PORTSMOUTH As an actress, Caroline Clay lives life on the go, moving from one place to the other as the jobs present themselves.

Her current job takes her to a familiar spot: home.

Clay will direct 61 students, ages 7 to 17, in a production of “Frozen Jr.” by the Portsmouth Area Arts Council and Children’s Theatre in November. More than 15 schools from Kentucky and Ohio will be represented.

“I was looking for something to fill the September/October slot. I was auditioning for all kinds of things, and even had a few offers, but nothing felt right,” Clay, 25-year-old daughter of Tom and Robin Clay, said.

A friend, Sam Fowler, called to let her know Portsmouth Area Arts Council was looking for a director for “Frozen Jr.” The timing was right. She applied for the job and was hired.

She aid she was excited to get the job.

“I’ve always wanted to work professionally with Sam, and now I finally get that chance. I am also very grateful to be working back in my hometown for a few weeks. As an actor, it’s rare that I get to be so close to home. It’s nice to be able to spend the fall with my family. and I’m honored that the PAAC board trusted me enough to take on this project.”

Clay said she has directed a few times and directing children is unique.

“I have to make sure that I am communicating as clearly as possible and keeping my energy up, so I can effectively teach the cast what they need to know. A job likes this reminds me to have high respect for our public school teachers, that's for sure!” she said. “I also have to stay extremely organized to keep everything straight (choreography, song lyrics, schedules, parent’s contact information).”

She is aided by two student stage managers:  Emily Sessor and Kaitlyn Angus.

She said the stage managers and her actors have been a joy to direct.

“I really lucked out; I couldn’t ask for a better group,” Clay said. “They are smart, hard-working and fun to be around! I think they are having fun, too. My goal is to make every child feel like they are succeeding. If that happens,then I have done my job.”

She said she especially likes the family-oriented theme of the show.

“The ‘true love’ of ‘Frozen’ isn’t between a prince and a princess, but rather two sisters, and I think that’s  a beautiful lesson,” Clay said. “I have a little sister myself, Haley, and I am constantly reminded of her while directing our Elsa and Anna (who also happen to be sisters in real life!)”

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