“I am not a person who would just come up and talk to you normally,” said 22-year-old Corinth resident, Journey McCalister.
Many would find this surprising as McCalister has been in a large number of theatrical productions — both locally and in college.
She’s even won some awards. She earned two Corinth Theatre-Arts Magnolia Awards for Outstanding Performance in her role as Mayella in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and her role as Amber Von Tussle in “Hairspray.”
She is a Corinth High School graduate who went on to Blue Mountain College and earned her Bachelors in Fine Arts. While in college, she won “Best Leading Role in a Play” for her portrayal of Helen Keller. She is also a part of the National Theatre Cast of Alpha Psi Omega.
What set a shy girl on this path? In a word: Theater.
Just like her name, her own personal “journey” has led her to open a unique business called Theatre Journey, located at 622B Wick Street, in Corinth. Set to open Aug. 22, Theatre Journey will be a teaching theater which will specialize in helping children from beginners to advanced learn or hone their performing skills.
“There are kids out there who have never acted before. They might be afraid, or not know how to start, and I’m going to teach kids how to learn lines, how to hold themselves on stage, how to audition and prepare them to do a show,” said McCalister.
She said the lessons should help children if they would like to perform with theaters such as CT-A.
The young instructor/director said she would like to hold a recital in December with the students to show their friends and family members how they have progressed. She hopes to have the students do a play or musical in the spring.
McCalister said her degree from BMC shows she has knowledge in music, art and theater, but with an emphasis on theater. Upon graduation, it was a process to decide what she wanted to do with her degree.
“At first, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation. I always wanted to go to New York and do that whole thing, but I wanted to become more comfortable first. So, my mom suggested that I try to open a children’s theater because I directed a show a couple of years ago and I loved it more than anything. I got really close with the kids and we put on a great show at the coliseum. And I thought, ‘You know? I can do that.’ Things have sort of fallen into place and it’s all worked out and here we are,” she said.
Walking inside Theatre Journey, one will notice it already feels theatrical. There is the scent of paint and sawdust in the air as construction nears completion.
McCalister is the daughter of Ben and Cinnamon Albright Martin of Summerville, S.C., and Mike and Michelle McCalister, of Corinth, and construction has been a family affair.
She said her father, Mike McCalister, built the special, raised stage and has done other construction work.
Her mother, Cinnamon Albright Martin, has come to Corinth many weekends to help her with decorating. McCalister credits her family as being tremendously supportive.
The instructor/director said she is excited about the opening of Theatre Journey and she believes she can help children find the value she found in theater.
“Theater gave me an outlet to be outgoing. I was able to be whoever I wanted to be. I could be any character. I think that has really helped me to become more comfortable in my skin and more confident. I really want to assist other kids in doing that. I remember when I was a senior in high school, I did ‘Footloose.’ It was the best show I’ve ever done because I learned more about myself in that year than I ever had. I made so many friends and I just came out of my shell. I knew then that theater was what I wanted to do. There was no question about it. I love it so much that I want to share it with other people,” she said.
Theatre Journey will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays with classes at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.; and private classes will be available by appointment on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She can also provide instruction for groups.
McCalister said she will also consider the possibility of allowing the mini-theatre to be rented by appointment for small cast black-box-style theater shows, small comedy shows, poetry readings or rehearsal space.
(For more information about Theatre Journey, contact McCalister at 662-643-3080 or via email at email@example.com.)