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Theater Class is a Breath of Joy

Desmond Tsosie

Confidence, it takes a long and difficult journey to discover. Through the weaves of rejection and humiliation life offers you, it can be a concept that is lost to many. Joy Kilpatrick brings confidence to life in her 7th period theater class. Though the confidence and creativity erupting throughout the air of this small classroom creates a feeling, a movement of inspiration.

A class consisting of only 9 students creates such a beautiful noise, a choir of millions made from only a few young individuals just trying to get through high school. Entering this classroom with nothing too special to offer, only chairs and a projector, it suddenly transforms into an atmospheric heaven, projecting confidence and motivation through this small circle of students, giving that wonderful feeling of pressure on your lungs at a concert, the butterflies in your stomach when you speak to someone you’re interested in, the chills on your back when you rewatch that impactful scene in your favorite movie! These 9 students have shown bravery, interest, and passion in their show that premiered on May 15th “this is me”

Luca McCallum

Za Barrett

Gabriella Cowan

Nizhoni Benally

Zoe Rich

Riley Woodford

Sam Brocker

Starr Reeves


“I am feeling excited for the students. It's definitely been a process and they are rising up to meet the challenge of creating their own Cabaret.” Joy Kilpatrik states.

Joy Kilpatrick a theater teacher who has been working at Durango's Shared School for 10 years, at AHS for 4, Teaching at Summer Camps at the Durango Arts Center for the past 10 years, and now teaching Yoga for an accomplishing and surprising 20 years, training under various acting teachers and coaches with a variety of styles. Joy shows students at AHS how to find their creative voice by giving freedom amongst students to create their own cabaret that was presented on May 15th.

“I strive to guide the players into the moment by becoming more embodied. I engage different techniques, exercises, and games to help get us there and a lot of times that depends on what's alive for the players when they enter the classroom.” Joy says

This cabaret was briefly presented in front of the AHS students and faculty for a Nest Meeting dedicated to AHS Juniors leaving for LINK Internships, an outstanding presentation of what the students have been working on was also presented on Joy’s Instagram account for the public to view.

“A cabaret is a form of theatrical entertainment featuring music, dance, monologues, drama" or a combination of them all, which is true for us. The AHS Osprey players have been writing their own material while collaborating with existing material to construct a captivating story that connects all of their acts together. It will be interesting to know if the audience catches onto the storyline and in the process is entertained by these talented actors.” Joy says with enthusiasm.

Students were excited for the cabaret as well showing their growth through creative expression and confidence. All of the students have shown a love for what they are trying to express through art, a group of artists coming together to create a beautiful once in a lifetime moment / experience.

“I like how everyone in the group had great energy, we all love each other, It really helps with the end product. Before this class, this show didn't exist. Now after bashing heads and debating amongst each other we developed an end product that is beautiful, we are creating beautiful work from nothing, which is amazing.” Luca McCallum encourages

Things are coming together in this class, quickly and proficiently. And it's a spectacular sight to see students coming together to create a product that is truly remarkable.

“I'm enjoying it so far, you make great connections, if you want to get into theater or acting of any kind this is definitely the class for you!” Starr Reeves states

A lot of motivation flows in this class and out through their voices and acting, this cabaret was something you needed to see, a beautiful art piece created by a group of artistic, creative, outstanding individuals. A piece of art you can only watch a few times in your life. This class is a home to many, a place to find yourselves and find your creative direction.

“I truly feel Live Theatre has a unique importance, like most art forms, in our modern culture. It helps encourage new and diverse voices and helps us to experience different perspectives from our own. It can also remind us that we are not alone in this human journey and therefore has the potential to connect us to one another. In our current fast-paced world of social media, technology, and screens, Live Theatre invites us to slow down so that we can bear witness to old and new stories while being fully present with other living, breathing people. I imagine this to be nourishing for the human spirit.“ Joy adds.


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