From Claremont to Cairo and Back Again

Jul 17, 2023

CLAREMONT, N.H. — For any parent of a devoted Stevens High School thespian during the years of 2004-2019, Larissa Cahill was a household name. 

Entwined avenues of fate led Cahill from Costa Mesa, Calif., to Claremont, in 2004. At that time, two stagecraft-learned men had consecutively tried their hand at teaching drama at Stevens High. Being more involved with the technical aspects of theater, the true academics required held little interest for either. Hired by Stevens the afternoon she moved here, Cahill began a fifteen year reign of bringing the skills, and the joy, of performance into hundreds of young people’s lives.

In 2019, a most unusual opportunity came knocking. Cahill was offered the chance to teach theater arts at an American International School just outside of Cairo. “It was exhilarating and terrifying,” Cahill recounted. Everyday behaviors, “the things you’re certain you know how to do,” she explained, had to be culturally relearned. “It was a challenge, but definitely eye-opening and rewarding,” she concluded.

At the American International School, Cahill provided instruction for introductory, intermediate and advanced level students. There was never a language barrier, but there was a societal difference that was mesmerizing to behold. For example, three students bonded while creating a story about Cinderella and her stepsisters being stranded on a desert island together. Entitled “Ever After Island,” Cahill shared there was nothing “Disney Princess” about it. Also fascinating to observe were the efforts of a tireless seamstress who invoked an Osirian aura to her “Little Mermaid” costumes.

After finishing up the 2023 school year in Cairo, Cahill returned to Claremont as she has previous summers for The Rep shows. This year’s selection, “Leading Ladies,” is dear to Cahill’s heart. She’d directed it for the SHS Class of 2014’s senior play.

However, before arriving, another lure came Cahill’s way. The Claremont Opera House was seeking an interim artistic director. Just as it was for Cinderella and her glass slipper, this opportunity was a perfect fit.

Larissa Cahill has an exciting vision for community engagement. She embraces the possibility of theater and performance opportunities for people of all ages.

“Covid took its toll on the collaborative art forms,” Cahill said. “Children and adults need the ability to get together to express and create.”

Cahill would love to see more area generated performances added to the roster of annual Opera House favorites. She’s thrilled that Executive Director Scott Hagar, Opera House President Felicia Brych Dalke and the board support this community-minded dream.

“Leading Ladies,” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. at the Claremont Opera House, 58 Opera House Square in Claremont, on Aug. 4 and 5. Admission is only $10, and tickets can be reserved at COHNH.ORG, or purchased at the door on the night of performance. And, because of a grant from the Couch Family Foundation, students under 18 can attend the show for free.

Enjoy the show and welcome Larissa Cahill back.


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