Theater ‘changed my life’

Duncan continues to build community program in Auburn

Angelica Duncan

Angelica Duncan

Theater art rescued Angelica Duncan from a turbulent childhood and set a course for her as an actress, teacher and director.

That much she knows.

“It changed my life, it really did. It saved my life in a way,” said Duncan, a children’s playwright, acting instructor and the director of community theater for Auburn Parks, Arts and Recreation. “It has taught me so much … about my talents, my confidence. … Theater teaches social skills that are essential. No one really understands that until you are actually studying it.”

Duncan embraced theater art growing up in the Fife area. She graduated from the Tacoma School of the Arts, where she focused her attention on dance, music and theatre. She continued her studies at Ithaca College in New York, where she received her bachelor of fine arts in acting, and studied abroad in London and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

She returned to the Pacific Northwest and performed for several community theaters. She has an extensive list of stage credits, including her portrayal of Lavinia in the “Titus Andronicus” tragedy at the Seattle Shakespeare Company. As a director and instructor she has worked for several theater companies before coming to Auburn, where she has established and developed an educational program for community theater the past six years.

To date, Duncan has directed nine productions at the Auburn Avenue Theater, and continues to stage shows while teaching acting and theater art to children, teens and young adults of all skill levels.

Her mission is clear: making sure kids have opportunities to learn and grow in community theater.

“There are many amazing community theaters that offer high-quality training,” Duncan said. “There’s a need, and kids are excited about it. They want to see it grow.”

Many of her students, especially her prodigies, have shone on live professional stages in the area. Among them is Rowan Santos, who recently performed in Seattle Respiratory Theatre’s production of “A Thousand Splendid Suns.”

Auburn, like other nearby cities, continues to pull in young talent. To stay competitive, Auburn needs to expand its programming, Duncan insisted, allowing families the option to stay local rather than make the long commute to theater houses elsewhere.

Duncan would like to expand her acting classes and add a winter play to the AveKids series, which already produces a spring and summer show.

AveKids Theatre Camps continue to attract a full house.

Bilingual in English and Spanish, Duncan works with kids with learning and physical disabilities and adapts scripts and choreography to allow them to participate.

Community theater has always been her passion.

“It’s a precious art form that’s beneficial to all,” she said. “I’m excited to see them all grow up.”

Learn more at auburnwa.gov.

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