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Alumni Spotlight: Isabel Cooke '12

From the Auditorium stage to the director's chair, Isabel Cooke has made a lasting mark on Calvert's theater program both as a student and a teacher. She directed Calvert's Middle School production of the Little Mermaid in 2023, and resumes her role as director for this year's production of Mary Poppins Jr.

Could you share a bit about your background in theater? 
When I was younger, I took part in a theatre program every year, that had us not only acting but directing and choreographing entire shows. It was super empowering to have that much creative control as a kid, and [it] made me fall in love with theatre. After Calvert, I attended Friends School of Baltimore where I was able to continue singing and performing on a much larger scale. Friends’ musical theatre program made us all feel like we were performing on Broadway! There, I was also able to direct as a student, and during my first two years of college, I came home in the summer and directed Summer Stock at Friends, a four week intensive program that culminated in a full scale musical production. Most recently, I co-produced Katori Hall’s play, On The Mountaintop, at Vagabond Players in Fells Point and of course, have been directing the Calvert musical for the past two years!

What do you enjoy about directing?
I love directing because it is a chance to connect with the kids and provide them with a space of creativity and play. The kids’ dedication and hard work are what motivate me to make the show the best it can be! I love seeing them gain confidence and come into their own.

What is a favorite memory of performing as a Calvert student?
My favorite memory performing as a Calvert student is definitely from my 7th Grade year. We had an amazing drama teacher, Mrs. Goss, whom we all worshiped and [who] showed us the ins and out of improv and acting. With her, we put on Calvert’s first ever musical, “Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Cry Wolf." It was fun to see classmates with a wide range of interests fully invested in a show.

I also have very fond memories of talent show acts I organized with my best friend, Grace Adams '12. She and I would cast, costume, choreograph and rehearse a big musical number to perform in the Calvert talent show with all of our friends. One year, with the help of my dad, mom, and our amazing art teacher, Mrs. Kamp, we even made a set for our performance of “Oh My God You Guys” from Legally Blonde The Musical.

Tell us about the upcoming Calvert production of Mary Poppins Jr.! 
Mary Poppins Jr. is going to be a magical show, in more ways than one!! Alumni should come to see how far Calvert’s theatre program has come.

The Middle School Winter Musical Mary Poppins Jr. will be held on Friday, March 1 at 7:00 P.M. and Saturday, March 2 at 7:00 P.M. in the Lower School Auditorium.

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Calvert School is a coed independent lower and middle school.