When Sally Payne's seven-year-old daughter Sophie saw a theatrical production of The Wizard Of Oz in 2008, she knew she had to be a part of that world. The energy from the singers, the dancers, the crew and the audience provided a magical experience and she decided she was willing to work hard to be a part of the fun. She attended workshops and auditioned and nabbed in part in Narnia later that year.
Since that time, Sally and Sophie and brother Parker, 13, have participated in 14 Springfield Little Theater productions. It has become a family affair. Sally's mother has even started helping make costumes.
"The performing arts are extremely important to my family. I enrolled both of my kids in workshops and let them audition for productions. They also take voice lessons and my daughter dances as well," she said.
Sally mostly worked behind-the-scenes but finally developed the courage to take the stage in this year's production of Annie.
"In addition to being a part of an activity my kids are passionate about, the theatre has given me the opportunity to make great friends, and meet interesting people. I have really connected with people that share those interests and whose family is passionate about it as well. Actually being cast in a production for the first time forced me to work outside my normal comfort zone of day-to-day life."
For the four months of rehearsal leading up to the production Sally said she used her voice to sing, her body to dance and her mind to put it all together. That gave her balance. "I had to leave my work checked at the door, and disappear into a pretend world of theatre for at least four hours a night, five nights a week for four months."
As an accounting supervisor for Workforce Development, Sally is responsible for managing the grants in a department that is 100% grant-funded. It's a stressful job that is also rewarding because she says knowing how she manages the funds indirectly serves the clients and helps those in need.
"I think everyone's personal balance is ever changing and ever evolving. I would encourage those that may not feel balanced to try something new, step out of your comfort zone no matter what age you are. My fear of auditioning kept me from trying for several years and while I love watching my kids perform and grow, it was so good for me to have this opportunity to be a part of a production with them," she said.