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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Youth Spotlight: Taking the Stage at Theatre Bristol

Isabella Valente, Aubrey Sobczak and Matthew Torbett

By Dottie Havlik | October 29, 2007

Three of the cast members of Theatre Bristol's recent production of Schoolhouse Rock Live! took a few minutes between school performances to talk to A! Magazine.

At St. Anne's School in Bristol, Va., Isabella Valente is a fifth grader and Aubrey Sobczak is a fourth grader. Matthew Torbett is a fourth grader at Blountville Elementary School.

A! Magazine: How did you decide you wanted to be in a show?

Isabella: I went to theatre camp, and I thought it was just one of the most fun things I had ever done, so.I decided to try out (audition).

Aubrey: I've been in 11 shows at Theatre Bristol. I started when I was three in The Wizard of Oz. Before I was even three, I would perform for my grandma, so when my brother Josh decided to try out, I thought, "Okay, I'll try out, too," to see if I liked it. Well, I loved it!

Matthew: I used to put on plays in my room, and brought my mom and dad in to see them. I auditioned for The Sound of Music, but I didn't make it. I thought it was really fun, so I tried out for this play, and I made it. That's pretty good!

A!: What's the best part about being in a show?

Isabella: Being with all my friends, and making new friends.

Aubrey: Being able to perform in front of other people, and letting them see the talent that I have.

Matthew: Performing is really fun.

A!: What's the hardest part?

Isabella: I'd honestly have to say, sometimes learning your lines.

Aubrey: Probably learning the lines and learning to interact with other people. If there's somebody that you don't really care for that much ? learning to get along with them.

Matthew: I'd say learning the lyrics to the songs.

A!: In Schoolhouse Rock you had to dance. Was that hard?

Isabella: It might be hard, depending on what kind of dance it is. One kind of dance may be hard for one person and not for another.

Aubrey: For other people, it might be harder, but for me it isn't because I've taken dance lessons since I was three.

Matthew: It's pretty easy because I dance a lot at home.

A!: Do you want a career in the theatre, or is this just a hobby?

Isabella: I don't really know because this is my first play. I am really liking it, but I'm not sure if this is what I'd like to do when I grow up. I'd like to do another play here ? I might try out for Seussical the Musical in the spring.

Aubrey: I'm pretty sure that acting is something I'm going to do when I grow up. It's so much fun to be in a play and have all those people watch you and be proud of you.

Matthew: I will try out for more plays, and I think I might be able to do it as a career when I grow up.

A!: Is it hard to audition?

Isabella: Yes. This was my first play, and I was very shy.

Aubrey: It still does make me nervous, especially if there's nobody that I know. If there are friends around me, I don't get as nervous, but I'm still nervous.

Matthew: No! I was very upright. [sic]

A!: Anything else you want people to know about the theatre?

Aubrey: If you really want to try out for a play, don't hold yourself back. You might decide you really like it.

Matthew: Theatre Bristol is a fun place to be, so I recommend that every time you get a chance, you try out for a play.


Editor's Note: Dottie Havlik is Vice President of the Board of Directors of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire (AAME) and chair of AAME's Arts for Youth Committee

From left, Isabella Valente, Matthew Torbett and Aubrey Sobczak.