Conservatory Student Shines On Stage and in Marketing Work

Tania Thompson
 | Apr 25, 2017

Artist Grace Tomblin Marca, conservatory student, creating show art for Teen Players production.


Artwork in process.


Grace creating show art.

Grace Tomblin Marca is wearing a few more hats for the spring Teen Players production. In addition to being an actor, she also has designed the artwork used to market the show.

Now a junior at the Waldorf School of Orange County High School, Grace started classes in SCR’s Theatre Conservatory as an eighth-grader. Over the next few years, she progressed through the teen acting program, adding classes such as musical theatre. For the past two years, she has been a member of the Teen Players, a performance ensemble whose members have been chosen by audition after at least two years in the Theatre Conservatory’s year-round actor training program.

“Being a part of the Teen Players is absolutely incredible,” Grace says, adding that she loves every minute of it. “We are very close-knit and the friendship of these people really means a lot to me.”

“Grace is such a talented visual artist, I was really excited to give her the opportunity to speak for both the story and for the ensemble through her art,” says Takakuwa. “ She was so wonderfully positive about the entire experience, constructively taking input, offering strong and confident ideas.  I’m thrilled for and proud of her!  She really found a strong and evocative image and mood to convey both what the show is about and our approach to it.”

The next Teen Players production is Mary Zimmerman’s The Secret in the Wings (May 13-21, 2017, Nicholas Studio). It’s the story of Jamie, who—on a dark and stormy evening—is left in the care of her neighbor. But is Mr. Ficcadenti just an unusual man with a tale to tell or an actual ogre with a tail, as Jamie fears? This highly theatrical exploration of lesser known and darker folk tales examines the timeless themes of family, love, transformation and redemption. Jamie learns the powerful possibility of “Once Upon a Time”…and that not every person—or story—is exactly as it may first appear.

“It’s a strong ensemble piece,” Grace explains. “And Conservatory Director Hisa Takakuwa has done a wonderful job of utilizing each of the players' individual talents and gifts.”

Grace brings an additional artistry to the production—painting—because she created the show art that helps to market the play. In this Q&A, she talks about creating the art, working in the show and learning at SCR.

Tell us about the art work you created for The Secret in the Wings.

The painting I created is acrylic on paper. When Hisa [Takakuwa] asked me to do the postcard image, I was so excited I did a happy dance​! I started by drawing every idea that popped into my head. I had a few meetings with Hisa and Ben Horak, SCR’s associate graphic designer, and we decided on an image concept and color scheme. The idea behind the image was to use two objects, the rose and the chair, which are used in the play by the characters of Jamie and Mr. Ficcadenti. The rose growing out of the chair represents the love and compassion that prevails even in the rough circumstances that many of the characters find themselves in. The play is set in a basement that doubles as a forest, so the tree and the light bulb are there to allude to that notion. The feathers strewn around the chair are the feathers of the Seven Swans, which represent personal growth and evolution, which is another theme of the play.

What have you enjoyed most about being in Players productions?

​We have a chance to apply what we are learning in class to a show that is treated like a professional production. The shows test our skills and our stamina, and we learn what it's like to work in a production with professionals who are truly top notch.  As for our production of The Secret in the Wings, it is a strong ensemble piece and Hisa has done a wonderful job of utilizing each of the players' individual talents and gifts. 

What’s the best thing about acting classes at SCR?

There are so many things I enjoy but, most of all, I love the sense of trust that each person brings. Acting can be intimidating and scary, as I am constantly trying to expand my comfort zone. The environment at SCR is one of total safety, and it allows me to take bigger risks and be more creative without worrying about being perfect all the time. 

How have the acting classes helped you most?

I am very comfortable with public speaking now and my writing has greatly improved from studying words and learning why and how words are spoken. I also find that I am more confident and outgoing than I used to be, and I credit that to SCR. 

What’s the best part of SCR’s Theatre Conservatory?

Being able to work with all the talented and wonderful people here is the thing I find most fun. The level of talent is so high, that every day I am more impressed and inspired. I really enjoy the collaboration and teamwork that happens at every rehearsal—whether it's figuring out five ways to show flight or huddling around a piano and creating harmonies we could use in our songs, there is nothing lonely about this process and I love that. 

Find out more about acting classes for kids and teens at SCR.
Find out about the 2017 Summer Acting Workshop.
Learn more about The Secret in the Wings and buy tickets.