My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection

My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection

My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection

My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection

My first BTF logo

The day is finally here! Beyond the Footlights turns 1! *insert confetti cannons*

On May 18th, 2020, I took a leap of faith and published Beyond the Footlights for all to see! I can’t believe I’ve been working on this little slice of internet heaven for just over a year already! I’ve learned so much, about myself and the world of blogging, in the last year, and I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to a little reflection on the last 12 months at Beyond the Footlights!

My email subscribers (shameless plug to tell you to SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG on the homepage!) received a little love letter in their inboxes from me today highlighting my journey a bit, but I’d like to dive a little deeper into all my first year of blogging has given me and the growth I’ve experienced. So, in typical Sound of Music fashion, let’s start at the very beginning!


How It Started

My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection
My OG BTF banner Kailey Edwards Photography

If you were in my values seminar class first semester senior year of college, you heard the idea for this blog first. Shout out to all of you! Our professor asked us one day “what is something you’d do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I had toyed around with the idea of starting a blog before; I had a list of potential topics/ideas in one of my theatre notebooks. We went around the room to share, and when it got to me, I said I’d start a blog.

I said I wasn’t sure about starting a blog because I didn’t have any time as a theatre student. At the time, I was going to have work throughout the summer months as well, so the idea of having free time for other creative endeavors was nonexistent. I don’t know why I decided to be a little vulnerable in class that day in front of a group of students I wasn’t particularly close to, but I also shared that I feared that whatever I chose to do would have “already been done” and that no one would really care about what I had to write about.

Past Angela, that’s just not true. But we’ll get there.

And we know the age-old tale by now: the pandemic hit giving me too much time and not enough creative outlets. So, I took my lemons and made them into lemonade and decided to go all in creating the blog that had always been a fleeting thought. I learned a few things pretty quickly when I started creating the blog:

The internet is a savior

I knew absolutely nothing about how to start a blog and where to even start (look for a blog post all about starting a blog from scratch soon, wink wink). It took a LOT of researching and planning before I was even able to get to the fun stuff like writing and branding. I had built my actor website a few months prior on another platform, but using WordPress was foreign territory. Little did I know, a lot of the skills I learned while starting my blog would prove to be useful to me in the year to come.

Blogging can mean more than just your blog

At the same time I was launching the blog, I decided to also try to build up my social media presence as a tool to help the blog grow. I started small, trying to rebrand my Instagram in a way and by starting a Facebook page for the blog. I needed to try and streamline my social media/the blog’s for added success. Branding & Influencing on my social media is something that I’ve continued to learn more about now that my stand-alone blog is on its feet.

Investing in your blog will help in the long run

With my blog plan, I wanted to start small and simple in case I discovered after a year that this path wasn’t for me. While I was able to do quite a lot with the little resources I had, I quickly discovered that investing in the proper tools would help me much more in the long run. Investing in things like workshops and creator tools allowed me to keep learning and experimenting with growing my brand.


My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection
My new BTF banner! Kailey Edwards Photography

The reception I got when I officially launched the blog was incredible. I was very fortunate to have a best friend (Kailey Edwards Photography) who was simultaneously building and launching her photography business, and she provided me with creative and gorgeous photos for my site (she still takes the majority of my fabulous photos for blog/influencer purposes).

Each month, two posts have always been the same: my Passion Piece Features and Monthly Minutes. I’ve featured 9 amazing actors and creators in my Passion Piece Features, shout out to those amazing human beings for giving up a slice of their time and energy to help this little ‘ol blog. My Monthly Minute Posts, monthly recaps of my monthly goals & favorites, have now evolved into strictly monthly favorites posts.

Starting this blog and teaching myself the new skills that come with the territory has also opened doors for me that I never would’ve anticipated a year ago. I’ve gotten work doing some freelance writing, landed partnerships with some incredible brands, and have found work as a marketing assistant with my new toolbelt of skills! I’ve clearly found some new passions and some new things I’m good at and it’s exciting to think about how these opportunities will help carry me forward.

As I’ve been recapping the last year on the blog, I think the most amazing thing to note is the growth of the “brand.” It’s been really cool to look at all my blog covers, the graphics I started out with, and my social media posts because there’s a clear shift in the branding of it all. It represents me getting a better handle on this new world I found and finding myself in this new form of artistic expression.

I’ve certainly learned that plans don’t always work out. There have been plenty of weeks throughout the year where pumping out a blog post was just not possible due to conflicts, writers block, or mental exhaustion. In my first year, I felt like it was more important to just get the content on, both here and on my social media. But I’m a believer in quality over quantity. In my second year, I’m hoping to produce content that is helpful, fun, and inspiring and don’t want to sacrifice the quality of my writing to meet a deadline I made for myself.

