Telling It Like It Is

Telling It Like It Is

Arts Live actors share their stories


What happens when you give youngsters as young as 10 the “opportunity to write and create from their perspective”?

According to Arts Live Theatre teaching artist Natalie Lane, the resulting “devised theater piece” is revealing and impressive.

“I have learned that our actors battle with social and performance pressures along with insecurities about themselves,” Lane says of the process of creating “Our Stories,” Arts Live’s current production. “I have also learned how hard they work to overcome those challenges with their inner strength and creativity.”

Of the 10 actors, ranging in age up to 16, “some have chosen to tell stories of how they are perceived by their peers and the adults in their lives and how that contrasts with who they really are,” Lane says. “Some have explored and created stories in which they imagined what their life would be like in fictional situations that intrigued them. One young man tells a true story about being stranded into the night on the King’s River after his canoe sinks.”

Chloe Pearl Stokes, a 16-year-old student at Fayetteville Christian School, started doing theater at Arts Live in 2015 and is currently cast in her sixth show.

“My story is about what I do when I have had a rough day — which is go home and play the piano,” she says. “It’s about my relaxing experience when playing my favorite instrument.

“I want to tell it, because I know that, in this world, it’s rare to have something you know will always be there and help you relax and calm down, especially when you’re stressed out or mad or sad,” Chloe adds. “I hope that after people hear it and see my passion about playing the piano, they will be inspired to find their own rock, their own place to go and cool off.”

Rachel Miller, a 15-year-old student at West Fork High School, also chose to tell her own story.

“My story is very personal, and I feel that quite a few people could relate to it on a personal level. [It’s] about how everyone, including myself, have things that we don’t show but that are a large part of us and how much a person can change and develop in two years or less,” she says.

“I wanted to tell my story because it means a lot to me, and … I hope that anyone viewing will remember that everyone is different and everyone has a personal story and that you should try to connect with them to understand theirs.”

Eleven-year-old Mira Brock’s story is completely fictional, she says, but “fascinating; I couldn’t move away from it unheard.”

“My story is about a girl who wakes up one day to find that she can’t remember anything from her past, and later finds out that, ‘with all that [she] lost, [she] also lost the ability to forget.’ I hope people remember how she feels about how she can’t forget things, and I hope they think about how memory isn’t always a blessing.”

Lane says Arts Live “offers a high caliber of a wide variety of shows, from musicals like ‘Shrek’ to the classics like ‘Little Women’. We also develop and present original works that are produced all over the world. One will find there is something for all audiences at Arts Live Theatre.”



‘Our Stories’

WHEN — 7 p.m. Jan. 18; 2 & 7 p.m. Jan. 19; 2 p.m. Jan. 20

WHERE — Arts Live Theatre, 818 N. Sang Ave. in Fayetteville

COST — $7-$9

INFO — 521-4932 or

Categories: Theater