My second network experience happened earlier this semester when the group of the Into the Woods cast traveled up to South Carolina to participate in KCACTF. When preparing of the trip, I definitely mapped out which workshops I wanted to attend and polished off my package for the Irene Ryan competition. My whole mindset for this trip was to have fun and to not stress on whether or not I make it through to the next round of the Ryans. This was the first and last festival that I would participate in over the course of my 4 years at Jacksonville University so I wanted to experience as much as possible before I was tossed out into the real world.
The first big event to happen was the first round of the Irene Ryan competition. We were assigned to flights (or groups of people) and we would go in one group at a time to perform in front of the adjudicators. My flight was around 10 am but for a better flow of the competition, the people running the process told us to arrive an hour earlier. My partner, Axel Barry, and I both were excited and just wanted to have fun. We didn’t really put a lot of pressure on to it because even if we didn’t make it to the next round, we still had the rest of the weekend to participate in the festival. I think it was great to have Axel with me because he’s the type of person who can talk to anyone. He also helped me to become more comfortable in these social situations. We were able to converse with the group that followed us in our flight. We talked about theatre and about the festival which helped us all fight off what nerves we had.
Later on that evening, I found out that I was lucky enough to make the cut from 180 competitors to 40. This also meant that I had to perform the next day in the semi-finals which would be performed in front of judges and also an open audience. When it came time for the next round, Axel and I had another chance to talk to a new group of talented people as we were waiting. This group was amazingly talented people were super nice and welcoming. I connected with a few of them over social media and we even talked about future auditions we were going to. When it came time for the competition part, we were all very supportive of each other backstage. It was awesome to watch some live theatre from the wings and feel supported by the others backstage even though I was competing against them.
Even though I wasn’t able to make it through to the next huge cut, I still made the most of my time in South Carolina. I ended up going to an audition for a highly regarded Broadway choreographer and was able to make a great impression on him plus receive some positive feedback. I also made a ton of friends through this experience and still have a social media connection with a ton of them. I really believe that KCACTF was a great experience for me to get out of my box and network with people. I think I’ll be better suited to network without the help of other friends net time. I feel as though auditions and musical theatre events are better suited for me to network out but it totally make sense. I feel like if I become more confident in networking in these types of environments, I can always transfer that confidence to other non-related events.