In my few years of corporate experience, I was never asked to kick a ball through anything or give a presentation via interpretive dance. I was, however, frequently tasked with speaking to my team and our company executives. And I was expected to do so with confidence and enthusiasm. Now don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of sports and dance - I fancy myself a renaissance mom. I love it all. I also believe that the study of acting, writing and storytelling makes a fun, useful and profound addition to the standard extracurricular activities for children.
Young Bard Studio began as an un-named entity, providing after school drama programs for my daughter's school, Forest Park Elementary. I chose to take this on because I figured I had taught several semesters of college non-major intro to acting classes - how different could those college students really be from the K-5th graders I wanted to take on. I discovered through this process that I love kids. Kids that aren't even my own! Who knew. It turns out they can be really fun and smart and loving and kind and challenging and creative and awesome. Classes expanded to St. Pius Elementary a year later and this past summer marked my first ever summer drama camps.
The mission for Young Bard Studio became clearest after an Artist in Residence opportunity at Forest Park. I was given this incredible chance to build a curriculum around bullying using children's books on the subject and adapting them to the stage. I've never been more captivated. Those 4th graders showed me how much they want this kind of work and more importantly, how much they need it. Because while Young Bard Studio provides exceptional, classical training, the goal isn't so much about teaching little kids to be actors. It's about training young people to be confident, disciplined, creative and empathetic grown-up people.
Ferguson earned an MFA in Acting at The University of Texas at Austin and has taught at UT Austin, Linfield College and Western Oregon
University. In addition to a great amount of theatrical work, her resume includes films such as Tooth and Nail (2006) Not Dead Yet (2009) Extraordinary Measures (2010), Leverage (2012) Dennis (2011), Grimm (2013). She worked for Live Wire Radio as a sketch comedy performer for 9 years and has
been in numerous local and national commercials. She is known to many as JJ and
Emma's mom. And she has no doubt that mothering those phenomenal children is the reason she was put on this planet.