Graduating Seniors Take the Next Step

Beth Fhaner
 | May 18, 2017

​Katherine as Belle in the Summer Players production of Beauty and the Beast.


​Katherine Parrish, Nick Trafton, Ella Webb, Shane Iverson, Joshua Myran and Kelsey Bray in the Summer Players production of Mary Poppins.

Meet Katherine Parrish

This season, five graduating seniors are included among South Coast Repertory’s most advanced teen students (the Teen Players and the Teen Ensemble acting class). All of these students got their start in the Summer Acting Workshop and have continued to participate in SCR acting classes throughout the last several years.

In this mini-blog series, we’re introducing all of this year’s graduating seniors. Here, meet Katherine Parrish, who is currently a student in the Teen Players and Advanced Musical Theatre. She started in a Summer Musical Theatre class after her school director encouraged her to take classes at SCR when she was in seventh grade.

What are some of the highlights from your acting classes?

I loved playing all the strange acting, ensemble and trust-building games like Hunter Hunted and Zip Zap Zop, among countless others. They felt refreshingly random and ye they taught me a lot about being a team player and throwing my whole self into anything, no matter how weird or irrelevant the games seemed. In the end, that’s really what doing theatre entails—throwing yourself in, even if you're not entirely sure why yet. 

What have you enjoyed most about being in Players productions?

Making friends with so many wonderful people in each show. Not only do I learn from my teachers every day, but I also learn from observing and watching my peers work. I've developed relationships with older students who have become role models in my life, I've grown close with friends going through it all with me and I've connected with younger students who have grown to become like brothers and sisters. I wouldn't trade these relationships for the world. 

What are some of the skills you’ve developed?

The first thing I learned is that acting is a lot more than just learning your lines. I had never really thought about the idea of character work, being organic onstage, truly listening to my scene partners, instilling every word I say and every action I take with meaning and intention, and letting my heart open up to others. Acting suddenly became a lot more work than I had ever realized. 

Over the past year or two, I've come to learn that while doing that work is crucial, it's also important to let it all go once I go onstage and remember why we, as humans, started creating theatre in the first place—to tell stories and to play. It's as simple as that. Once we've rehearsed enough and done all of our acting work, when we step onstage, all we need to do is is tell stories and play. 

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

The teachers at SCR are particularly special in that they really deeply care about each of their students individually and as ensembles. [Conservatory Director] Hisa Takakuwa takes the extra time to make sure that she truly knows her students and that she knows what she needs to do to challenge them, get them to take risks, trust one another and trust themselves. You can tell that Hisa and all the other SCR faculty went into this career because they care tremendously about nurturing the next generations of artists. 

Do you plan to go to college?

Yes. I'll be studying ​musical ​theatre at Manhattan School of Music​.

How have the Conservatory classes prepared you for this next step?

I’ve learned a lot about how to work professionally within a rehearsal environment. I’ve learned loads about how to manage my time effectively between schoolwork, SCR and other extracurricular activities. But, most importantly, I’ve learned a lot about myself through the extraordinary guidance and cultivating environment provided at SCR. And beginning the journey of getting to know yourself is crucial before heading off to college. 

Learn more about acting classes for kids and teens.