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How ETC Changed My Life (Pt. 2)

Once I aged out of camps late in high school, I came back to ETC and discovered I had a passion for teaching. I had an incredible experience being trained by the same artists who had been teaching me for years, and the opportunity to give back to kids in camps and programs that I had spent years growing up in has been a uniquely special experience. ETC helped foster my growth as an artist and performer when I was younger and continues to help me grow as an arts administrator and teaching artist.

The close attention and mentoring I received from teaching artists at ETC camps was instrumental in the artistic opportunities I’ve been able to take advantage of later in life. When I started taking directing courses in my university’s drama department, I was shocked to hear that very few of my peers had had any opportunity to direct before.

ETC camps gave me the opportunity to start building those skills in middle school, continue as a high schooler, and to eventually direct with the company professionally as a college student.

Directing is also only the slice of the theatre world that grabbed me in ETC programs. I’ve seen other former campers take that early mentoring from ETC’s teaching artists in the drama forms they’re passionate about and turn it into incredible artistic accomplishments later in life.

I’m keeping busy with theatre at UVA, but my ETC connection is still going strong! ETC has provided me with incredible opportunities to remain employed and continue growing as an artist and teacher throughout the pandemic, This summer I got to co-direct the Summer Classic performance for the third time with a fellow camp alumnus and one of my best friends, Jamie Kang, while also working with the Artistic Directors who taught me when I was a camper, Sasha Olinick and Mary Myers.

I got to continue growing as a teacher as well this summer when I got to work as a Camp Director for the first time at Camp Comedy and Acting Out. I’ve continued to work for the company long-distance from Charlottesville as an Administrative Assistant in our camp “off-season” and I look forward to teaching again soon. ETC has provided me endless opportunities to grow as a person, artist, and professional for the past 13 years, and I can’t wait to see where my journey with the company takes me next!

-Max Tankersley


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