"Biggest gift you can give to your future self"

OK where do I begin with my feelings about this studio:

Before I came to JWS I felt lost in the theatre world. I wanted a place that was safe to take off the performance armor and be an artist again (something that I was finding very hard to do here in NYC). When I read the description of the Studio Workshop, I knew I had found my place.

After being at the studio for a little over a year I can say that it was the biggest and best decision I could have made for myself and my career. Studio was just the tip of the iceberg, since joining the studio I have reveled in Book club, Audition Workshop, Preparing a Role, Kickstarters, Reboot, free seminars on everything that is valuable under the sun, It’s funny cause it’s true, fireside chats, podcasts, blogs, and above all the call to arms to ask WHY.

Aside from the incredible knowledge and self-advocacy I’ve gotten from this studio the community and people have changed the game for me.

When I recently ended a very big relationship in my life and needed to find new housing ASAP the second that my new (but fierce) friends at JWS found out, they jumped into action. We had only ever really known each other in class and in a professional sense but that didn’t stop them from literally posting on their own profiles and searching the unending lists on gypsy housing to get me out of the situation I was in. I was brought to tears by their actions, the people that inhabit this studio are a different breed. Although even as I write this I actually think that it might be that JWS has given us the space to show up and be vulnerable, kind, seen, heard, and respected thereby allowing us to give those gifts away to others.

Wait I need to talk more about the self -advocacy I mentioned earlier. I use to think as an actor in this city I was at the mercy of people who held positions of power over me. As she does Jen challenged that notion and asks why? Now I don’t see powerholders and job needers I see artists that are trying to figure out if they could benefit by working together to tell a story. As Susan Blackwell says ‘No one is above me, no one is below me, haters to the left.’ It changes how I engage with the theatre world, how I walk in an audition room and how I sprooke to fellow creatives. I feel like my life is mine. I have power, I am worthy and I can be curious and say ‘I don’t know’ on my search to discovery. I don’t have to show up as a perfect plastic fembot, that’s not me, and that’s not helpful.


I want to wrap this up by saying, choosing to be a part of this studio is one of the best decision I have made in my professional career. There are so many things that I didn’t mention in this response (because honestly I could go on for pages) you have to check it out for yourself. It will be the biggest gift you can give to your future self, and to the theatre world as a whole.
— Dakota Mackey-McGee
Tony Howell