It seems I'm travelling in circles.

I'm back at Epoch Arts less than 24 hours after leaving homeschool co-op. Teenagers abound, playing guitar, playing with the resident baby, listening to music, talking about myriad things. Two words propel these teens from whatever they're doing into the theater. Circle up! Mainstage has begun.

As I sit, looking into the faces of these youth, I'm struck by their love for this place. One is crying with joy upon returning after three months away. Another cannot contain her enthusiasm about being a part of the "mainstage family." 

Auditions are today, and Haley, 13, has never auditioned at Epoch before. They need to pick two parts they'd love to play and read them in front of the director, stage manager, and a few others. I'm impressed with Haley's excitement and confidence. Grinning from ear to ear, she exits the audition room and responds to my inquiry as to how her audition went with a great big "great!" 

As auditions go on ... and on... and on... I make my way from room to room, making sure everyone is being kind to each other, cleaning up after themselves, and not getting too crazy. It's an easy job, as the atmosphere has mellowed little by little as auditions are done and children can now relax.

Time to go, I peek my head into the office to hand in a piece of paperwork forgotten by one of the teens. I learn quickly that Haley did indeed rock her audition, and they are super excited to have her ... well ... that will have to wait. I'm not allowed to say any more until after Mainstage next Saturday, when parts are handed out and the long-anticipated first read-through of the script happens. 

Today, I am grateful for a self-confident teen who follows her passions; for a great bunch of teens who know that Epoch is a place where they can be themselves; for the hugs that I got to witness today - teens welcoming back others they hadn't seen in a while; teens rushing to hug Beth and Omar just because they love them and are loved by them; and for coming home to a delicious dinner prepared by my husband, who I haven't seen nearly enough of today.


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