A child performing in Cape Cod Theatre Company's production of "Finding Nemo" puts on makeup backstage before a show.

Broadway Dreams For Third Grader

Emily* works as a librarian. Her husband Brian* does data architecture and design for the federal government.

While both have decent jobs, they are raising four children on the Outer Cape. It has made it difficult to afford extracurricular activities when you factor in the necessities like housing, food, and transportation. “It adds up when you have four children and starts to be very cost restrictive,” Emily admitted. “I know it is a challenge for everyone on the Cape. I am a youth service librarian, which is the most wonderful job in the world, but I’d be losing lots of money if I had to cover everything my kids wanted to do.”

Add in Emily’s mother, who lives with the family, and the couple are selective in what opportunities they can give their children. “We have to pick and choose,” Emily said.

When Emily’s youngest, their 8-year-old daughter Amy*, wanted to go to theatre camp at Cape Cod Theatre Company last summer, she was unsure if they could afford it. “My coworker told me I should contact the Arts Foundation,” Emily said. “My other kids aren’t into theater, but my daughter really loves it. I saw this [class] and thought, ‘Oh, my gosh. Amy would die to do that.’ I was trying to figure out how to pay for it.”

Emily applied for funding through Arts Access, “expecting a little help,” she said. “I got a lot of help and I’m very thankful.”

Through Arts Access, the Arts Foundation was able to fund the full two weeks. “When the Arts Foundation came through with the whole funding, my daughter cried when I told her,” Emily said. “She was so excited she got to do it.”

Actors performing in the Harwich Junior Theatre/Cape Cod Theatre Company's 2023 production of "Finding Nemo."

While Amy was able to tap into her creativity — the class concluded with a production of “The Jungle Book” — Emily said the best part was the connections her daughter made with her peers.

“Honestly, with my little one, it improved her confidence,” her mother said of the class. “There’s so many good things about having an arts education.”

And while Amy is still young, she is now dreaming of one day performing on Broadway. “Who knows, but she definitely wants to do more of it and try out for plays. I think she’s really hooked,” Emily said. “I know I couldn’t have made this happen without the Arts Foundation. It made a big difference to me just knowing she was somewhere having a wonderful time.”

Learn more about the Arts Foundation’s Arts Access program here. To support Arts Access, which is focused on connecting all children to the power and beauty of the arts, click this link. 

*Names have ben changed to protect their identity. 

Photography by Julia Cumes