I’ve learned to take breaks. From working, from creating content, and from scrolling the internet trying to build my brand. It’s all important work but it can be extremely time consuming and mentally exhausting. I’ve learned that I’m not for everyone, and that’s ok. Looking at some of the stats can definitely hurt sometimes. It stinks to see I’ve lost email subscribers or Instagram followers. But, at the end of the day, I don’t need the people who aren’t interested in supporting this journey hanging onto my coat tails.

I’ve learned that I DO have a wonderful little community of people who love and support me, and I’m very lucky for that. Most importantly, I’ve learned that what I have to say DOES matter. I’ve found a part of my voice that was missing and continue to fill my cup every day by working on my own little slice of internet heaven.

My tagline is “All Passions. All People.”

Thank you for supporting me and my newfound passion, you beautiful and amazing people!

I’m forever grateful! Here’s to another incredible year!

Lots of love!!!

~ Ang

How I’ve Kept My Love of Theatre Alive

How I’ve Kept My Love of Theatre Alive

How I've Kept My Love of Theatre Alive

Hey Hey!

I hope you’re all doing well, friends!

I’m particularly excited about this week’s post because it is centered around one of my greatest passions: THEATRE! For anyone new here who may not know, theatre is not only one of my passions, it’s what I hope to pursue professionally! I’ve been dancing and performing in theatre for as long as I can remember and last year, I received my B.A. in Musical Theatre from DeSales University! *whoop whoop*

Two months before I was set to graduate, perform in my senior showcase, start work with a professional theatre company, and hit the ground running in the theatre industry, the whole world shut down. Broadway shut down, and it has been shut down until, well, now. Fortunately, things for individuals in the performing arts industry are FINALLY starting to look up and some theatre is set to start happening slowly but surely all over the country.

You might be thinking “wow. a year is a long time to go without work in your field” or “wow. how do you even keep that passion alive?” All good questions, my friend. And the truthful answer? It’s been hard as hell. Beyond hard, really. I don’t even think there is a word in the dictionary yet to describe what artists have been through in the last year+. But armed with resilience and many, MANY years’ worth of armor built up to fight rejection, we persevered, and we continue to do so every. damn. day.

While it’s been hard and I’ve had many days where I contemplate changing career paths completely and the first note of my favorite cast album brings me to tears and I have to turn it off because it’s too much to bear, on the flip side, I have tried really hard to keep my love, craft, and skills alive and thriving! Now, if you’re a creative reading this and you’re like “Angela, I haven’t done a damn thing and I DID change career paths,” then I want you to know that what you have/have not done does not make you any less of a creative. Every creative individual has processed and gone through this journey in their own way; there is no right or wrong way to do it. I applaud you for simply making it to this point.

*end rant*

Today, I want to share with you some ways in which I’ve kept my craft alive and some tools/people/groups I’ve connected with to help me do so! Here are some ways I’ve kept theatre alive in my life!

Dance From Home

I’ve written about my experience with Dance From Home before, and if you’ve read any of my Monthly Minute posts since November, you know that I am a BIG fan of their programming and mission. I can’t even really recall how or when exactly I stumbled across the DFH or Megan Bowen’s (the owner and CEO) Instagram pages, but I started out doing a free 14-day challenge, and the rest is history!

When Megan’s programming switched from individual classes/small class packages to a monthly membership, I wasn’t sure if myself and my wallet would be ready to make the transition, but I am SO glad I took a leap of faith!

I’ve been a member of DFH’s Ensemble Membership since the beginning of 2021 and I can’t even begin to describe what I’ve gained from this program. A little breakdown of what a week in the membership looks like: Monday/Wednesday are choreography classes (with different instructors throughout the month) and Tuesday/Thursday are Broadway Dance Cardio classes to a playlist of Broadway tunes (yes, they are themed!). In choreography classes, half the combo is taught Monday and it is finished and elaborated on Wednesday. Megan also recently added back Dance Cardio classes on Saturday mornings as part of the new Dance Cardio Club Membership (these weekend classes are also included in the Ensemble Membership package).

Whether you are a dancer and want that choreo class or you’re simply looking for the cardio, DFH has a package for everyone. To be explicit like Megan would want me to be, these programs are not designed for weight loss. Sure, weight loss may be a wonderful added benefit to joining, but that isn’t the purpose. The main purpose is to get the community reconnecting with their bodies and their love for musical theatre through these means!

AND, in case you weren’t already sold, every month DFH hosts one Masterclass Workshop with a Broadway Professional! We’ve worked with people from Kiss Me, Kate, Six, Hamilton, and April is….WICKED! You can get more info and sign up for the workshop on April 20th HERE!

