Point Park Globe

Pioneer Public – Kendall Claxton

Written By Lauren Clouser, Co-Features Editor

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Senior Kendall Claxton has acted ever since she was four, when she performed for a children’s ministry production company started by her parents. From there, Claxton said her parents encouraged her love for the arts, although she didn’t take acting seriously until middle school where she performed in her first musical “The Wiz.”

“I was Evillene, and the principal at the end of the run asked why I didn’t audition for Dorothy. And I was like ‘Well, I was scared. I didn’t think I was good enough.’ And he gave me encouraging words as to never underestimate my abilities,” Claxton said. 

After middle school, Claxton attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a performance high school in Washington D.C. There, she was able to further develop her skills.

In the summer, Claxton returns to her old high school in order to teach in a two week program for incoming freshman and middle schoolers. Claxton said she enjoys coming back each year because she is able to return with more knowledge to share with a younger audience.

“It’s definitely fun just to be inspired by these students also because they know a lot. They bring a lot to the table. They’re really curious. What I see in them isn’t far off from what I was doing in high school,” Claxton said. 

At Point Park Claxton was a part of two productions, The Bluest Eye and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Claxton said both shows were a great experience.

“Both shows were really relevant to the time that we’re living in now as far as social issues and identity and beliefs and values. Both of those shows really spoke upon that…a lot of opinions of people that saw it considered those two shows some of the strongest shows that Point Park has put on just because of the basis of their stories, they’re really strong,” Claxton said. 

Claxton was recently cast in the stage adaptation of Maya Angelou’s autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” at the New Hazlett Theater. Claxton will play the young Maya Angelou, and is excited for the role because of her connection to the poet.

“I was in seventh grade when I first heard her poetry, and ‘The Phenomenal Woman’ was the first poem that I ever learned,” Claxton said.

This will be Claxton’s final production for her senior year.

“I definitely think being cast in this show is super purposeful, definitely at the right time at where I am in my life artistically and I’m just really excited to be able to tell this story and know the importance of it and just have it be done now,” Claxton said.

The show will take place from March 9 through 18, and is directed by Point Park alum Monteze Freeland.

In the future, Claxton hopes to be able to continue her passion for teaching.

“One of the biggest things that’s always been on my heart to do is have a performing arts center for urban youth, kind of as the substitute for arts education because they’re taking a lot of arts education funding out of schools,” Claxton said.

Although Claxton is unsure of where she wants the center to be, she hopes that it will help students to express themselves.

“It would just be a space for youth to come to express their art and learn the craft, and just have that aspect of education in addition to what they’re receiving in school,” Claxton said.

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