DRAA Awards Young Rep Scholarship to Rising Star Kathleen Salazar


19 year old Kathleen Salazar is beginning her sophomore year at New York University’s (NYU) prestigious theatre program, Tisch School of the Arts. Many aspiring actors only dream of getting a shot with a program like Tisch but only a select few are able to make it happen.

A brilliant actor and an even lovelier person, Kathleen says she could not have done it without the support and tutelage of the Young REPertory Theatre Workshop and the LCA theatre community.

Every year, DRAA provides funding for the Young Rep scholarship program to facilitate arts education for those who have demonstrated commitment, hard work and dedication to the arts. For her last year with Young Rep, DRAA and the Young Rep awarded that scholarship to Kathleen.

In this interview, Kathleen talks to DRAA about the impact the Young Rep program and the Walnut Creek theatre community has had on her not only as an actor, but as a person.

How long have you been involved with Young Rep?

I have been involved with Young Rep for about 8 years. I started the program when I was 11yrs old and was in the program for 7 years, last year being the 7th year, and am now going to be interning with the program as a college student.

The LCA community is such a tight knit one. How has being part of the community here impacted you?

I would say that being a part of a community with such close bonds as the LCA family has been such an inspiration.

Seeing all these people who truly care about one another and raise each other up. It’s truly wonderful to be a part of. It is like a second family. 

Do you plan to pursue a career in theatre?

I actually just finished my first year of college at New York University (NYU) studying theatre in the Tisch School of the Arts. I was very lucky to be selected for a school like NYU and would not have been competitive for this opportunity without my training at Young Rep as well as support from my family and friends.

Tell us about being part of the Tish program at NYU? How do you feel that the Young Rep program prepared you for this experience?

The training that I did here with Young Rep gave me so many lessons in professional behavior as well as just being a kind person in the working environment.

Being a genuinely good person goes a long way in the world of theatre.

Young rep teaches you that putting in the time and effort pays off and that mentality has helped immensely in an intense program such as the Tisch school. Being at NYU is just another step in my training towards becoming a better artist and bringing my own self into my work which I really first saw at young rep.

What has your experience as a part of Young Rep been like? How have you grown as a performer while studying in the program? What challenges have you faced?

My experience at Young Rep has been a life changing one. Seven years of training with these dedicated and inspiring teachers gaining knowledge and experience shaped who I am not only as an artist but as a person. Being in an acting training program rather than a camp always held me as a student to a higher professional standard even from a younger age.  This really helped me as an artist because my age never limited me and I was never considered somehow less capable of being taken seriously as a performer just because of my age.

One of the biggest challenges that I faced and still face, like almost every artist, was accepting my differences as a performer and using them to my strengths. Young Rep really was a place of celebration and acceptance as well as somewhere to continue to shape and develop myself as an artist in the world. They teach you that anybody has the ability to play any role, there are no “type casts” in this program because that isn’t what theatre is about. They focus on the craft of storytelling and how to effectively tell the best story possible.

What also comes along with that is ensemble work. A big lesson from Young Rep is that we are all important to telling the story rather than focusing on one specific person. Theatre is very much a collaborative effort. It’s the kind of program that at the end of each summer you aren’t ready to leave because you want to keep working and creating in this environment.

What was it like finding out that you were the Young Rep Scholarship recipient?

It was quite overwhelming to be given such an award for my time at Young Rep because I had spent the past seven summers of my life training and working with the staff. It was just such a wonderful way to end my time as a student with a program that had made me who I was in the theatre world.

What do you think sets the Young Rep program apart from other training programs?

In my opinion, what really puts this program above others is its professionalism.

Unlike doing a play over the summer or going to a theatre camp, Young Rep is teaching young adults from as early as 11 how to be creative and effective story tellers. Even if after the program a person doesn’t go on to pursue theatre they leave with skills that can help them in any aspect of life. It really teaches about the importance of the craft and hard work, and that an artist’s learning experience is never over, which is what makes being an artist so exciting. The constant learning.

Written by Jade Shojaee