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Alumni Update #3: Kayla Holder

How does a PAA program continue to inspire you after it’s done?  What’s the deal with American candy bars not tasting as good anymore? These are the things you’re dying to know!  Never fear.  We’ve started asking for updates and well, let’s just say it turns out awesome people continue being awesome even after they’ve moved on from PAA.  (OK, so no one’s brought up the candy bar thing, but seriously, what’s the deal with that?)

Today’s Alum: Kayla Holder, Theater Intern in Costa Rica, ’14

What are you up to?

I am currently teaching and living in Evanston, IL at Northwestern University’s National High School Institute Theatre Arts Division, commonly known as the Cherubs Program. It is a five-week intensive program for 160 rising high school seniors interested in acting, stage management, and theatrical design. Having been a Cherub myself, in the summer of 2011, I am beyond thrilled to be one of the 10 Faculty Associates on staff. I am teaching a Movement to Music class as well as assisting in acting, voice, and movement core classes. On top of that I am assistant directing one of the ten fully produced shows presented during the final week, “The Glory of the World” written by Charles Mee. I am discovering a newfound passion for teaching and learning so much from these brilliant young artists. I am working with some of the greatest Chicago actors, Broadway directors, and renowned theatre artists. I can confidently say that I am living the dream this summer. Find out more info at:

Any performing recently?

Almost immediately after returning from Costa Rica, I was cast in Ionesco’s absurdist play entitled “The Killing Game” at The Theatre School. It was done in an environmental space, meaning that the audience was fully submerged in the action. It was interesting, to say that least!

My winter quarter brought an incredible opportunity my way when I was cast as Greta in The Theatre School’s main stage production of Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”. It was one of my most desired roles and ended up being an amazing physical theatre experience. During the spring I was cast as Cariola in The Theatre School’s next main stage production, “The Duchess of Malfi”! I also performed in a student LAB series production of “And then Came Tango,” a children’s play based on the true story of the controversy surrounding two male penguins who chose to foster an egg together at the Central Park Zoo in the 90s. It was a colorful dance show about love, acceptance, families, and equality. I also perform in TIKVAH’s Company of Artist’s traveling production of “Seven,” a theatrical dance piece inspired by the true life story of a Holocaust survivor.

Throughout this past year, I have taken aerial arts and circus fitness classes at the Actor’s Gymnasium in Evanston. I guess you can say that my work with Circo Fantazztico truly inspired me to get involved in the circus training opportunities near home!

Any Traveling?

I have not traveled much since last summer, but I am doing what it takes to save up for my next trip. Hopefully, I will be able to travel with a small group of students from school to South Africa in the winter to work with the Cornerstone Theatre whose mission is to give artists in third-world countries an opportunity to be a part of a professional theatrical production in order to hone and mature their skills. If it doesn’t happen this year, I hope to interact with them at some point in my life.

Keep up the amazing work Kayla!  It sounds like you’re continuing on a very PAA-type road.  Way to go!

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