#JTF15 – The PPHJr Parents and Chaperons

JTF Parents

You’ve heard from the Parkway Playhouse Junior students, but what about the true unsung heroes behind those students? What would we do without the parents of Parkway Playhouse Junior?! From carrying the bags, to supplying snacks, to snapping pictures, to volunteering at the Parkway Playhouse and even serving on the Board of Directors… There is never of shortage of jobs for the stage mothers and fathers of young performing artists! Here are some reflections from some of the brave parents who were attendants with #PPHJr at #JTF15!


Britt Kaufmann (Drew’s mom) “I was very impressed by our kids’ composure in performing. Yes, they were in front of some super-talented peers (some who had flown in from Australia!). Yes, they were in front of some Broadway stars who were adjudicating them. Yes, all us parents were up front video taping them… And despite all that, I saw them give the best 15 minute performance I’d seen them give! What a great life-skill to have mastered at their age: to have learned how to have confidence in themselves, conquer nerves, and trust their cast-mates. I’m so glad PPHJR teaches them those lessons and gives them the opportunity to perform here in our small pond — but also takes them swimming in the big ocean (JTF) and helps them find success there, too. In the words of Dori: Just keep swimming!”


Amy Weinmeister (Jack and Turner’s mom) “I was most impressed by our kids’ manners during the workshops, performances, and around other groups. Congenial. Confident. Good-humored. Generous in spirit. Openly embracing the fantastic opportunity before them.”

Mary Beth Hughes (Olivia and Isabelle’s mom) “During the adjudications, I loved watching our students look at each other in amazement as they watched their peers giving incredible performances, the inspiration obvious on their faces.  I could see they felt challenged in the best way. And also as they watched other kids performing a role that they had performed  in last year’s Mulan, and how someone else had interpreted that role. But the one thing that really stands out to me is how supportive all the students were of each other. It made me smile when, after each group performance and adjudication, our students would high five and say “great job!” to all of the kids as they passed by. I am so proud of all our students and the PPJr program, and I am grateful for the opportunities that are afforded them through the JTF experience!”


Meri Stella (Hana’s mom) “I was most impressed with the kids’ ability to adapt.  They were able to take Mary Katherine’s suggestions just before the performance, and the adjudicators’ suggestions after, to make changes on the fly.  It was also a lot of fun to see our tech team do so well;  one of the things that is so special about PPH is that it gives the kids the opportunity to learn everything about theater, from the lights, to sets, to acting, and lots more in between. Whether these kids go on to careers in theater or not, they will have the confidence, creativity, and resilience to do whatever they want in life. Thanks Mary Katherine, Kristen, Andrea, Andrew and all the staff at PPH who make this possible!”


Amber Briggs (Elijah’s mom) “I must admit, I felt a bit overcome with emotion this year at JTF.  Many of these kids are growing up on Parkway’s stage right in front of us, so seeing them reach their goal and light up a room during adjudication was such a treat.  No wonder Broadway’s finest attend this festival– these kids inspire us!  As a parent, I expect to feel proud and profoundly grateful for these character building experiences, but it’s the unexpected feelings which often surprise me the most.  I found myself returning home inspired to work harder, to encourage my peers more, and to do what I love joyfully.”

Adrianne Neighbors (Aaron’s mom) “JTF ’15: Very well organized chaos! My highlight: The Acting workshop challenged each student to examine, reflect, and understand themselves by asking difficult personal questions and students were to answer, honestly. As a bystander, the serious reflection by PPHJr students was astounding and the exercise allowed the students to know and understand themselves better in order to be able to develop better characters when on stage. Separately, a few words to describe our group: Cordial and Considerate, Perfectionists, Humble, Determined, Brave, Dependable, Respectful, Inspirational, and Supportive. PPHJr is a wonderful educational program providing social development, confidence building experiences, and sheer happiness as well as learning the ins and outs of theater! PPH has provided an opportunity like no other.”
A very BIG thank you to ALL our parents at Parkway Playhouse Junior for everything you do for your budding performing artists and the Parkway Playhouse!

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Parkway Playhouse, located in the Appalachian town of Burnsville, NC, is a haven of theatre talent. While people come to the mountains to get away, Parkway Playhouse is a natural gathering place to connect. Likewise, we are an extension of traditional mountain talents: singing, dancing, and, foremost, storytelling. By giving rise to energetic new voices and through a wide variety of plays and musicals, we invite our audience into experiences that are thought-provoking, adventurous, and entertaining. Together we reimagine the world in every live performance, creating dynamic conversations that last far beyond the curtain call. This blog is will feature stories, helpful information, insight and features about the performances.

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