AV Junior Sruthi Kumar teaches children’s theater


Provided by Sruthi Kumar

Anna Fietelberg (’23), Sruthi Kumar (’24), and Lucie Bernard (’23) pose for a photo after their December show.

Though not many pursued the hobby, few can forget the first time they set foot on a stage. With lights blinding your eyes and thousands of words in your mind, it’s time to perform. This feeling is something very special, and people like AVHS junior Sruthi Kumar (’24) make that possible for local kids.

I think I first met Sruthi in school and then found out that we worked together. She was very nice; she went out of her way to make friends with me,” said Keira Weir (‘24).

Kumar works as a Tier 2 Recreation leader for the city of Pleasanton. This means she teaches acting and improv classes at the Firehouse Arts Center.

“Sruthi Kumar is the best camp counselor ever, and you can quote me on that,” said Zoe Wagner (‘24).

The vibrant lights of Pleasanton’s Firehouse Arts Center shine through the night.

Leaders in this sector need to be highly adaptable. Education is no easy task. The ability to teach young kids such a complex skill set requires ultimate flexibility and comfortability with constant change.

I feel like with our job it has to be very go-with-the-flow-y, especially because kids are so unpredictable. You never know what will happen,” said Kumar.

Kumar has a true knack for childcare, having several years of babysitting experience prior to her work at the theater. Her colleagues admire her ability to take charge and keep the attention of her students.

She’s always positive and has a good attitude around the kids; being a good, genuine, and honest role model for them. She knows what she’s doing and asks questions when she doesn’t know, which I think is a good quality,” said coworker Nikolia Garcia (‘25).

Creative outlets are a fantastic way to express complex emotions and expel any pent-up energy from the day. Kumar feels grateful that she is able to provide a safe space for her students, just as her leaders did for her.

To me, improv was an output of my anxiety in life and so it felt really special to be involved in the process of it,” said Kumar.

Not only is Kumar a skilled teacher, she’s also a performer herself. A passionate theater kid since her first show at age 9, she had always taken a liking to performing arts and was a fan of local improv group Creatures of Impulse, a troupe that her older sister was a part of.

“[My sister] was in Creatures of Impulse before me, and I loved it. I thought their shows were really fun, but I didn’t think that I would ever be able to audition for it,” said Kumar.

She got her chance in 2020, and with only one day of preparation she crushed her audition. Kumar has been an active member of Creatures for three years now, and plans to stay until she graduates. Her fellow improvisers recognize her talent both on and off stage.

“Sruthi is a super supportive performer and always knows how to make a scene work well. She’s super talented when it comes to improv, always knowing what a scene needs and how to support everyone else on stage,” said Garcia.

The love for performing that Kumar demonstrates herself is not lost on her students. Her work inspires them to be the best that they can. Kumar reflects fondly on the full-circle aspect of her work.

Every once in a while, I like to remember that I’m bringing a process to kids that made me really happy when I did theater when I was younger. I have memories of doing theater and looking at one of my staff members and being like, I want to be like them when I grow up. It’s so weird to think that I am them now,” said Kumar.