Ella Smith, 18, from Battle Creek, is a student at Kellogg Community College studying Business Management.
Smith is the current standing president of the popular Encore Theatre Club at Kellogg Community College. She has utilized her position as leader of Encore to guide the group and community through hosting, as well as joining in on, many joyous events such as Encore’s production of “Clue: On Stage” and the recently held “Bloodwood Masquerade Murder Mystery Party.”
Griffin Ward: What first drew you to Encore Theatre Club?
Ella Smith: I have been involved in Encore even before I was a student. Because Encore meetings are open to the community, I have been attending since I was in high school. What really made me want to join the club when I finally came to KCC was wholeheartedly the community. I had already seen how supportive of a community Encore can foster, and I was excited to jump into it as a KCC student. Additionally, I have had a huge passion for theatre since I was 9 years old. Finding people who shared this passion within my college was incredibly exciting.
GW: What made you decide you wanted to take on a leadership role in the club?
ES: I was drawn to a leadership position in this club because I saw an opportunity to revitalize it after the pandemic; Encore had to be completely brought back after taking a break to keep people safe. When I stepped up, with the help of a few other students, we brought back weekly meetings and started planning events. Additionally, we worked to make sure that we were following CDC guidelines and keeping people safe as we began to meet. About halfway through this semester, we had official elections. I was elected as president and now could not imagine it any other way. I feel so lucky to lead such an incredible group of creative, kindhearted people.
GW: What would you say is your favorite thing about leading the theatre club?
ES: By far, the best part of leading Encore is the community. I cannot express how fulfilling it is to see so many welcoming, supportive people in one place. Being even a small part of making this group possible is worth all of the effort and more. There have been moments during my time as president in which I have been truly overwhelmed by the support of this community. Watching them all have the opportunity to shine on that stage and grow, both as performers and people, is so rewarding.
GW: The theatre club recently hosted a murder mystery party at KCC. What was the decision-making process behind putting the event together?
ES: The process of putting on “The Bloodwood Masquerade Murder Mystery Party” was fairly straightforward. Encore has put on two murder mystery parties in the past, one of which I hosted myself. Additionally, the murder mystery party we threw last year won Program of the Year at the Outstanding Bruin Awards. Because of the campus and community excitement over these events in the past, our officer team decided to put on another this fall. It took much marketing, organizing and communication, but it was worth all of the efforts.
GW: Are there any other events in the works for your club that you’d like readers to know about, and if so what would you like to share about them?
ES: I would like to take a moment to discuss the full production that Encore put on last semester, “Clue: On Stage.” This show was a huge group project, and it was such a wonderful experience to lead the team in this effort. Looking to the future, Encore is planning to put on another show in the Spring 2023 semester. We aren’t able to announce anything official yet, but make sure to keep an eye out for information on auditions and opportunities to work on this upcoming show. Additionally, Encore productions are a great opportunity to support live theatre by attending performances. We hope that the campus and community continue to support us as we take on even bigger endeavors, as Encore’s goal is always to make sure that we are providing a welcoming and creative outlet for people in our community.
GW: What is something you’d like to tell students or community members interested in joining your club?
ES: As simple as it sounds, I encourage anyone who is interested to just go for it! Theatre can seem pretty intimidating at first, but Encore is one of the easiest ways to give it a try. Participation is never forced, but there is an opportunity to be onstage as much or little as you’d like. As I’ve said before, and I could stress countless times, Encore has a very unique community; the people who attend these meetings are always cheering each other on. We are rooting for each other’s success and offering as much support as we can. This has created not only a lighthearted and very comfortable club, but a true group of friends.