Every child who shows the desire to be a performer or assist with stage craft should be given the opportunity.
Is to enable children through our volunteers, directors and assistants to: learn, perform and control a theatre production.
To show children that they are capable of anything they are willing to do the work for.
Is strong, capable and confident children who will take this theatre arts experience into their adult lives.
"I am frequently asked why I run a theatre.
Why would a single parent and full time registered nurse donate
so much time to a volunteer project? The answer is quite simple:
Theatre changed my life when I was a teenager.
I am so proud to know that my program is changing the lives
of kids in our community."
-Michelle Leigh Director & Founder
chorus and found over the weeks that followed that theatre opened a world to me that I didn’t know could exist. I literally found my voice – which lead to confidence, strength and facing fears of a world that seemed so much bigger than myself.
Over the next 10 years I continued in theatre through college and into the professional world around the Hollywood area. I truly felt I had found my niche and loved every moment of it. In 1994 I made the decision to be a mom and come back to Oregon with my then spouse as he wished to return to college in our home state. Five years later I graduated from Nursing school and stepped into a new career that I found I was as equally passionate about as the theatre – I knew my skill in nursing was in great thanks to the skills I had learned from the theatre and I knew I would be forever grateful for what I had been given and hoped that one day I could give back. The day to give back came in a most unexpected way.
Theatre came into my life when I was 14 years old. I was a shy, quiet & content wall flower who worked to not be noticed. When I found I had the overwhelming desire to audition for the spring musical in the brand new HS after our family moved to Oregon I was as shocked as my parents at the pronouncement. I was cast in the
When my oldest daughter (now my Artistic Director & Choreographer) was five years old when I signed her up for her first Drama camp – in one week they rehearsed and performed a stage production. By the time she was nine she had performed in eight of these camps. One night when I was working at the hospital my daughter discovered my memory box in the garage labeled “theatre – mom” She opened it and found that “mom the nurse” had a secret past that she didn't know about. She asked me about the programs, videos, mementos and posters she found. She asked what I did, where I did it and then, the biggest question of all, she asked if I would direct a show she could be in.
At the time she asked my reaction was, "No." The financial part of putting a show together was overwhelming to think about – how could I do it? Two nights later I had the most vivid dream that showed me how – I wanted to know if the community had a need for a program like this and decided it was worth a try.
What started out as a onetime thing – has led to a theatre with now, a ten year and 25 production history under its belt! I will be forever grateful for the innocence of a child making a request that seemed impossible. Having been a nurse for now fifteen years and running a children’s theatre that has had to date over 1, 400 participants: performers, crew members, volunteers and assistants, I'm still going strong. I had hoped one day I could give back to that which gave me so much – I am so proud of the way that has come about. People ask me all the time – how do you find the time with your schedule. I realize when I see the children and families whose lives are made better due to access to a program such as OCCT – it isn’t about finding or making time. It’s about something much more – and recognizing that time is the least I can give