By Amy Wenk
Buckhead natives and 1991 Westminster School graduates Kendrick Phillips and Kate Guyton grew up together in the arts.
As young girls, they performed ballet side by side in a local production of “The Nutcracker.” As high school students, they were so eager to learn about music and theater that “we pretty much slept” at Westminster, Phillips said.
But after graduation, the two devoted themselves to the dramatic arts in different cities.
Guyton headed to New York and has made it big as a Broadway performer and television actress.
Phillips returned to Atlanta after studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She soon opened the Metropolitan Theatre Conservatory in North Fulton for arts education and training in theater and film (www.metropolitanconservatory.com).
But the two reunited in late July to foster a love of arts in a new generation.
Guyton joined Phillips as a drama instructor for the Broadway Bound audition boot camp, an annual offering of the conservatory held the week of July 20 at Davis Academy in Sandy Springs.
“I heard the students are really smart, and they are really hard-working,” said Guyton, who last year performed in a Broadway production of “Cyrano de Bergerac” with Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner. She has made television appearances on shows such as “Rescue Me” and “Law & Order” and teaches at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she received her graduate degree.
“It’s a very selective process,” Guyton said. “For me, I thought that was really important in making sure they were all really excited about working and trained well.”
The camp instructs children in musical theater and the Broadway audition process to “try to prepare them for what it’s like in the real world,” Phillips said, and to provide them with the “tools needed to survive in the industry.” For instance, participants learn about headshots, résumés and agents.
“It’s not just about putting on a show,” Guyton said. “It’s also about the training and the process.”
Only eight youths were selected for the five-day workshop from 100 applications.
One participant was 15-year-old Rachel Stein, a rising 10th-grader in the theater magnet program at North Springs Charter High School.
“I would love to be a professional performer,” said Rachel, who began working with Phillips as a fourth-grader. “My goal is to end up on Broadway as an actress.
“I love working with Ms. Kendrick. She is so good with kids. She understands how to work with a variety of ages, and she’s just great.”
Phillips has held performing arts camps in Atlanta for 10 years.
“We create lifelong learners,” said Phillips, who founded four trademarked enrichment programs endorsed by the Fulton County Board of Education, such as “In Love With Shakespeare.” “We want them to learn from people who have really taken the time to study their craft.
“We want to teach children that you just can’t come in one day and know it all. This is a lifelong journey. … We all learn and grow from each other.”