Help Grow Three Legged Chair!
Three Legged Chair makes original musicals with kids. The students create everything—the story, theme, characters, script, melodies, lyrics, costumes, set, everything—from their own imaginations.
We support children through a transformative process of full self-expression. The students who walk in the door on the first day are not the same as the ones who take their final bow. Their shyness falls away as they find bold, strong voices. They start to jump in, share their hearts, and throw out ideas without worrying if they are 'right.' They learn to value everyone's input in building something as an ensemble. These skills stay with them. No matter what they go on to do in their lives, they participate in the world as artists: seeing opportunities to innovate, change, and create something new that wasn't there before.
What is Three Legged Chair?
Three Legged Chair™ is a musical theatre creation company in New York City, founded and owned by three women. We met in 2009 when we each got a job at a summer camp running the elementary school program. That summer, we became our own tight-knit ensemble of three, and created our first original, student-generated musical. With 30+ collective years of experience in the worlds of professional theatre and arts education, the three of us knew we had landed on something special in our collaboration. We decided to create Three Legged Chair.
After a few years of learning the entrepreneurial ropes we took the leap and ran our first, stand-alone Three Legged Chair summer camp! We called it Make-A-Musical™ Summer Camp 2013 and for the first time we created, produced, marketed, & funded the camp; as well as doing what we do best: teaching, writing, composing music, directing, choreographing, costuming, & designing a musical (and going a little crazy) with 12 kids in 2 weeks!
The unique thing about our camp is not that the kids learn to sing, act and dance (although they do—with high caliber technique). What is unique about us is that we pay close attention to the creative spirit of each child, so that every child discovers their extraordinary voices—their singing voices, acting voices, writing voices, inner voices—and all are heard in their most honest, highest-potential-type way. And with that, we lead the kids through the unknown of creativity, show them how to bravely play there, and watch them come out the other side with wild confidence as they see their imagination expressed in a work of art. Not many people will promise this, but we do. Because we know it's worth it. And we always deliver.
After the first camp, we started to create a buzz among families and this past spring we made our passion project official! We incorporated our company, hired an accountant, opened a bank account, and produced Make-A-Musical™ Summer Camp 2014. Our Three Legged Chair partnership turned 5-years-old this summer. We've worked hard, built a tried-and-true business model, and now it’s time to take Three Legged Chair to the next level!
Where do we want to go?
We want to offer more Three Legged Chair programming throughout the year to…
1) All ages! We want to expand our work to high schools, colleges, and adults.
2) The world at large! We want to grow our community internationally: giving camps across the globe, and offering virtual classes on YouTube.
3) All media! We want our musicals to be seen on theatre stages everywhere, in bestselling storybooks, in movie theaters, on Broadway, and beyond!
What do we need to get there?1) Three Legged Chair needs the three of us—our full focus, time, and energy. But right now we’re doing Three Legged Chair work AFTER work. Every week we work on the company in between and after finishing our jobs that are not related to Three Legged Chair. We can only get so far that way.
2) Three Legged Chair needs big-price-tag foundational services. Documents to protect our intellectual property and branding, an operating agreement, regular tax accounting, an administrative infrastructure, website maintenance, a budget to film and edit videos of our shows, a marketing plan—ugh, don’t get us started! We’re good at figuring things out as we go, but we’ve reached a critical point where we can’t do it all on our own, or pay for it out of our own pockets—we need to hire experts if we want these things to be done correctly.
3) Three Legged Chair needs a scholarship program. This summer we had to turn away several families who wanted to enroll in our camp but couldn’t afford the tuition. And we couldn’t afford to grant scholarships. We want to create the Three Legged Chair Make-A-Donation™ Scholarship Fund.
How will your money help us?
1) You’ll help countless students grow their confidence through more Three Legged Chair programming.
2) You’ll help us cover our Three Legged Chair foundational expenses so that we will be structured, protected, sustainable, and free to expand our reach to more students!
Thank you for your support!
The Three Legs
Katie Knipp Willis - Director + Acting Coach
Has been working as a teaching artist for 8 years. She is a certified Lucid Body Instructor, and has taught the technique to professional actors with the Lucid Body studio in NYC as well as Kansas City, MO. She has been a member of the acting faculty at The Yale School of Drama Graduate Program, and NYU/Stella Adler Conservatory. She teaches with Wingspan Arts, where she was Director of the Wingspan Summer Conservatory Elementary Program for 3 years. She has also taught with TADA Youth Theatre, Girl Scouts of America, the Convent of the Sacred Heart, and her own Pre-K Shakespeare Class in the West Village. Previously, Katie served for two years as Assistant Director for The Young Company High School Summer Conservatory with the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Katie coaches acting privately for high school, college and theatre auditions. Katie's favorite acting performances: starring in the one-woman play, Bad Dates, in New York City; acting in South Pacific with the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, and in A Little Night Music and A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre.
Kiara Duran - Musical Director + Composer
Has been encouraging kids to create and shine ever since she was a kid herself and brings this vocation to everything she does. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Minor in Theatre from the University of Miami and teaches private voice, piano, guitar, songwriting and Spanish lessons in New York City. Kiara is in demand as a vocal coach in the recording studio and has a high acceptance rate preparing students for performing arts school auditions. She has also worked as a Teaching Artist with Wingspan Arts designing and implementing arts curricula for after-school classes and was the Musical Director for its Summer Conservatory Elementary Program for three years. Kiara’s favorite songwriting awards include the prestigious Abe Olman Scholarship Award for Excellence in Songwriting from The National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters Hall of Fame and an AriZoni Theatre Award of Excellence for Original Musical Composition. She has performed in various venues in NYC including The Duplex Theatre, The Bitter End and Avery Fisher Hall. To learn more about Kiara and listen to her music, please visit www.kiaraduran.com.
Erin Gorski - Playwright + Dramaturg
Has been teaching since her work study days at the University of Connecticut, where she received her BFA in Acting. After running the acting and play creation component of Yale University's Child Study Program, she spent two wonderful years as an Artist-in-Residence at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, teaching playwrighting and acting while performing on and off the Main stage. She has worked with New York's Wingspan Arts for over six years, directing, teaching acting, improvisation, scene study and playwrighting to Kindergarten through High School students. She was also the Director of Programming and the advanced English language teacher at Camp España, an international summer camp for 11-17 year old students located on the southern coast of Spain. Erin coaches acting privately and has her own academic tutoring company, covering everything from elementary education right up through advanced math, science, SAT prep and college application preparation. To find out more about her work as a performer please visit her website: www.eringorski.com.