This piece is part of our Performing Arts Guide in the September 2022 print issue of District Fray. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
District Fray: What did theatre offer in your younger years?
Graciela Rey: When I was young, I had a very imaginative inner life. I felt like the world around me didn’t understand — I was too much. When I saw my first musical, I was amazed to see something that felt as rich, vivid and full as my world did. I remember thinking: That’s it, that’s me, that’s what I want to do.
Why are the performing arts crucial for young people?
Theatre gives students a way to understand themselves and their world and communicate that understanding; it is receptive and expressive. It provides an insightful lens to examine our history as a people and nation and can remind us we are made to do more than just produce and consume. It is as magical, provocative and flawed as we as humans have always been. Through performance, students begin to consider others along with their environment, and begin to consider their place within it, the agency they have in their own lives and the effect their actions have on others. It gives them the ability to imagine a better world and then create it.