September’s Featured Artist is Kara Spencer, the Artistic Director of Theatre Hive, a brand new theatre company that just opened in Brantford earlier this year. Spencer is a trained actor and director, and is also competitively trained in tap, jazz and ballet.
Spencer grew up in Kingston, Ontario where she danced competitively, performed in many musical theatre productions, and attained her British Association of Teachers of Dancing Certificate. She recalls a life-changing moment in third grade at Amherstview Public School, where she was lucky to have teachers who made the decision to put on a production of Oliver! The Musical. Spencer auditioned because she loved singing, and ended up getting the lead role of Oliver. This was her first time performing, and she’s never looked back.
Spencer completed her undergraduate degree in Drama at Queen’s University, then moved to Toronto to begin auditioning, performing, and training at The Second City. At Second City she learned improve skills that she credits as being the most influential tour for an actor. “It doesn’t matter what type of performer you are,” Spencer says, “being able to improvise builds trust in yourself.”
After spending some time teaching musical theatre summer camps to children at Lock and Keynote Productions in Northern Ontario, she went back to Queen’s to earn her teaching degree in the Artist in Community Education program. She has spent the last seven years directing youth from grades 5 to 12 in musical theatre, playwriting, acting and voice. She loves working with youth on creative projects. “Young people have great ideas and will always think of something I won’t. I love when the unexpected is suggested and it ends up becoming a highlight of the show. I call it ‘finding the gold’!”
Spencer moved to Brantford two years ago, and here she has discovered a vibrant artistic community full of passionate, enthusiastic people who create their own opportunities while supporting each other. One example is Grandview Theatre, a new theatre company that just started in Brantford to offer professional (and paid) opportunities for aspiring theatre professionals. She credits founder, Victoria Hudson-Muir, for her vision and self-motivation to make it happen. “This is exactly the type of person that theatre helps you become!”
Spencer is now building on her own skills and professional experience by starting her own theatre company, Theatre Hive. Theatre Hive focuses on theatre education and training for local youth, while honing their creative skills and building self-confidence. The skills learned while performing are transferable for youth as they grow, notes Spencer. “Performing in theatre gives you the confidence to step forward in life, no matter what direction you choose.”
Spencer is continually looking for new challenges, and is looking forward to building Theatre Hive into an inclusive space that trains the newest generation to share their talents, confidence and compassion with their own community.
To learn more about Theatre Hive, check out our Discover Brantford blog from July 2019 or visit their website.