Srishti Sharma is a senior and a theater major at Idyllwild Arts Academy (IAA). Sharma participated in a Zoom interview Saturday, Feb. 27 with the Town Crier to tell us a bit about her story.
Sharma is from New Delhi, India and started IAA her junior year of high school. Being from India, theater is not something that is encouraged, especially as a viable career path. However, Sharma wanted to follow her dream of learning to act.
She was looking around online when, to her surprise, she stumbled upon IAA’s website.
“I’d never heard of a boarding art high school, and at first, I didn’t believe it was real,” Sharma admitted. “I thought it was like ‘High School Musical.’ ”
Sharma took it upon herself to apply without telling her parents.
“I didn’t know how they’d react,” Sharma explained. “Even though they’ve been supportive of my choice to be in the arts, it felt weird to be going outside the country.”
Luckily, everything worked out and Sharma was accepted into IAA.
Sharma does admit that she had very little confidence in performing when she first started at IAA. However, she has stuck to theater and has come a long way in the short time she’s been there.
Sharma explained, “IAA has helped me with my confidence on stage and off stage. I took a class last year — physical storytelling — which really helped me connect with myself as well as those around me. After studying here for just two years, I know myself better and I know what I want better.”
Sharma started out interested in theater as an outlet to express herself. Being an only child, Sharma didn’t have siblings to bounce things off of and was struggling with her mental health. She discovered theater as an outlet and a way to escape.
There are many different types of theater actors can perform, but Sharma definitely has her favorites and has ideas of what she’d like to learn in the future.
“I’m really a big fan of devised shows and children’s theater,” Sharma said. “I love to perform for kids.” Adding, “with the devised shows not having a script and having to improvise, you get to create your own script and your own characters. It’s scary but it’s also fun. I would also like to learn more about film acting.”
While Sharma admires and appreciates all the teachers at IAA, a couple stand out a bit more for her. Theatre Department Chair Bonnie Carpenter is a big inspiration, and according to Sharma, has taught her how to be an independent and global artist. Another teacher, Erin Crites, has also taught Sharma to be unapologetic and has helped her connect with herself through movement and performance.
As high school comes to a close in just a few short months, Sharma is planning to attend college in the fall. She has applied to colleges, but she is still waiting to hear back from all of them before she chooses where to go.
“I’ve already been accepted to Cornish College of the Arts and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, but my top choice schools are University of Southern California and Vassar College,” Sharma said.
With a future full of potential, Sharma continues to practice the art of theater with the hopes of making it her career one day.
Sharma shared a bit of advice to those who might be struggling to find their way.
“You don’t need to convince other people as long as you’re convinced that this is what you want to do,” Sharma said. “Accept yourself, accept what you want, and try to enjoy it. Don’t give up.”