Bethel student Grace Peters grew up going to the theatre, and the first show she saw was actually Oklahoma at Bethel when she came to see her sister who was in the pit for the well-known musical.
“I had always loved going to shows at Bethel and at TPAC in Nashville,” Peters said.
But the theatre major from Dickson says she did not begin acting and being involved in theatre herself until her freshman year of high school.
“My gym teacher actually threatened to fail me if I didn’t audition for our upcoming play,” she said. “So I did audition, and I’ve loved the theatre ever since.”
During her time at Bethel, Peters has worked in all facets of the craft.
“I worked on costume crew for Academic Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes, and I was head makeup and hair designer for their play this past spring, Boeing, Boeing. I was an ancestor for Renaissance Theatre’s production of The Addams Family, I served on the crew for Arsenic and Old Lace, and I played the character Bun Foo this past spring in Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
This summer, Grace continues to hone her skills and gain valuable experience as she works as a Summer Camp Intern at Nashville Children’s Theatre.
A former theatre teacher of mine, Sam Whited, used to work at the theatre and told me about the internship,” Peters said. “He actually wrote one of my letters of recommendation.”
Peters said she has also sought much guidance from Bethel Academic Theatre Director Tony Morton.
“I’ve discussed the internship with him throughout the year, and he gave me multiple pointers.”
For nearly a century, the historic Nashville Children’s Theatre has employed troupes of actors, singers and musicians to entertain children and their parents with popular productions and original plays. The theatre provides an excellent opportunity to expose children to the dramatic arts through their productions and through their summer camp experiences that engage children in the craft of acting and performance.
Peters says that each week her job has been to work with a different age group to help them improve on various theatre skills such as improvisation or musical theatre.
After being involved in both Bethel’s Renaissance and Academic Theatre, Peters says she really felt ready for anything this internship might throw at her.
“Being involved in Bethel’s performing arts has bettered me as an actor and as a student of theatre,” she said. “They have really pushed me to excel.”
With her long-term career goal being to act professionally and eventually work in drama therapy, Peters said she believes this internship has been really helpful in giving her some valuable experience.
“Drama therapy is an interactive form of therapy that can involve drama, music or art,” she said. “During this internship, I have worked with children and have gotten the chance to see how their involvement in drama positively influences them.”
During her time at the internship, Peters says that she has found Nashville Children’s Theatre to be such a wonderful and welcoming place to work.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity they have given me this summer,” she said.
Peters says the experience has also given her a new perspective on teachers of children.
“My parents are both teachers, so I realized growing up that they give up a lot in different ways to benefit their students,” she said. “But being here, I have a better understanding of why they do that – because they want to push students to be the best they can be.
“This experience has made me want to reach out to all my teachers and my parents and to thank each of them for the way they have impacted my life.
“The whole experience has been pretty incredible.”