Growing up can be a scary thing. One of the most revered ages is eighteen. Turning eighteen marks a whole new chapter in someone’s life; suddenly, you’re thrust into the world of college, living on your own, and adulthood. It can be a very nerve-wracking process. At Hedgerow Theatre School, turning 18 is a feat within itself. You’re the oldest age you can be to take children’s theatre classes, but adult classes are also available to you as well. You’re even more of a mentor to the little ones, who, now that you’re a legal adult, are relying on you even more. You’ve delved into the world of being a young adult, a strong, powerful group around Hedgerow. It’s exciting, but it can be very daunting as well. This week, I (Gabby) have interviewed the first three Hedgerow Theatre School teens to turn eighteen: long-time Hedgerow veteran Talen Draper and twins Moira and Caitlyn McKniff. In my interview, I asked them what it’s like to be eighteen, and what it means to them to be eighteen around Hedgerow.
How does it feel to finally be 18? I feel like 18 is such a defining age in one’s life (you’re finally an adult), does it feel like you’re starting a whole new chapter?
Caitlyn: I’ve only been 18 for about a month now and it’s great that I can finally tell people that I’m no longer a child. But it’s weird to think that I can sign my own permission slips or vote in the next election.
Moira: 18 feels great!! I feel like I’m definitely turning a new page in my life and I’m so excited to see what it has in store.
Talen: I do feel like I’m starting a new chapter in my life, when I turned 18 I felt like I had a clean slate waiting for me to write a new book.
Favorite part of being 18?
Caitlyn: I don’t really have one, I’ve only been 18 for like a month.
Talen: Hmm this is hard.. I would have to say being able to vote.
Caitlyn: I’m not 21 yet, so in some people’s eyes I’m not actually an adult, which is very frustrating.
Talen: My least favorite part is having to do certain things on my own that I was used to my mom doing for me.
What does being 18 entail as a Hedgerow Theatre work study student? Is there anything new you’re looking forward to being able to do around the theater?
Caitlyn: It’s great that I can finally be left alone or walk somewhere without having to wait for someone to be with me. I think it’ll make summer camps a lot easier.
Moira: Being 18 now means we have more of a responsibility with looking after the younger students, but I find it’s really rewarding being able to teach kids things like choreography and see them grow from it.
Talen: Well, now that I’ve turned 18, I’m an adult, so if a teacher needs to leave the room, I can watch the students.
Where do you fall in your family? Are you the first to turn 18? The last?
Caitlyn: Well, I turned 18 two minutes before my twin sister did and we’re the only two in our family besides our parents. But, if you ask my mom, she only turned eighteen a few years ago.
Moira: Out of all of our cousins we are right in the middle! My youngest cousin is about 2 and my oldest is like 30, so we’re not the first but definitely not the last!
Talen: I am not the first to turn 18. I’m sort of in the middle, I have 2 older siblings so I’m the 3rd to turn 18.
Where do you plan on going to college next year? What do you want to major in?
Caitlyn: Hopefully I’ll be at Temple and I hope to study Marketing and Sales.
Moira: If everything works out, Cait and I both plan on going to Temple University, but if not, we are both going to go to the University of Scranton. I want to study Criminal Psychology!
What is your favorite thing about being one of the older work studies at Hedgerow? How do you feel you contribute to the theater and the school?
Caitlyn: Being a Hedgerow Theatre Work Study has allowed me to meet so many talented people that I’ll hopefully keep in contact with for a long time. Theatre is something that I’m very passionate about and as a work study I’ve been able to grow as an actress while helping a younger generation of actors and actresses grow as well.
Moira: I love being able to give the little ones advice and see them all grow as actors and actresses. I feel like I have gained a lot of valuable skills throughout my years at Hedgerow. I hope my skills help add to the Hedgerow Experience.
Talen: I’m actually the oldest out of all the work studies. I love having fun with the students. When I’m in a bad mood, I try to be super energetic and just make sure the students are happy and having a great time.
Lastly, now that you’re 18, what advice would you give to younger kids? What would you say to the younger work studies?
Caitlyn: I would say stop wishing you were 18 so that you can do things. There really aren’t a lot of cool things you can do at 18 that you can’t do at 16 or 17. To be honest, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m an adult now. To younger work studies I would say learn everything you can and take every piece of advice that is given to you. You can never grow if you don’t think there’s anything more to learn.
Moira: I think the one word of advice that I have learned is to always work hard. Be the first person at a rehearsal and the last to leave. It might seem stupid, but directors will notice that. So I guess my advice to the younger work studies is to pay now so you can play later.
Talen: Enjoy every moment of every age. You don’t have a lot of worries. You don’t have to worry about college applications, SAT/ACT scores, or even deciding on which college you want to attend. You have plenty of time to worry about that. Enjoy life. Life goes by so fast, so make sure you live it as happily as you can, laugh a lot, have no regrets, and spend it with the ones you love the most.
We hope this is able to give some insights into what it’s like to be one of our oldest work studies at Hedgerow, and ease some qualms about turning the big eighteen!
~ Gabby Harrison, Talen Draper, Moira McKniff, and Caitlyn McKniff