hoping to learn a little about this as well. It’s fun to see how they put it all together. Trying to work in a totally different area is a challenge.” She’s not working 12 inches away like she’s used to. She’s working on a much grander scale with set design. To speak with Connie, you can tell that she’s enjoying the challenge to her art skill to work in this setting.
Connie has also been impressed by all of the volunteers’ time and dedication. “When I was working yesterday, there were a lot of young people that came in and they were doing all sorts of things, and not necessarily in front in the spotlights. I was impressed with how Bob [McCleary] worked with them. Everybody had something to do. Bob was guiding them, letting them do their own thing, but also keeping an eye on what was being done. Everybody was being part of the whole. I was impressed with everybody’s attitude and level of cooperation.” Connie believes the secret to this success is the competent supervision. “In just the little time I’ve been here, people know what they’re doing. They do a good job with it. Frankly, if they weren’t you wouldn’t see the success in productions that they have.”
From Connie’s unique perspective, she is especially excited about DreamWrights’ capital campaign. “I think having a better setting for all of this is definitely a positive. You know, it’s an old building and things need to be brought up to code. That’s going to be a benefit.” As far as what the DreamWrights experience brings to budding actors and actresses like her granddaughter, “What Megan learns here gives her confidence to participate in talent shows and perform at school. Just the basic life skill of being confident and speaking in front of a group is something that’s going to carry on for a life time.”
Being on stage is great, but it isn’t for everyone. It might be for Megan but it wouldn’t have been for Connie. “My dad introduced me to golf. It is something you can do on your own. As is art. You don’t have to have a crowd. I guess it goes with what I was comfortable doing. Not everybody can be captain of the football team. As time goes on you kind of figure out what you are good at and what you want to do.” DreamWrights gives people of all ages the opportunity to do this.