Amy Welch '18

Amy Welch, an aspiring filmmaker and avid performer, has recently be awarded the lead role as Ichabod Crane in Mount Holyoke College’s production of Waking Sleepy Hollow. She had always wanted to perform, but ever since she saw more professional productions and took on apprenticeships, she realized that she wanted to follow her dreams and turn her hobby into a career. We took some time to sit down and discuss her origins, passions, her future plans, and the play she’ll be in this October.

 

Name: Amy Welch

Age: 19

Year: 2018

Major: Theater

Hometown: Andover, Massachusetts

Hobbies: Acting, musical theater, songwriting, dancing, reading, creative writing, and watching old vintage films

 

When did you first get into acting, singing, and dancing? Have you always wanted to do this?

My parents were first involved in community theater and I’ve always admired them. That’s what inspired me at first. In third grade, I started doing summer theater workshops and started doing community theater. Eventually, I became more involved in school productions. In high school, I took it more seriously and realized I wanted to pursue it as a career along with creative writing and filmmaking.

 

What kind of formal training have you had? Have you been to camps or taken classes? Have you taken any classes here for theater?

As I said before, I did acting workshops when I was younger. In the summer of my junior year in high school, I did this program, the LIU Summer Musical Theater Honors Institute, which was a week long program workshop. We went to New York City and worked with great people. I discovered my passion there. In college, I took Intro to Theater, but the main course that I fell in love with is Acting 101 with Susan Daniels. This past summer, I was aware of more opportunities and I was introduced to NETC, an organization where producers came and I auditioned for them. I ended up getting accepted into the Power House Apprenticeship Theater Program at Vassar College. It was life changing.

 

How difficult is it to learn your lines? What’s the hardest part about rehearsing and performing plays and musicals? Got any tips for any future thespians out there?

It’s difficult, but it’s gotten easier over the years. I’ve developed a few tricks such as sometimes I record all of my lines and listen to them on repeat for days. I use my friends for help too. It’s very challenging. Over the summer, I had to memorize a monologue that was almost ten pages long and I told myself that if I could do that, I could do anything. It’s all about perseverance and about rehearsing everything whenever you can! Learning the lines is the hardest part about theater, along with discovering your character, although that is one of my favorite parts about theater. It’s a really rewarding experience.

 

What’s your favorite part about being in a play and performing live?

Being in a play, it’s all about putting myself in another person’s shoes and in a way discovering things about humanity. It’s an opportunity to experience things that I wouldn’t normally be exposed to. At the same time, I can discover things about myself and learn to be more vulnerable and a better human. I love connecting with the audience and  feeding off their energy. I also love putting on the costumes for plays and musicals.

 

What was your first on-stage, live experience like? Did you have stage fright, or have you always been naturally comfortable with being in front of an audience?

The first production I ever did was Wizard of Oz in third grade, and in the beginning I was a very shy girl who was terrified of singing in front of everyone. I remember being so nervous that day at auditions, I refused to sing the audition piece alone in front of the other auditionees because I was so scared. But, they understood (I was only 9) and let me in the play. Because of this, I went outside my comfort zone, became more a more outgoing person and a very enthusiastic performer on the stage. I’ve loved it ever since.

 

What plays have you been in the past? I saw you in one of the plays here at MHC last fall and you were really great in it.

I‘ve been in so many plays! There’s too many to count! Some of my favorite productions I have been in are Bye Bye Birdie as Kim MacAfee, Thoroughly Modern Millie, my favorite musical, as Miss Dorothy, and Barefoot in the Park as Corie Bratter, which is one of my favorite roles to date. This summer, I was in Twelfth Night as Antonio. Those are my absolute favorite ones.

 

What play did you audition for this year?

I auditioned for Waking Sleepy Hollow.

 

What’s the play about? Is there any singing?

It’s a modern retelling of Sleepy Hollow. It’s not a musical, but there’s a little dance break in it. I play a voice coach, who happens to be Ichabod Crane.

 

Did you plan on auditioning for the lead role or did you audition and happen to be chosen for the part?

I honestly never considered getting the lead of Ichabod Crane. Originally, I had thought that I wanted to play Katrina or Piper. But when I read for the director and at callbacks, they really liked me and had me read as Ichabod Crane as well. They liked my bold choices and Professor Snape voice.

 

Do you have a certain genre that you like to perform? How do you know what plays you want to audition for?

Usually, I go for musical theater. I like dramas and comedies. I really don’t have a preference. I like everything! Some of my favorites have been comedies because I like doing character work. I also love historical pieces and renowned plays that challenge me.

 

Have you been in any video, film or television productions? Do you plan to in the future?

When I was in middle school, I used to make movies with my best friend, Jeremy. It was a passion of mine to make movies. We almost made a complete feature film at 50 minutes in length in black and white. I played the lead role and Jeremy played the male lead. It was really ambitious because the summer before, I did a summer program which combined creative writing, filmmaking, and acting. I learned about filmmaking techniques there. We almost finished the film. Only a few scenes weren’t shot. In high school I did some short films. I have worked on screenplays and have yet to shoot them. I have mainly worked on my own personal project. In the future, I definitely want to get into the filmmaking industry, act, and create films.

 

Do you plan on doing more plays and musicals after this year? After college?

Oh my God, yes! It’s my life! I might audition for something at UMass because they have a lot of musicals, but I’m not sure. I know for sure that in the spring semester, I’ll be in the senior dance concert. I’m not sure about any other projects yet. After college, I have so many choices I could make. I can either get an apprenticeship or internship at a theater company and work my way up. Or, I might save up some money and move to New York. I’d audition for plays and hopefully start a theater company alongside other fellow actors and artists. My final option is to get a Master’s Degree in theater and continue my education, but I’m not sure about that just yet.

 

Do you pull any inspiration from certain actors, plays, television shows, books, or films? Do you have any favorites? Do you prefer plays or musicals?

Two actresses who have inspired me are Audrey Hepburn and Sutton Foster.  I’ve watched all of Audrey Hepburn’s movies and I really look up to her. I always keep up with whatever Sutton Foster is doing. In high school dramatic literature class, I saw Proof, which was one of the first professional productions that I had seen. I could connect with professional actors. They didn’t make my dream seem so far out of reach. I always think back to that performance.

 

If you were stuck on an island, what is one book or play that you would want to have with you?

Anything written by Virginia Woolf. I can’t decide.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our burning questions. We can’t wait to see you this fall on stage!

Of course!  Thank you so much for interviewing me! Waking Sleeping Hollow will be during parents’ weekend so I hope to see you there! :)

 

Amy’s play, “Waking Sleepy Hollow,” will be performed during Family and Friends Weekend, October 23rd to the 25th.