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Arts Student of the Week: Ash Kissinger

Ash Kissinger, a sophomore at Niwot High School, got involved in theater almost by accident. "I never really intended on getting into it seriously, it just kind of happened," Kissinger said.

Now, he admits that it is the thing that gets him out of bed in the morning and the thing he wants to pursue for the rest of his life. "It has introduced me to the best people in my life and I wouldn't trade it for the world," he said.

Since the age of nine, Kissinger has been involved in theater with the Fine Arts Guild of The Rockies in Estes Park. He has acted with other troupes in Longmont and Boulder, and for the past four years he has been very active as a performer with The Spark Performing Arts Community in Boulder. "Recent shows I have done outside of Niwot (High School) theater have been 'Matilda,' 'Puffs,' 'Legally Blonde,' 'Tuck Everlasting,' 'She Kills Monsters,' and 'Seussical,' which have all been at The Spark," he said.

Last year Kissinger was cast as a lead in "Noises Off" at Niwot High, playing the part of Lloyd Dallas. He then went on to participate in the spring musical, "Beauty and the Beast" in three roles: the candlemaker, the saltshaker, and a featured lifter.

NHS theater director and drama teacher Amanda Foust, who nominated Kissinger for Arts Student of the Week, has enjoyed having Kissinger in her classes, and admires the work he has done on stage. "He started last year as a freshman and has shined in our program," Foust said.

"Noises Off" was Kissinger's first show at the high school. "I could not be more glad I auditioned," he said. "I didn't know anyone, but people were super nice throughout auditions and callbacks and once I got the role. That cast will always have a special place in my heart because it was where I met my first friends at Niwot and got me into Niwot theater, which I am so grateful for!"

Kissinger, whose favorite musical is "Pippin," says that his experience in NHS theater has been rewarding. "I've felt so welcomed," he said. "And I feel like I have become part of a family. Everyone is always so welcoming and kind, and I always look forward to drama classes and rehearsals."

"Ash has been an incredible student in all his classes," Foust said. "but really comes through in drama classes. He is committed to improving his acting skills and is always looking for a challenge. He is kind and sincere to all his classmates and has truly become a leader in this theater program."

"I went into my freshman year not really knowing anybody at Niwot and now I have met just the most supportive, amazing, talented and kind people there," Kissinger said. "It's been a wonderful experience, overall, and that has been mostly due to the theater program."

Kissinger loves the moments in the dressing room and backstage during the shows. He fondly remembers the time a cast member brought a piano backstage for tech week of "Noises Off."

"While they are stressful, I think moments where things go wrong, or don't go exactly as planned, always make a show really special and unique."

While theater is his primary interest, Kissinger also enjoys reading, crocheting, and writing. Because he is only a sophomore this year, he is not sure what his plans are when he graduates. "I know that I want to do theater professionally in some capacity," he admitted. "And the hope right now is to go to college for either musical theater or acting."


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