Leading Lady Excels On and Off the Stage

This weeks Whiz Kid Sarah Vandewalle was cast as Belle in Danvers High School's upcoming production of Beauty and the Beast.

This weeks Whiz Kid is senior, and budding thespian Sarah Vandewalle. Vandewalle has been a member of DHS Academy Theatre for all of her four years of high school, performing in three productions each year.  This year she was cast in the leading role of the Danvers High School production of Beauty and the Beast, as Disney Princess Belle. 

The most rewarding part of acting for Vandewalle is, “the opportunity you have to be someone else. You can say, feel, and do things you never would otherwise. I also love being able to make an audience feel something, whether it be sadness, excitement, or laughter.” 

She recalled her most challenging role to date as playing Lady Capulet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. “She is a woman and mother older than me, in a completely different time and society, and speaking in very complicated language,” Vandewalle described. “Just memorizing the lines was tough!” 

In preparing for her role for Beauty and the Beast, Vandewalle has been considering her audience, and what it really means to be a Disney Princess. “We're hoping a lot of children will come see the show, so I want to cater toward them somewhat. I also want to be that wholesome, pure, kind, brave, and intelligent young lady that all the Disney Princesses represent,” she said.

Besides her interests in the theater, Vandewalle participates in the North Shore Youth Symphony Orchestra Select Flute Choir, as well as a four-year member of the DHS Chamber Singers. She is also Head Marshall at graduation, and can claim a Harvard Book Award and National Merit Scholarship Commended Scholar.  Most recently, she was awarded with the Massachusetts Certificate of Academic Excellence by Superintendant Dr. Lisa Dana.

When asked who inspires her the most, she said rather than crediting one person, she finds inspiration when witnessing random acts of kindness all around her, and especially good deeds. “Everyone has something inspiring in them,” she said. “Someone on the train picking up a woman's dropped purse, a friend making a point to talk to someone who is on their own at lunch.”

In the fall Vandewalle plans to pursue her passion for theater by majoring in drama in college, and hopes to take on a second major in English or education. For now she is busily preparing for her leading role, and hoping to delight audiences in the show, which will run on Veteran's Day weekend Thursday-Saturday.

Whiz Kid’s Name: Sarah Vandewalle

Whiz Kid’s Age: 17 years old

Whiz Kid’s School and Grade: Danvers High School senior

Whiz Kid’s Accomplishemnt: Cast in the lead in the Danvers High School production: Beauty and The Beast

Whiz Kid’s Keys To Success: "A smile is a curve that sets everything straight." I believe having a positive attitude toward your life, other people, and anything you do makes things a lot easier and a lot more fun. ~Sarah Vandewalle

Whiz Kid’s Advise To Others: One of my English teachers always told us, "Do your job." The best thing I can do for anything I'm working on is to truly give it all of my attention and thought.  If you don't do something right, it's probably not worth doing at all. ~Sarah Vandewalle


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