A junior at Bettendorf High School, Taylor Gravert is an involved student. At BHS, Gravert participates in RSVP, Concert Choir, drama club, Chamber Choir, and Surround Sound.
Outside of school, Gravert partakes in theatre at Center for Living Arts. She has been involved in 30 shows at the Center, where she has acted in a variety of roles.
“My favorite roles that I have played are Elle in ‘Legally Blonde,’ Veronica in ‘Heathers,’ Rizzo in ‘Grease,’ and Consuelo in ‘West Side Story,’” she said.
Not only does Gravert act the parts of the play, she functions as stage manager. Currently, Taylor is stage manager for “Beauty and the Beast” at the Center, a theatre in Rock Island that is focused on providing intriguing and informative theatre education to children and teens. At the same time, she is starring as the lead role in “Heathers” and participating in a project entitled “Living Theatre Project: Telling Our Stories.”
“It has a great environment. I always feel at home. Everyone there takes the craft seriously,” Gravert said.
At Center for Living Arts, students enroll in semester or year long classes. In these classes, students learn acting skills and the “art of theatre.” At the end of the class, students perform the production for parents and the community.
Gravert encouraged BHS students to join the Center, saying, “Once you sign up for a show, you’re automatically in. Expand your horizons!”
Perhaps the most unique offering at The Center, the Living Theatre Project is an interesting opportunity for high school students. This program lasts throughout the entire school year and is held for two hours each Saturday.
According to the website for Center for Living Arts, “This program will endeavor to gather personal stories from its participants, develop these stories into theatrical moments (monologues, scenes, poems, and songs), and then work on the process of creating a completely original musical theatre production.”
Gravert said, “It’s exciting to see the next generation of thespians. They do theatre, not because it’s cool, but because they love it.”
The class is separated into three parts. In the first section, students look inward to introspectively understand why they perform. Next, students dabble in playwriting as they attempt to create a musical theatre performance from their experiences in theatre. In the last step, students perform their creation with others in the form of a final performance.
Gravert said, “The best part of performing is the moment when you and your scene partner feel like the characters and not yourself and the feeling after when you’re like ‘whoa.’ You can create someone completely different from yourself.”
She plans to continue theatre and pursue it as a career. She wants to teach either theatre performance or theatre education. Gravert’s dream is to become the professor of theatre at Carnegie Mellon University.
She said, “I want to see someone develop a passion for something that I’m passionate about.”
Gravert’s dedication to her craft and fervor to inspire others through her performance leads her to find her home in the theatre.
“In theatre there are no boundaries and no rules. I’m a creative person and theatre allows me to be creative. It’s second nature to me,” said Gravert.