We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Wickline and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Katie, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
At my elementary school, fifth-graders were required to do a spring musical every year. Every student was cast, and I got picked to play Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka Jr (I definitely peaked in this role, by the way). They replaced classes with rehearsals during the school day, and sometimes even recess. Every kid in my class complained through the whole process; why were we missing science experiments and playing outside to learn choreography and silly songs?! I thrived. I loved every second of it. I remember crying when the show closed. Because that meant we had to go back to “normal” life, with math and gym class and boring routines. I felt out of place growing up, but when I got to perform, I felt normal. I could breathe fully for the first time; I wasn’t “too much” or “too loud.” The yearning to create began, and I had to keep going after it, so I’ve been attempting to ever since. Acting teachers love to start their first class with, “if you love anything else, go do that instead!” and I have TRIED. I’ve tried being a barista, sales, teaching chess to preschoolers (long story), braiding doll hair (also a long story), any field out there. I have been very fortunate to find day jobs I’m passionate about and provide steady paychecks. But no matter how fulfilling the job is, the yearning always creeps back in. Some days it’s incredibly frustrating; I wish I could do something more stable and with a higher salary. But once you know your calling, that feeling in your gut that says “this is it!” it’s nearly impossible to run away from it. And life is too short to ignore it. When I’m performing in any capacity, I’m home. I am Fifth Grade Katie again who finally felt like she belonged somewhere, she found a place in the world. It would be such a disservice to myself and my inner child to do anything else.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Pre-COVID, I was a stage actor primarily. I had been performing in plays back-to-back since December 2018, which I still feel incredibly lucky to say. I am very proud of all the projects I took part in. In March, I assistant directed for the first time for 101 Dalmatians Jr at Act3 Productions. It was a blast! I was also in rehearsals with Tipsy Tales for their inaugural production of Robin Hood, which I’m hoping we get the chance to perform eventually. I’m currently pursuing voiceover; I’ve taken classes at the Atlanta Voiceover Studio and coaching with Eileen Kimble. I want to break get into animation in the future, a pursuit that’s scary and exciting. In the pandemic, I’ve been exploring some new creative outlets such as poetry and modeling. Right now, the focus is on the process and having fun, rather than rigid standards or monetizing my endeavors. During the day, I have a couple different survival jobs. They all revolve around education and/or teaching theatre, which keeps every day unique and exciting. Something I’m learning is the importance of building a life for yourself: one that brings you joy & inner peace. Not what your teachers or Instagram tell you will bring happiness or even our industry, but what YOU want. Through trial and error, I learned what teaching jobs I enjoy, and pursued those opportunities. Then I built a schedule that pays the bills and allows time for theatre gigs & auditions. Now, I also carve out time to rest. I am an actor and educator, always. However, I am also a person who needs space to sleep in sometimes, go to therapy, and be creative without expectations.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ok, so we’re thinking Not Pandemic Times here. If it’s their very first time here, we would do the touristy stuff first. I personally love the World of Coke, and yearn for the day I can drink cokes from around the world again, so we would go there and I’d recommend they try Beverly first (because I’m the worst). I also love the High Museum, and then we could go to the Vortex after for dinner and beers. Then, Little Five Points and check out all the cool stores. Hopefully, Rabbithole Industries will be open to look at their crystals (they don’t have set open hours) and end at Java Lords for some drinks and a good time. At some point we would have to do karaoke at 10 High in Edgewood; they have a live band and we would go all out on their Metalsome night. On the last day, we could end as a nice picnic in Piedmont Park, then do Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Plaza Theatre to end on a bang.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oof, so many people come to mind. I’m grateful for that fact alone. From a professional lens, I owe Heidi Howard and all my peeps at 7 Stages a lot; they took a chance on a depressed postgrad with a lot of imposter syndrome. During my internship, I learned I love to teach and create devised theatre. I got to dramaturg, be a stagehand, and even went to Holland, where I wrote a song about ice cream! I’ve grown so much there and made some lifelong friendships. Personally, my mom has been my biggest cheerleader and shoulder to cry on; I would be nowhere without her. And my dad took me to every freaking audition growing up, despite knowing literally nothing about the arts. For that, I’ll be forever grateful.

Website: katiewickline.com
Instagram: @ktmariewick
Other: Email: katiemwickline@gmail.com

Image Credits
Liz Bienne, Sabrina Regier, Wesley Stanfield, Daniel Parvis

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