Special to the Record
The Rainbow Youth Theatre summer season is off to a riotous start with its production of How To Eat Like a Child, directed by Katie Clarkson with music direction by Erin Humphry.
Though new to direction, Clarkson has worked with RYT every summer since she was six years old, either on-stage or back-stage.
“My first role was in How To Eat Like a Child, the same play I’m directing now,” Clarkson said. “What’s great about the play is that every child has a speaking part, even the youngest, least familiar with acting, and every child sings. There’s no leading roles. Everyone’s a star.”
Aside from musical theatre, Clarkson has her own business, Clarkson Photography.
“I take portraits and family photos and I’ve done a few weddings.”
What she sees herself doing in a few years, though, is photographing the big names in music.
“I love being around performers, especially musicians.”
Humphry also cut her musical theatre teeth with RYT in The Sound of Music as one of the Von Trapp children, Marta. She loves that the young actors in How To Eat Like a Child are able to follow her direction as they sing the three-part harmony many of the songs in the play require.
Humphry intends to follow her musical theatre dream by attending the Randolph Academy of Performing Arts in Toronto beginning this fall.
Eventually, she’d like to live in London, England, performing in musical theatre productions.
“Or, I like teaching kids, too, so – who knows – I’d be happy sharing my love of music and theatre with them,” she said.
Both eager, young directors rely as much as needed – but as little as possible – on Katie’s older sister, Joey Clarkson, a local gifted songwriter and performer, serving as director mentor for How To Eat Like a Child.
The elder Clarkson’s background in musical theatre is experiential rather than formal.
The same is true for her ability to manage young children, which she has mastered through sponsoring a series of musical theatre workshops for children and young adults close to home in the Valley, as well as in far flung destinations such as Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“I’ve learned to set high expectations of even the youngest performers,” said Joey. “That way, they try harder and excel more quickly.”
A simple tip, but one that both Katie and Erin value.
How To Eat Like a Child plays at Mark Isfeld school from Aug. 7-10. Tickets ($10) are on sale at Laughing Oyster Bookstore in Courtenay, Red Carpet Consignment in Comox, at Mark Isfeld school from noon to 4 Monday through Friday and up to one hour prior to each show.
Times are 7 p.m. Aug. 7, 8 and 9.
There is a 2 p.m. matinee on Aug. 9 and the Aug. 10 time is 4 p.m.