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Life & Work with Ally Mulholland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ally Mulholland.

Hi Ally, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I am an actor and the Programs Director at Class Act Community Playhouse. I grew up in Los Angeles with a family who was very involved in the industry which meant I was encouraged to be on stage or in front of a camera at a very young age and I couldn’t be more grateful! I fell in love with being able to express myself through storytelling and sharing with an audience quickly became the place I felt most at home.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I always knew that in tandem with performing, I wanted to share my passion and creativity to inspire the next generation. I was always told if I began teaching, my own career would be over but I’ve found it’s been quite the opposite. Sharing my knowledge and love for the arts with my kids gives me more excitement and drive to pursue my dreams.

One of the reasons I knew I wanted to teach was so that I could give kids a supportive and safe environment to learn and grow artistically which is something I felt like I never had. Growing up in the industry came with a lot of can’ts—you can’t do this, you can’t be that, you don’t look like this so you can’t get that part. I spent most of my life desperately trying to fit into a mold which meant developing an unhealthy relationship with food and hiding my sexuality well into my adult years. It took me a long time to give myself the permission to say, “fuck it! I’m just going to be me!” after being conditioned to be someone else for so long.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I love my job! At Class Act Community Playhouse in Woodland Hills, we are lucky enough to have a growing and thriving youth theatre program. Our program extends all the way through high school and I feel incredibly honored to have the opportunity of being a part of some of these kids’ lives year after year and watching them grow up. They are constantly keeping me on my toes with their curiosities about life and wanting to know and understand every aspect of the world. Some days I feel more like a confidant and a mentor then a director and teacher because I try my best to be an adult in their life that they can always trust. I feel very fortunate that because of my work environment, I get to be very open and honest with my kids and allow them the space to sometimes ask scary and difficult questions.

Sometimes I’m jealous of this generation of kids. It’s mesmerizing to me how open they are with one another and how willing they are to be unapologetically themselves. I will never forget the first Pride when I posted about myself publicly on social media and the immediate response I had from my students. It was as if I’d opened up a portal of queer expectance and understanding for them which felt overwhelmingly special. I craved to see myself in anyone else as a kid and to be a small part of representation for them felt like the greatest honor.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
I love being able to share creatively with them and teach them how to become brilliant performers but I love even more the people we get to be in each other’s lives. I want to always provide a space for them to celebrate their differences and be uninhibited. The thing I try to instill in them the most is being your truest self will be your biggest asset because I wish someone had told me that a lot sooner.

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Image Credits

Ryan’ Brinson Natalie Drue

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