Dressed in an oversized top hat, then 5-year-old and current senior Chloe Kerwin walked out onto the Mission Theater stage, making her acting debut as the ringmaster of the circus-themed show. As she conducted and led the animals, played by fellow kindergartners, she never felt an ounce of stage fright, only pure adrenaline. When the curtain closed, she knew she had found something she would continue for the rest of her life: performing.
“My parents were like ‘Wow you’re blessed, you already know what you want to do this young,’” Kerwin said. “They probably thought I was going to grow out of [acting], but I stuck with it my whole life.”
At a young age, Kerwin took acting classes at the Coterie to learn the essential skills that every actress needed: how to memorize scripts, project voice and perform through improv games and activities. Now, 13 years later, these skills have taken her to Emerson College in Boston, where she will pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in acting.
Throughout high school, Kerwin participated in countless musicals and plays through school and local theater companies. Summers were consumed with making short films with her cousin and sister as well as memorizing monologues. During the school year, she attended lengthy practices for her role of the Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella” at East, which often interfered with school work.
Nonetheless, Kerwin embraced every role she played. Whether it was a flamboyant, rainbow shirt and pigtail-wearing girl in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” or a psychotic child in “The Children’s Hour.” After each show, she would analyze pictures of herself that her mom took to see what she could improve on, such as bigger actions or more emotion.
“Every show that I’ve done is like a building block,” Kerwin said. “It’s like every single show I do is leading to something—my career.”
In 2013, Kerwin signed with Exposure, a local talent agency that casts short films, voiceovers, commercials and feature films. She had to adapt to performing for a camera, unlike a live audience like she was used to. In order to audition for some roles she had to leave school early, because she knew that acting opportunities were more important for her career than trig functions.
All of the musicals, short films, auditions and hard work she went through, paid off. In December, she auditioned for Emerson’s performing arts program, and made the cut.
Kerwin never had to think twice when someone would ask what she was doing with her life after high school, because she was always able to confidently answer, ‘acting.’
While she doesn’t know where her career after college will take her, at Emerson, she’ll be able to prepare for wherever her childhood dream takes her.
“Some people love drawing or sports and that’s what they love to do,” Kerwin said. “Well, this is what I love to do and it’s all I really think about.”