What Theatre Has Taught Me by Oakley Weddle

As I look back on this past year, I think about all the many blessings I have received. Although, there has been rough patches on this long and twisted road, 2016 seems to be one of great importance. This has been the year that I have made the strongest friends, come closer to my family, and realized what I want to be in life.  Since it’s the time of thankfulness, I’ve decided that I’m going to express my gratitude to SDP and the theatre community itself, for teaching me life’s two biggest lessons.

In the last year, a lot has happened for me, good and bad. Well, SDP has given me a place. A place to come in and feel absolutely safe and forget for a two-hour rehearsal. I’d jump into the shoes of Mendel, the rabbi’s son, who is way over controlling and short-tempered; or I’d jump into the shoes of a big green nasty ogre, who is distant from his emotions and wants to be somebody he can’t. I think that’s an amazing thing about theatre. That not just the audience can transport into the world of the story, but the actor can devote so much of his/her emotions into the character, that they actually become it.

What I want to talk about is, what theatre means to me. When it all boils down to it. I think the biggest component to theatre is love and family. The Memphis theatre community has shown me so much love this year, and I’m eternally grateful for that. What do you have without love? A life not worth living. We have all needed love this year and it’s been given and will continue to be given next year and thousands of years after.

The family part of theatre is where SDP comes in. It’s a huge lesson I’ve learned. That lesson is that family is not just who you share blood with, it’s with who you love. What SDP is quite famous for is the SDPfamily hashtag. I think it’s incredibly genius and accurate. Being in shows with people make them your family. You spend months with them, pouring your heart out on the stage and then you have to let them go. But, no matter where you are, gone or here, you are still family.

Stage Door has always been so close to my heart, but it wasn’t until this past February when I lost my brother, Peyton, when they drew me close and loved me unconditionally. They have taught me how to live, be a better person, and realize what I want to do in life, all to honor my family and my brother. They have given me countless opportunities and have sparked my passion for the arts and loving others so much, that you would do anything for them. I don’t think there’s a better way to be thankful. #PEYitforward

 -Oakley Weddle


Oakley Weddle has been a part of the SDP Family from the very beginning. Most recently you have seen him on stage at Shrek in Shrek Jr. and Mendel/Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof. Next up Oakley will be Stage Managing Aladdin Jr. and Assistant Director for Cinderella.