QUEER SPOTLIGHT 2022: Sarah Stapleton (Week Two)




{IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A pink-and-orange backdrop. It is surrounded by a white frame. In bold white next at the top left are the words ‘Sarah Stapleton (She/They).’ Below that is a quote written in white font: “I believe that connection is essential to well-being, and the arts provide an immensely powerful avenue for self-expression, vulnerability and empathy that all human beings need to thrive.’ To the right is a photograph of Sarah Stapleton a Caucasian femme with short blonde hair. They wear a dark green shirt.}


Meet Sarah Stapleton (She/They!) Sarah made their Penny & Pound debut as a member of The Choir in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (2018), and since graduating Wilfred Laurier University and moving to The Greater Toronto Area, has continued to strut their stuff on stages from Oakville to Brampton!


TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF 

My name is Sarah Stapleton (she/they) and I am a 23 year old multidisciplinary queer artist. I have been performing in musicals since age seven, teaching musical theatre since age twelve, and have run my own private music studio online since 2018. In 2021, I graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honour Bachelor of Music Education specializing in Voice and conducted two research studies on best practices for vocal music education. I am a Master of Teaching candidate for intermediate/senior vocal music and mathematics at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and am currently teaching full time elementary school for students with special needs. I frequently perform musicals with community theatre organizations and take vocal, dance, and songwriting lessons. These culminated in the release of my first album, Heartstrings, in February 2022. I am also a strong mental health advocate and researcher, and volunteer regularly with a crisis line. rch studies on best practices for vocal music education. I am a Master of Teaching candidate for intermediate/senior vocal music and mathematics at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and am currently teaching full time elementary school for students with special needs. I frequently perform musicals with community theatre organizations and take vocal, dance, and songwriting lessons. These culminated in the release of my first album, Heartstrings, in February 2022. I am also a strong mental health advocate and researcher, and volunteer regularly with a crisis line. 

 

WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH THE ARTS? 

I first fell in love with the arts at age 3, when I watched my first live performance of Beauty and the Beast. I immediately asked my parents for singing lessons, but every voice teacher I approached recommended that I take piano lessons first. I enrolled in piano lessons and youth musical theatre classes, beginning my artistic journey. I only ended up taking singing lessons ten years later after deciding I wanted to go to the same school as the girl I had a crush on at the time: an arts school. This was the beginning of a lifelong journey in vocal music, leading to my Bachelor of Music undergraduate degree and conducting numerous research studies on vocal music education.  

 

AS A QUEER ARTIST, WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED? 

As a queer artist, the most important thing I have learned is the enormous power of the arts to create community, share joy, and foster love. I believe that connection is essential to well-being, and the arts provide an immensely powerful avenue for the self-expression, vulnerability, and empathy that all human beings need to thrive.

 

HOW CAN THE ARTS COMMUNITY BETTER SUPPORT AND REPRESENT THE 2SLGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY? 

I believe that the arts community – and all communities, for that matter – can support and represent the 2SLGBTQIA+ community by actively making space for queer participation and celebrating diversity. The arts community holds the potential to serve as a more equalizing space in which all voices can be heard and where love in its myriad forms can be represented, which normalizes diversity. Portraying 2SLGBTQIA+ respectfully, accurately, and in a positive light is also crucial for representation in the arts. This requires collaboration with 2SLGBTQIA+ people in the cast, crew, and production team, which can be supported through equity work and intentionality through the casting process. 

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLAY, MUSICAL OR BOOK THAT REPRESENTS THE 2SLGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY?

My current favourite 2SLGBTQIA+ musical is RENT, because this was my most recent production and was incredibly empowering for me to perform. I loved the rawness and vulnerability required by all cast members to execute this production and developed such deep bonds with the entire cast as a result. 

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER YOUNG PERFORMERS? 

I would advise other young performers to always be themselves and to find spaces in which they can be fiercely authentic. I would remind them to always celebrate and love themselves, because they deserve to be cared about and to find joy in who they are!

 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? 

I was recently cast in the ensemble of Cinderella with Brampton Musical Theatre, which will be performed in November 2022. I am also working towards my second album, which I am hoping to release in early 2023. In addition to artistic pursuits, I am continuing to complete my Master of Teaching degree and am looking ahead to begin a second Master’s in Counselling in the near future!




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