Irene Miller is the Executive and Artistic Director of Crystal Sea Drama Company. Until this year, she was the only director of the productions at CSDC. When she isn’t directing or teaching classes, she also loves to act, read and scrapbook. She has been married to her husband Larry (pictured above) for almost 35 years and they have nine children ranging in age from 17-32.
Theater has been a crucial part of Mrs. Miller’s life. In fact, she performed in her first play in 2nd grade. Her love of Shakespeare began when she performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in 6th grade. She continued to perform until she started her family.
Amazingly, Mrs. Miller has been directing productions since she was in 5th grade! At that time, she was mostly directing and writing plays for her school. Her first directing experience as an adult was in 2002, but the first full-length show she directed was Little Women of Orchard House in 2004.
Even in college, Mrs. Miller considered having a theater company. Soon after she was married, she even had a dream about it, but it wasn’t until 20 years later that she saw a written advertisement about a local co-op needing a theatre teacher. After they began to rehearse showcase scenes, Mrs. Miller noticed that the room they rehearsed in was just like the room from her dream, about 20 years earlier! Soon, she and Marla Ripps, the director of the co-op, began taking steps towards starting their own theatre. They ended up founding Crystal Sea Drama Company. Here’s the best part of the story. Mrs. Ripps swears she never put out a written advertisement about needing a theatre teacher! Clearly, CSDC was just meant to be!
Although Mrs. Miller has thoroughly enjoyed so many of her plays, her favorite show to direct was Godspell in 2014 -- not only because the performance turned out so polished and fun, but also because the spiritual aspect of the show caused everyone involved to feel as if their lives had been touched by doing the production. Mrs. Miller’s faith in God significantly affects her experiences at the theatre in a positive way. She encourages her students to remember that they are performing for the Lord and to share the message when they perform. Trusting God is essential when one begins to worry about all the details of a production, as every director does.
Mrs. Miller didn’t expect for her theatre classes to grow into a full-fledged company, but she is sure glad it did; we are all glad! She has made some of her closest friends through CSDC. They are all like family. Most of her children were involved in Crystal Sea Drama Company, and now her grandchild is following in their footsteps! CSDC is very special to her, and Mrs. Miller is very special to all of us! We couldn’t begin to express how thankful we are for everything she does!
Finally, these words come from Irene Miller herself:
I am extremely grateful for all of the love, support, and understanding that our staff, parents, and students have offered myself and my family during the last two years as I've been coming and going helping my son, Noah, with his cancer battle. I have prayed for years to have another director to come beside me, and Gwen Kandt has felt called to do that. She arrived just at a point that, had she not come, CSDC might have had to have shut down due to my having to be gone so often. Sharon Newhardt also stepped in to direct at a crucial point and helped keep CSDC going when I was gone. Over the years, so many amazing parents and grandparents have helped us that I can't possibly name them all. But I appreciate each and every one of you! I especially would like to thank two parents who have stayed with us long after their students graduated - Victor Lamphier and Robin Cook. I would also like to thank Mary Huber, Charlotte Gaines, Janet Taylor, and Lisa Lamberson, who helped move us from a drama class to a drama company, and who helped us stay afloat when we were struggling financially. I couldn't do what I do without my interns! Y'all rock! All of the people I have met in this company inspire me to do my best to train students to use the gifts God has given them. Thank you!