Farmer Focus: Junior Michelle Clyburn

'The [theater] community here is really nice and it [makes] me feel safe.'


Valerie Benzinger

"You can say we’re like a family. We can [always] count on one another."

This week’s Farmer Focus is junior Michelle Clyburn who performs in theater hoping to make the audience experience strong emotions during her performances.


Beach or pool: Beach

Grapes or peaches: Grapes

Winter or summer: Winter

Movies or board games: Movies

Online shopping or in-store shopping: In-store shopping


Q: How long have you been in theater and what made you want to join the theater program in high school?
A: “I began theater in elementary. I’ve been in theater [for] six years. Theater was something I was always interested in. The [theater] community here is really nice and it [makes] me feel safe.”

Q: Who has impacted you most in theater? How?
A: “I would say Paige Woelke. She encourages you to be better and doesn’t make you feel bad when you mess up. You can definitely come to her with anything. She’s very supportive.”

Q: How long do you study for theater, and how do you balance this with schoolwork?
A: “We usually study with theater sometimes a month and a half [before a show] and I hardly balance it with schoolwork. I would practice lines and get my schoolwork done. Auditioning has a lot of anxiety involved.”

Q: What’s your favorite memory from being in theater? How did it make you feel?
A: “I really liked playing Jean in ‘August: Osage County’ last year; it was a really nice moment for me to perform in front of others. I love that show so much. It just had a lot of good, warm energy. I [got] that same energy from ‘The Little Mermaid’ too.”

Q: How close is the bond with your peers in theater? What makes you so close to them?
A: “We’re very close, we tell each other most things. You can say we’re like a family. We can [always] count on one another.”

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to join theater?
A: “Come prepared and have an optimistic outlook. It might seem overwhelming, but you’ll get through it.”

Q: How often do you rehearse your lines and monologues? How long does it take?
A: “All the time, any free time I have. I have a busy schedule so it’s not a lot of time that I do have.”

Q: What do you hope to accomplish from taking theater?
A: “I want to build up my portfolio and stuff like that. I kind of want to put myself out there and get to know more people.”

Q: How do you feel on stage in front of everyone when you perform?
A: “I feel great; I don’t really get stage fright anymore like I used to. Being able to put on a show for people is fun. I usually just feel very at peace. I’ll be nervous before I go out and then once I’m out it’s just [a relief].”

Q: Have you study theater outside of school, where?
A: “I’ve only done it at one community theater, it was called Ohlook. It was nice. I learned a lot. I had to write my own monologue for Ohlook, so I created a character and I was this really stressed girl.”