Building Confidence Through Theater Arts

Helena Sanchez, 23, is a recent graduate from Rollins College who majored in theater
arts. Jordyn Kinard, 15, is a sophomore at The First Academy who loves acting and singing.
Both apprentices have one thing in common, they say that theater improved their confidence.

Sanchez, the oldest of four children, was homeschooled for most of her formative years.
“I was a shy kid so my mom thought theater would help me come out of my shell.”
Sanchez started out at Miami Children’s Theatre. And while she enjoyed it, performing
meant auditioning and memorizing lines. Once she started to home in on directing, she says she found her sweet spot. “The first time I got to direct it just felt right. I could take all these bits and pieces and through collaborating with the cast and crew, make it into an artistic experience.”

After further study Sanchez says immersive theater and improv began to interest her
because it invites the audience to be a part of the story. Part of the directing track, Sanchez appreciates Garden Theatre Artistic Director Joe Walsh and Education Director Nick Bazo for their continued dedication to diversity in everything the Garden Theatre does.
Next up she’ll be the apprentice director for Garden Theatre’s On Your Feet, the 2015
musical based on Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Performances debut July 8. Once her
apprenticeship ends, Sanchez has her sights set on furthering her theatrical education and/or career in England.

Kinard is a singer at heart. She has a wide voice range and has been playing guitar for
four years and singing in her school’s choir since third grade. “My aunt was big into theater. She introduced me to Broadway showtunes. I remember us driving around listening to the
soundtrack to ‘Little Women’ (with Sutton Foster as Jo Marsh). At first, I was ‘what’s this?’ It
wasn’t long before I started asking her to play it whenever I was with her.”

Ever since she was very young Kinard felt like she could best express herself with music.
Performing felt like her safe place, a place she could go to cope with life’s challenges.
“When I perform, I feel more confident in my other capabilities,” Kinard says. “It’s like if
I can do that then maybe I do this.”

Apart from the general butterflies she feels from time to time before a performance,
Kinard doesn’t suffer from shyness or anxiety in general. For her performing is a way to have fun.

“I think the energy just carries you. Some people think how can you go up there and do
that? It’s the inspiration of the words and the character and the music. That’s what I focus on, and it makes me feel less afraid.”

Having the opportunity to grow her skills with the apprenticeship at Garden Theatre has
opened new avenues of creativity for Kinard. Right now, she is working on a monologue she
and her Garden Theatre apprentice team created. And soon, she’ll be auditioning for her
school’s production of ‘The Little Mermaid”.

Aware that she is still young and has time to decide what she’ll major in for college as
well as what her career will be, Kinard is not counting theater out. “I’m so lucky to have this
apprenticeship and to be working with professional artists at the Garden Theatre. I know no
matter what I end up doing, I’m going to get a lot out of what I learn here. I already have.”
Kinard says.


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