Sarah McGuire costumed for a special Elizabethan-themed event.
Sarah McGuire and another student in SCR's 2017 Acting Intensive Program's Showcase.
Sarah McGuire wears many hats in the world of theatrical arts. She is a local acting teacher, an alumna of SCR’s Acting Intensive Program and she is making her SCR debut on the Segerstrom Stage in the cast of A Christmas Carol. She is also a student at California State University, Long Beach, where she has her sights set on earning a multiple-subject teaching credential. McGuire recently took a break from this hectic schedule to discuss her acting inspiration, teaching goals and her upcoming turn in A Christmas Carol.
What originally drew you to theatre?
My grandmother was in love with the musical The Sound of Music. Every time I would go over to her house, I would request to watch it while enjoying a Fudgsicle. My grandmother is of Austrian heritage, so it was amazing for me as a child to see how much a musical could impact a person. After that, I got my hands on as many copies of Rodgers and Hammerstein pieces as I could.
What was the moment that you knew you wanted to be an actor?
I know a lot of actors who knew this at a very young age, but I discovered I wanted to be an actor during my freshman year of college. I thought I was going to be a doctor, specifically a gastroenterologist. I began taking acting classes and realized what an amazing place the arts community is to be a part of. I fell in love with the challenge and the humanity of what it is to be an actor.
When did you first see our Christmas Carol—and what stands out in your mind about it?
When I was six years old. I remember being so enthralled by the costumes and the music. I distinctly remember being amazed by Richard Doyle’s portrayal of the Ghost of Christmas Past; he was my favorite character. After the performance, my family went out for ice cream; this happened only because my brother and I were good audience members. I have always loved what a tradition A Christmas Carol is for families here in Southern California and how the production truly captures the essence of the Christmas spirit. For me, it is very humbling to have my experience come full circle.
What was your first thought when you learned that you had been cast?
I was definitely surprised! The first thing I did was call my mom and tell her. All of my fellow students in the Acting Intensive Program were so talented and wonderful to work with, so it was an honor to be cast. I also love Christmas, so I was excited that the holiday season for me this year had just got a whole lot better.
Tell us your thoughts about joining an iconic production.
I performed on the Julianne Argyros Stage with the Acting Intensive Program over the summer and I am really excited to step foot on the Segerstrom Stage. Learning from the actors who teach in the Acting Intensive Program was great, so it’s special to have the opportunity now to share the stage with them. For me, it’s an honor to join the legacy that is A Christmas Carol here at SCR. I have admired what South Coast Repertory stands for and it has always been a dream of mine to perform here, so I am very grateful to be part of this amazing cast.
How did your training in Acting Intensive Program help prepare you?
It was an amazing experience in how much I learned about myself and the craft as well as meeting amazing artists. Studying under SCR’s greats was a blast! It was definitely one of the best decisions I have made in continuing my education as an actor and it was a great way to connect with our artistic community in Orange County.
How does this help you as an acting teacher?
Opportunities to perform are so beneficial to me as a teacher. In fact, several of my students have been past cast members of the Cratchit family, so it has been a great way to relate to my students and encourage them to go see and be a part of professional theatre. With teaching the arts, you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. If I am not growing as an actor, I can’t grow as an educator. I am currently a faculty member in the Musical Theatre Conservatory at the Orange County School of the Arts. A lot of my students are also students of SCR’s Theatre Conservatory. As an educator, my goals are always to use art to help create a better sense of self in my students. I want them to grow in empathy, creativity and honesty; all the qualities that make an artist great. If anything, I want to instill a lifelong love of the arts in my students
What are you looking forward to in this year’s production of A Christmas Carol?
I am really excited to be part of a show that has such a legacy. Since the show has been produced for nearly 40 years, everything is fine-tuned and specific. I love being a new member of an established cast—it’s like jumping on a moving train, so it’s exhilarating! I love working with child actors. I have a background in musical theatre, so I love that we get to sing and dance in the show! Audiences can expect the warm holiday spirit they have come to know and love. Whether you have seen the show for years or this is your first time in the audience, there is always something heartfelt and new you can take away from the experience. I am so looking forward to sharing the holiday spirit with our patrons.
Learn more and purchase tickets to A Christmas Carol.