When you open up a child's creativity you might discover more talent or talents than you imagined. That's the case for a young composer we met a few years ago when he was 17. Now at 19, he's become a young film maker.
We met up with him again where those creative talents are unlocked at a summer youth theatre camp. Rehearsals for the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie are in full swing at Barter Theater's Youth Academy. It's a chance for young people to expand their creative talents.
"I watch these kids grow, all of the kids have been in to program several times in a row so I've got to know them over the years and watch the changes. It's been really exciting," art director David Alford said.
One of those students is now helping with the program. We met him as a 17-year-old as a winner in a national competition for composing. Also at the time he was composing some music for a short film.
"I would write a real short little piece and they would kind of stick it in here and stick it in there. Eventually they ended up moving away but I kind of had been bitten by the bug by that time so I thought, why don't I try this myself," young composer Benjamin Dawson said.
The result is My Dear Ralph, a short film to be shown August 3 at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.
"He really wanted to expand what he was learning through filmmaking, through music and musical theatre he was a natural, bringing those two together. So I think he wanted to expand his skills, so he showed up and auditioned with a group and first time ever got a lead role in Fiddler on the Roof," Alford said.
So he learned how the director was bringing the creative talents of his students to light.
"Just even by watching him work not even working with me, I really feel I learned a lot about how to communicate with people how to when you working with your actors to bring out more in them. What you want to see, it was really a great experience," Dawson says.
Unlocking that creative nature of young people is what barter's summer youth academy is all about.
"What I see is an opportunity to let themselves go in an environment where they feel safe and they discover that there's more to them than they thought," Alford added.
And its untold what happens when you unlock a young person's creativity.