By Hogan Webb
Executive Features Editor
Freshman Hailey Staszkow has transformed her passions for drama and helping disabled people into a company, recently starting Anchorless Productions, a theatre company for young adults with disabilities.
Anchorless is currently in the process of putting on a production of Aladdin in June, 2017. Anchorless is responsible for everything regarding the production, from training the students on acting, to scheduling and organizing the event.
“I feel like the work i’m doing is making a difference in their lives,” Staszkow said. “I am bringing out new confidence in them that they didn’t have before, and so that’s why I really love doing this.”
Staszkow began Anchorless in October, 2016. Staszkow decided to start the company after spending multiple years practicing drama, and also volunteering at Mychal’s Learning Center. She then decided to combine her dual interests and start a volunteer company.
“It’s important to start Anchorless Production’s because I feel that it is important for these kids to have the freedom to express themselves and discover the confidence within them,” Staszkow said.
Staszkow and peers meet the disabled students they work with at Mychal’s Learning Place two days a week after school for three hours. The members of Anchorless help the disabled students learn their script lines and practice their roles in the play.
“I love to go to Mychal’s because I can just go and forget about the day and my worries and just go have fun working with these amazing people,” Anchorless team member and freshman Jack Bush said. “It’s not only fun, but it makes you feel so great. When we finish a new scene or dance, the students get so happy and it makes you feel amazing knowing that you’re helping make their days.”
The students Staszkow works with are generally in the ages 18-20. The students have varying degrees of disability, Staszkow said. Some of the students are unable to read or memorize their lines, however, Staszkow said the students always try their absolute hardest.
“Seeing kids that are going way out of their comfort zone and doing things that they wouldn’t normally do has inspired me personally,” Staszkow said. “There are a lot of things that I didn’t think I could do, and now this has reflected in my own life where I use the students as motivation if I ever feel like I can’t do something.”
Staszkow plans to both continue producing plays with Mychal’s Learning Place, as well as expand her company’s services to other local learning centers. She is unsure if she plans to study drama in college, and wishes to keep it as a hobby for now.
“Anchorless Productions unifies students with disabilities and students in Mira Costa and provides the community with an opportunity to come together and create something amazing,” Staszkow said.