The DFH programming has helped me keep up with my dancing abilities, and it has also really helped me learn to embrace my body and my movement. It’s taught me to be less of a perfectionist as a dancer, and I feel so much more connected to my body which in turn makes me feel more confident as a dancer. The cardio classes have helped me build and maintain stamina and strength so I can feel ready to go when theatre comes back in full force!

Monologue Consults with Shaun Leisher

If you’re a theatre artist, I’m sure you can relate when I say monologues are a b*tch to find. I still can’t seem to understand why it’s so hard to find really great monologues but it’s hard, nonetheless. Sometimes, you just have to turn to the professionals! If you’re anything like me and you’ve spent the pandemic searching for great material to no avail, I highly recommend calling up Shaun Leisher! Shaun is a Philadelphia-based dramaturg, producer and arts education advocate. While I haven’t actually met Shaun in person yet (lol, the pandemic life), he and I have many, many mutual friends and by the grace of God and the internet, we connected via social media!

Shaun offers quite an incredible service: after a 30-minute phone call with him, he will hand select about 3 monologues that suit your abilities and the artistic attributes you want to highlight. Boom. That easy. Shaun and I had an enriching 30-minute phone call and in a super quick turnaround time, he presented me with a handful of incredibly specific new material to add to my book that I truly NEVER would have found on my own!

If you head to Shaun’s Instagram you can click the link in his bio and choose to schedule you monologue consult call! Trust him with your vision and your work, you will not regret it!

TheatreWorksUSA: TWUSA.TV

TWUAS.TV is something new that I’ve recently integrated into my at-home theatre artist life and it’s too cute not to share! Not only have I continued to work on my personal craft as a theatre artist during this time, but I have also taken this time to familiarize and educate myself in other areas of the theatre industry. Enter, TWUSA! I have always loved kids and I believe that access to enriching art is extremely vital for young children and their families. TWUAS does exactly that! Through their programming they help bring engaging, exciting, and inclusive theatre to a wider audience of young people whether it be through educational programs or their home life!

One way that they’ve continued to do this during this uncertain time is through TWUSA.TV! With this online streaming platform, children and their families can bring the magic of live performance right into their homes! Educators can also utilize the platform to bring enriching theatre directly into the classroom (both in person and online) and into their lesson plan!

One reason why I love being a performer so much is because you never know whose life you may impact through your performance, and I’ve especially thought about this in my experience doing children’s theatre. I believe it is important to foster one’s love of theatre and performance if it develops from a young age, and what better way to nurture that passion than by bringing theatre straight into the homes or classrooms of children who may not have access to it otherwise?

If you’re interested in TWUSA.TV for your little ones or the classroom you can check it out HERE!

Other Things!

After nearly a year without a voice lesson, I decided to find a new voice teacher! If you feel like, vocally, you’re ready to get back into training or like you have a new goal you’d like towards then I highly suggest getting yourself back into voice lessons! Obviously, it’s a financial commitment, but if you’re fortunate enough to find a teacher with sort of a “revolving door,” where you can choose how often you take lessons, then I absolutely think it’s worth it! I love, love, love my new teacher and I’ve experienced such growth in just a handful of lessons!


Good News!

And finally, some good news! I mentioned in the beginning of this post that my senior class’s showcase got cancelled in March of last year as the pandemic was happening- a WEEK before we were supposed to go to NYC. You can read my reflection of those prior happenings in my post “The Show Must Go On.”

The good news is, a little over a year later, most of my fellow showcase members and I were able to safely come together a few weeks ago and FILM our showcase to send to agencies digitally!!! It’s times like these I’m grateful to live in a technological world. Nine out of the twelve of us were able to gather together at our college after proper testing took place, and we spent a weekend rehearsing, reconnecting, and having the opportunity to showcase the work that has been waiting in the shadows for a year.

How I've Kept My Love of Theatre Alive

Connecting with my classmates a year later was equal parts nerve wracking and exciting. Some of them I hadn’t seen since we left college last March so abruptly, so I was a little nervous, not gonna lie! But like the true friends these people are, we were able to pick right up where we left off and we had the best time working together again. We’ve all grown so much as individuals outside of the pressure of the college theatre environment, and I think we actually all connected so much better than we ever have before.

Seeing people perform in front of me was magical. Being granted the opportunity to go back to college for 3 days and perform alongside some of the most outrageously talented people I know was magical. And being reminded of what I was put on this earth to do was also magical.

For as many times as I’ve felt like giving up on my dream of a theatre career, these 3 days reminded me that I SHOULD NOT give up any time soon. Keep working to make your dreams happen, friends. They are coming to you, even though it may not be evident in every moment of every day. Your hard working will pay off, your dreams will become your reality, and the world will be a better place because of it!

Lots of love!

~ Ang