From deciding the programs to producing the YouTheatre productions, Jamie Wilcox came out from behind the scenes long enough to chat with us about her love of theatre and the amazing work she is doing at the Egyptian Theatre.

How did you find yourself in children’s theatre?
I attended the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah and started teaching at Youth Theatre at the U while I was there. I stayed on with YTU for several years and eventually that led me to a summer satellite program at the Egyptian Theatre just before I was leaving for London to get my MA in Applied Theatre (theatre in the community and theatre in education) at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. When I returned back to the states the Egyptian was looking for a full-time Director of YouTheatre. I knew it was the perfect role for me, and almost eight years later the feeling remains.

What’s your favorite part about working with kids at YouTheatre?
It’s amazing to witness the transformative process that happens in theatre as children gain new life experiences and self-confidence. By acting out different roles and characters, they develop empathy for other people and become more open-minded at a younger age. If we could try to relate to others the way these children do with their characters, it would make for a better world.

Why is theatre important to you?
I love the way it tackles big issues in a way that is very approachable for the audience. I think theatre evokes compassion. It lets an audience see a story from a different point of view and come to a new way of seeing things.

Can you tell us a time your work in theatre really touched you?
I had the proudest moment of my career this past summer. I commissioned and produced a play called The Night Witches by Rachel Bublitz—inspired by the young Soviet women who dropped bombs on the Nazis in World War II in the night, using run-down planes. I had known many of the cast of nine teenage girls as participants in our program since they were young. It was amazing to watch them on stage play these strong female characters. Even though I knew the story, I still found myself at the edge of my seat, along with the entire audience, waiting to see what would happen next.

When you’re not working at the theatre, what takes center stage in your life?
I have a gorgeous, smart, funny 14-year-old daughter Aidan, who takes up the other half of my time, energy, love and heart.
She is my life.

by Amber Qalagari