Opportunity knocked for Midyear Andrew Child '19

Andrew Child.

When Andrew Child '19 was applying to schools, it wasn't his plan to begin his college career in the spring semester. But when he was accepted in the Midyear Program at Brandeis, he quickly became determined to make the most of his unexpected semester off.

While traditional first-years were getting acclimated to college life last fall, Child was busy founding Artists from Suburbia, a local theater and arts initiative in his hometown of East Bridgewater, Mass.

"I'm so glad I did this," Child said. "Having a chance to go out on the runway, flap my wings and see what happens. It was a great transition out of high school."

The initiative began to take shape during conversations between Child and his friend Gavin Damore, who both loved theater and had several months of free time on their hands (Damore was set to start in a graduate degree program at BU in the spring). They knew many actors and artists who lived in the area, but had to travel far from home to work on their craft because of the lack of nearby options. What about a local organization that could support the arts?

"It kind of started with the two of us saying, we have a semester here, what should we do?" Child said.

Child began scouring the internet looking for funding options to support local arts projects and found his local cultural council, which offers funding for community-based arts projects. 

"We were behind in their grant cycle, but they were serendipitously looking for a project to give that money to," Child said.

After securing a grant, the next step was to find spaces for rehearsals and eventually a performance. They scoured potential options around town and eventually found a vacant office where they received permission to rehearse, along with a local function hall for their first performance. A cast of 11 participated in an adaptation of Roald Dahl's "The Witches" featuring puppets and masked actors last November.

And when Child came to Brandeis in January, Artists from Suburbia continued on. As Child immersed himself in life at Brandeis  even performing in Brandeis Theater Department's "Shoes on/Shoes off" in the spring  he was also busy producing "An Evening of Original One Act Plays" for Artists from Suburbia, which was performed June 17 at East Bridgewater Public Library.

"When we started out, it was about doing one show. We weren't sure if it would be more than that, but we kept going and we're going to keep going with it," Child said.

Child is looking into additional funding options and is looking to set up a production schedule where preparation for performances will be done during the school year, with the performances in the summer.

"We're already in the trenches, figuring out everything we want to do for next year," Child said.

Categories: Arts, Student Life

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