2021 Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift Recipient for Overtures: Caelyn Sommerville

Blog: 2021 Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift Recipient for Overtures: Caelyn Sommerville

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Overtures taught Caelyn that “there is only one, unique, Caelyn.”

Signature’s Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner shared that, “Caelyn is a remarkable talent. She proved throughout Overtures that she has a bright future ahead of her in musical theatre, and we are sure the Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift will help launch Caelyn forward on her chosen path.”

After the application and selection process, Caelyn was chosen as the 2021 recipient of the Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift recipient for Overtures. The Gift of $2,500 is awarded to one participant each year for demonstrating excellence in their work and is to be used for educational purposes. A panel reviews applications to evaluate the applicants on the following criteria: growth, work ethic, contribution and future planning.

About Caelyn Sommerville

Performing was an important part of Caelyn’s life, but after enduring consistent challenges during her childhood, Caelyn explained that “singing and performing were no longer a safe haven,” and she decided to quit performing altogether.

Then, she developed a new mindset as she prepared for Overtures, continuing her healing and learning process throughout the two-week intensive program. Every day, she told herself: “you’re here to learn and grow and to have fun.”

Now, she has exciting plans for that future that include part-time school, dance classes, voice lessons with a new vocal coach, marriage to her long-time girlfriend and travel with their daughter—plus continued therapy to keep her “grounded and focused” and, of course, “auditioning and showcasing her talent.”

What Overtures Taught Caelyn

Overtures helped Caelyn believe in herself and helped her “feel safe to perform again.”

Caelyn shared that she not only learned she was unique, but said: “I started to believe it. I believe, because of my own experiences, that I have something to bring to the table that no one else has. I believe there isn’t anything to prove. I believe I am talented and that that will shine through. I believe I am enough. I believe that I am meant to do this. Overtures gave that back to me.”

With the help of coaches and instructors, Caelyn learned to “really play and to stop taking myself so seriously when it comes to performing. I learned I am not perfect and I never will be. For the first time in my life, that statement felt freeing.”

Caelyn also described Overtures as helping her “expand her understanding and perspective of not only theatre, but the world at large. I realized it’s never personal, and I know now that I am enough—and if I am not enough, the role, show, company isn’t for me anyway, and that’s okay. Overtures also reinforced my love for theatre and my love of story-telling. I learned how much should go into the development of a character, to truly make them a real human…it’s in that work that then allows any audience member, from any background, to make a connection at the most basic human level. Theatre is so needed in this world because I truly believe it is able to connect us all.”

Caelyn’s final thoughts about Overtures and the Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift:

“The financial award being offered would benefit my budding career so immensely. I have never had real training, besides my time in Overtures, so most of the money will be contributing to my continued education in musical theatre…there is no stopping me now.”

From Director of Education David Zobell:

“Caelyn proved herself on a daily basis during Overtures that she cares deeply about her work as an artist. That care, matched with her compassionate heart, consistently leads to performances filled with craft and authenticity. We at Signature feel honored to award Caelyn the Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift and look forward to seeing Caelyn’s musical theatre career blossom.”

Check out the Overtures Showcase here (Caelyn’s performances are included at the 53 minute mark and the 1:17 mark):

Overtures Showcase

About the Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift

About Overtures