How ETC Changed My Life (Pt. 1)

Hi all! My name is Max Tankersley and I am an Administrative Assistant and Teaching artist for ETC! I’m a Third Year majoring in Drama and Psychology at the University of Virginia continuing to work for ETC while I pursue my degree. Down in Charlottesville, I am the President of Shakespeare on the Lawn and am studying as a Miller Arts Scholar while directing and acting in student theatre at the university. I’ve been involved with Educational Theatre Company for over 13 years now, and I’m so excited to kick the New Year off by sharing my journey with ETC here on the blog!

My first experience with ETC was as an eight-year-old second-grader in a production of Shakin’ Up Shakespeare at McKinley Elementary in 2008. Working with ETC Teaching Artists at such a young age opened a thousand doors for me, teaching me how to collaborate with others, speak with confidence, and the value of throwing oneself into art that you’re passionate about. I was a pretty shy, quiet kid before I got onstage for the first time, and I credit the years I spent in ETC Summer Camps and school residencies with unlocking something pretty much indescribable within me that allowed me to find my voice as a person both on and offstage.

I continued attending ETC programs every single summer after that first show. I fell in love with Shakespeare in particular, and the weeks I got to spend at the Summer Classic performing in a new Shakespeare play every summer were my favorite time of year. I attended Camp Comedy for several years as well, where I got to experience all the facets of the filmmaking process for the first time.

I got a rigorous education in acting and directing and didn’t even realize it until after the fact because I was busy having far too much fun.

What kept me going back over and over though were the close relationships I got to form with both the other campers and the teaching artists, many of whom I’m still very close with today.


To be continued...