By CAMERON KILFOY
Special to The Appalachian
BAY ST. GEORGE – One performing arts studio is helping to educate and keep musical theatre alive in Bay St. George. Nomad Stages was founded by LouAnn Davis, a primary/elementary school teacher with a natural aptitude for direction and a love for putting off a show.
“I started by doing productions at my school,” said Davis. “When it was time to do a concert, I always tried to make it more of an experience than a typical school concert.”
Davis taught at St. Michaels Elementary school when she held her first production of Annie in November of 2017. The cast consisted of children from grades K-8.
After her first production Davis found herself back in Stephenville. At this time, Davis was not teaching. She found herself longing for more, and desired to get back to what she loved. In Nov. 2018, that Davis decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I found when I wasn’t working I missed that aspect of it the most – doing productions. I started a drama club for the kids in the area and it piqued interest. After directing The Lion King I knew that I wanted to keep going,” said Davis.
She still considers that to be the very first Nomad Production. That moment sparked something for Davis.
Starting a theatre company was what she wanted but she also wanted it to be different, to offer a real learning experience to the people involved.
“I personally have no theatre or acting backgrounds,” said Davis. “However, I do have a Masters of Education and a Bachelor of Music Therapy. My experience is through doing my own productions. I wanted to lend my hand in educating students on music. That’s why I decided to include the educational programs.”
Davis says that having these programs are beneficial to her performers because it only furthers their background in theatre arts.
Wanting to ensure everything was well-rounded, Davis put together a team of experienced performers to help see out her vision. The help from her staff now allows her to educate her students in dance, voice, piano, musical theatre, art and so much more.
“My team is the reason we are able to do what we do. It is because of them I can offer as many programs as I do,” said Davis.
With the programs Davis has set in place, the studio is educating the performers and getting them prepared for each production. This is a mutual goal that everybody works toward and so far the Nomad Stages have been successful in producing six different productions.
“As many times as we have done it, it never gets old,” said Davis. “Seeing everything come to life on opening night is special.”
Davis doesn’t plan on slowing down either. She is already preparing for her next two musicals this Fall and Spring.
Typically, for her productions she works with children. For her spring rendition, however, she plans to step outside her comfort zone and take on an adult production of Mama Mia.
“It will be a new experience for sure but with the help from my team I am sure it can come together,” said Davis.
Something that was merely once a dream to her had become Davis’ reality. Her hard work and dedication paid off and she created a space for others to express themselves. This is what brings her the most joy about her fully bloomed vision.
“Seeing my students and performers grow throughout the process is my favourite part,” said Davis. “It is an amazing feeling to watch them progress show after show after show. It’s special because these kids have a bright future in performing, and giving them the outlet to work on that is accomplishment enough for me.”
Davis plans to continue helping performers blossom to their full potential through the education of theatre arts.