All the world’s a stage, and all fun-loving kiddos are potential players. Little actors can discover that and more, thanks to Acting for Young People—your Totally Awesome pick for best dance and theater class in the D.C. area. Acting for Young people offers kids a creative, relaxed space to develop their dramatic potential and gain some confidence along the way.
Founder Mary Lechter recently took the time to chat with us about what makes her programs so awesome, her proudest moment as a business-owner, and more. Read on:
Red Tricycle: Congratulations on being voted “Most Awesome” by your community! What do you think your customers value most about your business?
Mary Lechter: Our company is like one big family, and I think our students and their families feel that and appreciate it. We’re very lucky that in many cases, we work with children over several years and get to track their growth and progress, giving them support and encouragement along the way. Our teaching artists genuinely care about our students and take an interest in who they are as people, whether they’re 5 or 55!
RT: What inspired you to start your business?
ML: I got my first teaching jobs to supplement my income while I worked as a freelance actress in the Washington, DC area. I was privileged to work for incredible organizations, including the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. When I moved to the Fairfax area, I wanted to continue teaching, and while there are some great programs, I didn’t find anything at the caliber I had previously worked in and was inspired to create my own. I started small, renting spaces and running a few classes, until we developed a following. What started out 16 years ago with one teacher and a sporadic program schedule and now it has developed into a year-round program with a staff of 50 plus. There have been many lessons learned along the way, but I am surrounded by a great team, which is inspiration unto itself.
RT: Any advice for new business owners just getting started?
ML: Explore every idea! Some will be clunkers but I often find that the ideas that work best include bits and pieces of several others that couldn’t have stood on their own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and identify a core group of people you trust to be honest and supportive.
RT: What is your proudest moment as a business owner?
RT: I am pleased to say I have many amazing moments to draw from! I have a collection of proud moments where students have had breakthroughs and we’ve really been able to see them grow before our eyes, or their parents have told me that thanks to theater training, their children are doing better in school or are gaining confidence to stand up for themselves. Honors like being voted “Totally Awesome” bring a lot of pride with them, too!
RT: Is there a special offer you’d like to include for Red Tricycle readers?
ML: We have a few spots left in our Summer Acting Camp! Details are on our website at www.AFYP.org. Red Tricycle readers are welcome to use coupon code REDTRIKE at checkout for a discount on tuition, valid through August 1, 2014.