Through the Magic of Theatre and Fun, Katie Martin is Building Kids Confidence
Nurturing creativity and confidence worthy of the SPOTLIGHT! That’s what local business owner and theatre teacher Katie Martin is showing her students at Spotlight Acting Academy in Katy Texas.
How did you get started in theatre and acting?
I have been involved in theatre since I was five years old. I remember learning my lines from cassette tapes (remember those fossils!) because I couldn’t read yet. Theatre has been a constant part of my life, and is something I am so passionate about. I started teaching High School theatre and then as my family grew, chose to stay home with my girls, but missed directing and teaching so worked for after school programs part time. I found that Katy really had a need for a strong theatre program that not only taught kids the skill sets necessary to be successful in the field, but that also built them up and gave them the opportunity to gain confidence as a performer.
What are some of the obstacles/challenges you’ve faced?
There were certainly many challenges in the first years. Starting any business is not easy! We started in a warehouse and would rent out our performance space come showtime. There were certainly challenges with that, a space that wasn’t very impressive sometimes distracted some clients from the theatre magic that was happening inside! Also, taking shows on the road is a huge challenge, especially when working with kids, but it gave them the opportunity to adjust quickly and think on their toes, which is a good lesson in theatre. There are also the budget challenges when you are starting up, such as how to get the word out when you can’t afford any advertising. We relied on social media and word of mouth, and eventually the word did get out! But it was certainly hard to wait for that to happen organically at times.
Tell us all about Spotlight Acting Academy!
We specialize in teaching children theatre. Our students get solid instruction in forms of theatrical performance; acting, dance and voice. We offer a variety of classes and workshops to young actors ages 3 – 18 and are looking to add an adult program in the not too distant future. We have a business model that sets us apart from most theatre programs. A lot of theatre programs tend to over enroll their classes and go over what the cast size of the production really allows for. At Spotlight, we go on a wait list as soon as the class reaches the number that the production calls for. Our ensemble actors are double cast, so they get plenty of stage time, and there’s no kids playing trees and lingering upstage with nothing to do! Also, we have a small number of instructors at Spotlight, and all are working in the field. This way, kids receive instruction in what is current to the times and what is fresh. Also, because there are few instructors, we know our students and we are able to work with the closely and make sure each individual is on the best improvement track. Also, most theatres are non-profit. We are not, while this means no grants, it guarantees that this important business model will never change.
What are some key elements or qualities that make you different from other theatre schools?
Simply, being passionate about theatre and passing that passion on to my students. When working in the Arts, you really have to love the art. I feel like once it becomes about anything else (like making money or being famous) then you won’t be successful. Actors need to be passionate about the theatre and their performances, and everything else will fall in line when they are.
Who would love to attend your classes?
My ideal customers are families in the Fort Bend area with children who are interested in theatre.
What future plans do you see for Spotlight Acting Academy?
I honestly cannot wait for some of the kids we have been training to grow out of the program. Not that I want to see them go, that will be hard, but I want to see them succeed in the business. I am looking forward to that Broadway backstage tour! Our kids have the talent to do anything they want to do. I look forward to working with more students over the years and more amazing productions, and hope by then we will have some new curtains!
Connect with Katie
Spotlight Acting Academy
22758 Westheimer Parkway, Suite 220