Queen Creek High School senior shows elementary kids benefits of theatre
17-year-old Jasmyn Gade is broadening the horizons of hundreds of elementary school children and improving their confidence by introducing them to the world of live theatre.
Gade, a senior at Queen Creek High School, is a major part of the school’s theatre program.
“I’m a huge story nerd and I think music theory is great,” she said. “I figured out that theater kind of mixes it all together.”
She competes in Arizona Thespian competitions, which is part of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.
Gade made an impression early on, not only joining a class as a sophomore that was meant for juniors, but also being the only sophomore invited to join a group of seniors in the competition.
The seniors and Gade went on to win first place at the 2019 national competition in Nebraska with their performance of a musical number from “Footloose.”
As a major part of the group, Gade was given the opportunity to coordinate two elementary schools in a program meant to expose the benefits of theatre to children.
“There’s a lot of kids who don’t realize just how incredible they are,” she said. “You have to teach people, I think at a very young age, that you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people, that everybody’s just as incredible as everyone else.
“Everybody’s special in their own way.”
The program has made an impact on over 200 kids, with some of those kids finding a hidden love for theatre.
“There were some younger boys in particular,” she said. “They’re like, my mom made me be here … by the end of it, they were like helping me come up with choreography.”
Theatre has made a profound impact on Gade’s life, adding it would have made an even bigger difference had she been involved in elementary school with a program like this.
“I would have learned to express myself a lot sooner and be more comfortable with me,” she said. “Theater is a thing that every person should experience. It gives you a lot of confidence and artistic freedom.”
While Gade didn’t fully become invested into theatre until an opportunity was presented in her sophomore year, she was actually introduced to musicals by her best friend–her grandmother.
“She taught me a lot about the value of what type of person you should be,” Gade said, adding her grandmother’s artsy nature is the reason she loves to paint. “You should never question who you are.
Gade plans to use her love of theatre to honor her grandmother, who died of cancer, by completing her capstone with a musical about her.
“I don’t think she would have expected it, but I don’t think she wouldn’t be happy about it,” Gade said. “I think she’d be very touched.”
Gade says all money from the musical would go to the American Cancer Society.
The senior plans to further her career on stage by earning a Bachelor’s Degree of fine arts in musical theatre and possibly minor in English or literature with a goal of ending up in Chicago.
Gade hopes to be an actress who also teaches.