PORT ANGELES — Marley Reeder, a teenage playwright, performer and 2022 Sequim High School graduate, will receive the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts’ first Make Believe Scholarship this weekend, shortly before she starts college at the University of Oregon.
There’s nothing make-believe about the award: $3,000, presented by Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts (JFFA) and its collaborator PA Panto. Reeder, 18, has been performing with PA Panto, a musical theater group, for five years now.
This Saturday evening, she’ll appear in the one-person show “Pinocchio Tells the Truth … After Hours,” written by PA Panto founder Shannon Cosgrove.
Show time is 5 p.m. at the Blackbird Café, 336 E. Eighth St., Port Angeles.
The short production has Pinocchio giving a kind of TED talk, Reeder said.
“It’s about what it’s like living in a fairy tale, and giving tips and tricks about fairy-tale land,” the performer said.
As for the scholarship, “I’m just very thankful for it,” she added. “My financial situation is a little rough, and this is going to help me get where I want to go.”
Reeder plans to major in family and human services at the University of Oregon in Eugene, where school starts for her next week.
Kyle LeMaire, JFFA executive director, said he hopes to award a Make Believe scholarship each year to a student in Clallam County. The 2022 award “is a celebration of all of Marley’s contributions to the arts, with the support of the Blackbird Café,” he said.
In 2021, Reeder wrote and directed her own original panto, “The Beanstalk and the Farm Boy,” along with fellow Sequim performer Emily McAliley; the show played to a sold-out audience last summer, LeMaire noted.
Working on the theatrical stage inspires Reeder, she said, because it teaches her about empathy.
“I like to put myself in other people’s positions and learn about ways other people can deal with things … It’s nice to work with different people from the community. I’ve gotten to work with people of every single background and age.”
This fall, PA Panto, JFFA and the Peninsula College Drama Department will present “Goldilocks and the Ultimate Rampage,” a comedy interweaving singing, dancing and irreverence.
The show is set to open Dec. 9 and run through Jan. 1 at the Little Theater at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.
To learn more about this and other events JFFA will present during the coming season and to support the nonprofit foundation’s scholarship, phone the office at 360-457-5411, email [email protected] or visit JFFA.org.
Diane Urbani de la Paz is a freelance writer and photographer living in Port Townsend.