We had the good fortune of connecting with Sierra Fisk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sierra, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
We intentionally limit enrollment in order to maintain our artistic and educational values. It’s impossible to be able to meet the specific needs of students who you have no time for on a personal level. Having intimate class sizes enables our instructors to have a deeper relationship with our students and tailor the curriculum for them. In the early stages of our business, we thought “the more customers, the better.” We had seen other children’s theatre companies operating with 100 kids in a cast, or having so many casts they had to color-code them! But we also noticed the artistic education of their students and the quality of their shows were lacking. Both things are very important to us. After a decade of learning more about who we are and what sets us apart, we have realized time and again that having smaller classes and cast sizes is something that our client base loves. ACT-1 is tight-knit support network for each other, and nothing could ever be more valuable to us than that!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
When Chera (co-founder and Artistic Director) and I met in 2009, we were both directing children’s theatre at LAUSD. We both had similar high standards and recognized each other’s attention to detail, tight choreography and high production value. It was really the basis for founding our company! We both have high energy levels and a super intense work ethic, and so I think that’s how our company got so successful and such a great reputation in town. However… the challenge is that we have, at times, completely neglected our personal health and home life! One lesson that we’ve had to learn is that no matter how passionate we are about our students, our shows and our business, we’ve had to draw some boundaries. It used to say on our website that we were available 24/7… no joke! We have a much better relationship with our work now.
We are very proud of the monthly zoom production we’ve been offering, “The Show Must Go Online!” We’ve figured out how to do some really interesting things on the tech side, and when the kids perform for the livestream, we all have butterflies just like we do in the theatre! We actually feel like we are backstage together, and the audience comments and cheers in the live chat, and we’ve had hundreds of people watching at a time! It’s very exciting! Coronavirus has actually allowed us to put more love and attention on the Academy side of ACT-1, since we aren’t able to do traditional shows right now. We are SO excited about the instructors we’ve hired, and the classes we are offering! We have been offering dance classes with Hamilton cast members, Shakespeare, ukulele, songwriting, and now we even have an Improv Troupe: “The Pasta Elephants!” It’s been really rewarding to be able to give our students something to look forward to during such a challenging time in their young lives.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Of course, our “Drama Mamas!” Behind the scenes is a wonderful, hilarious, creative, supportive group of women. These mamas don’t just look after their own children, they make ALL of our students feel unique and fabulous! Everybody’s experience, from the actor to the audience member is affected by their level of investment, their attention to detail, and their positive attitudes. Thank you, Drama Mamas, for your talents, time, love and encouragement!