If you’d have asked me a few years ago, I would have said that theatre is a hobby, but not necessarily self-care. But now I see that it is. It makes you happy and brings you joy, and you have to hold onto the things in life that bring you joy.”

Theatre has been a major part of Ellie Wigham’s life since kindergarten and with a special love for singing and dancing, auditioning for Footloose was a clear choice for her. Now Ellie is balancing a lead role in Footloose with her studies at SCSU! Before Footloose opened, Ellie took the time to share some thoughts on Footloose, her trajectory to theatre, and theatre as self-care.

Currently obtaining her Masters’ Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Ellie’s dive into the character of Ariel is framed in part by her studies. She credits her research into mental health with helping her see the layers behind Ariel and her family’s behaviors. She also sees the virtue of theatre for mental health in general!

Mental health advocacy became something I was super passionate about even in high school, and I knew I wanted to help other people get through whatever low point they’re going through. And for me personally and for a lot of people, theatre is a place to escape reality for a little while. Whether you’re on the stage or you’re in the audience watching, you get to be enthralled in this story. You can shed your own skin and be someone else for a little while, which is a great escape from your troubles.”

And Ellie’s advice isn’t just talk! She is actively engaged in theatre as self care. For Ellie, rehearsals and performing fall under this umbrella, and she looks forward to each one. 

I’m not normally a good self care person to begin with, but I find a lot of self care being here. It’s social time, and it’s a hobby I enjoy. Especially with school and rehearsals, it has helped to balance my lack of personal time. Being here is my personal time.”

With the role of Ariel being Ellie’s first big lead role, she’s thankful for the high energy levels and excitement of the rest of the cast– it makes for the perfect environment to tackle her biggest role yet! 

Obviously Footloose has great dance numbers. The music is great, the dancing is great, and you’ll be able to feel the energy of everyone on stage. Everyone is so excited to be here. By the end of the show you’ll want to dance with us!”

If you haven’t seen Ellie rock the stage as Ariel yet, you have one weekend left– join us at the Paramount Center for the Arts, now until April 21, 2024!