Experience at Cedar Hill Encouraged Graduate’s Love Of Music & Theatre
(CEDAR HILL, TX) Over the course of her dozen-year career, Angela Kay (Bloodworth) Collier has entertained and educated thousands of children through acting and directing children’s theatre.
Collier, a 2004 Cedar Hill High School Graduate, said her CHISD teachers played a major role in channeling her love of music and performance into a career where she’s been able to provide the same gift to others.
“Going to Cedar Hill made such an impact on me, specifically my music teachers,” Collier said. “They definitely recognized how important music was to me and took the opportunity to grow that interest.”
Collier, who now teaches voice lessons through AKCollier Studio LLC in North Little Rock, Arkansas, attended Kindergarten through Fifth Grade at Bray Elementary. Collier vividly remembers performing in the 1993 Bray Elementary First Grade Production of “That Goat Has To Go.”
“Band Taught Me To Be A Smart Musician”
“My Kindergarten teacher, Cheryl McKnight, laid the foundation for my education and made me excited about school,” Collier said. “Angie England, my second grade teacher, is an incredible teacher and continues to make an impact in my life, even as an adult.”
While attending West Intermediate School, Collier began playing in the school band. Her instrument was the Oboe, and she continued playing it through her high school days at CHHS.
“I always tell my students that band taught me to be a smart musician,” Collier said. “It helped me further understand the entire process, not just my instrument. Melissa Logan and Sherrilyn Archibald-Ewing were instrumental in encouraging me to continue to study music after high school. They helped me to realize that a career in the arts had so many possibilities and opportunities. Mrs. Burton was the teacher who noticed and encouraged my passion for music.”
Collier was a member of Cedar Hill’s choir and show choir, but ironically, she never participated in high school theatre due to a logistics issue.
“The theater production class conflicted with my music theory class,” Collier lamented.
Still, theatre was an important part of Collier’s life from the time her parents took her to see “Damn Yankees” at Fair Park in Dallas when she was a Bray Elementary fourth grader.
Collier credits her non-music extracurriculars with providing skills that she would learn as the owner of her own studio. She was the President of the National Honor Society, the Vice President of Student Council and part of the yearbook staff.
Using Leadership & Collaborative Skills Learned In School
“These leadership opportunities allowed me to organize and execute large-scale events (like homecoming),” Collier said. “I developed my communication skills and built administrative skills, all within a collaborative environment and led by knowledgeable teachers and staff. Collaborative skills are integral to a career in the arts since you so often have to work well with others.”
Collier utilized her music roots from CHISD when she enrolled at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre in 2008.
“My goal from childhood was to perform on Broadway,” Collier said. “I am 34 years old, and my husband is also a musical theatre actor. Who knows what’s in our future? Just as in theatre, there are seasons in life. Our season now is to stay close to family and make an impact in our community where we live.”
Collier and her husband are the proud parents of a son and a daughter, both under the age of 3.
Teaching Art For Art’s Sake
Upon graduating from OBU, Collier performed and became a teaching artist with the Dallas Children’s Theatre.
“That’s where I caught the bug for being a teaching artist — someone who teaches art for art sake,” Collier said. “I teach for enrichment and the core curriculum, using the arts.”
She later toured Arkansas with a children’s production, “Art To Go”, which is associated with Wildwood Park for the Arts.
Collier and her husband toured the Midwest with the Missoula Children’s Theatre, visiting a different city each week. They took turns acting and directing the shows.
“We traveled to each city in a little red truck,” Collier said. “We were responsible for the set and costumes for 64 kids, scripts. On Monday morning, we held auditions, rehearsed throughout the week and Friday we would perform the show. It was such a fun experience for us.”
That led to an opportunity in Atlanta where Collier worked in the Educational Theatre Program for Kaiser Permanente, a health care provider. She wrote and performed songs, which were distributed to Pre-K through Second Grade schools. They even recorded music for a 12-song compact disc.
Returning To Arkansas
In the last few years, Collier returned to Arkansas where she became the Educational Programs Coordinator for Wildwood Park for the Arts, overseeing arts residencies with five partner schools. She also developed music and arts programs for K-12 students through the Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts (WAMA).
“Our goal was to expose, challenge, and advanced students in their arts endeavors especially in instrumental and vocal music),” Collier said.
Collier currently gives voice lessons for up to 35 students, ranging in age from 8 to adults. In addition to that, she is a teaching artist with the Arkansas Arts Council.
“I teach a variety of styles, but specialize in musical theatre,” Collier said. “Some of my students have gone on to top colleges for musical theatre including NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Oklahoma City University, Syracuse University, and Southeast Missouri State University. I’ve also had students who have been called back after auditioning for Broadway shows and television/movies.”
Collier said COVID-19 has presented challenges with regards to live theatre, but she is looking forward to performing again in the future.
Her advice for aspiring actors and actresses is to audition whenever possible.
“Even if you don’t get cast in the role, you’re learning so much,” Collier said.