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  • I was pathologically shy as a child. In pre-school (kindergarten), I was so shy that my parents and teachers decided I should repeat the year, so I could develop my ‘emotional maturity’ more. In Grade 1, I was so shy that I would follow my teacher around on break times, just to feel safe and secure. By the time I’d reached high school, I’d found some good ways around my shyness. But it wasn’t until I started studying Drama that the course of my life completely changed.

    It’s funny but it took being other people to be truly comfortable being myself. Drama gave me the room to explore myself through other characters, other personalities, other roles. It taught me compassion and empathy, for you cannot help but empathize with another’s experiences if you’re being them onstage. It gave me confidence, it fulfilled me creatively, it helped me learn how to laugh at myself in a way I’d never been able to do before. It opened up so many new worlds that I never even knew existed.

    All of this took place 16 years ago. 1996. A leap year. My original Leap Year Project. A choice to take a risk in the pursuit of something greater. A greater way of being myself. A greater appreciation of other people’s feelings, experiences, ideas. A more creative life. Now, perhaps more than ever, am I convinced that these are the gifts I wish to share with other young people, in just the same way it was a blessed gift for me. I might be leaving the Drama classroom as a school teacher, but my new role as a freelance teacher-artist is going to give me the flexibility and space to make a difference on a bigger scale.

    Full-circle and beyond!
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