Some discover their talents at an early age and others discover their talent at a much later age. One of these individuals in this vast world who did discover their talent at a much later age is our very own Rachel Tilgner.

You’ve seen her star as Hero in the fall 2015 play of “Much Ado about Nothing” and more recently as Elaine Harper in the spring 2016 play of “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Tilgner is only a freshman and as you read this you may think, “Wow, she must have many years of experience.” Wrong, that is quite the contrary. In fact, she’s only done professional theater since 2013.

Rachel Tilgner is a freshman.

Rachel Tilgner is a freshman.

Growing up in a home school family in Dallas, Oregon, she is the oldest child, but also was the “ignored child.” However, once she was in her last year of middle school, she discovered she inherited her father’s gift for distance running. “It was such a big deal that finally my grandparents and even my parents finally paid attention to me… I was even projected to have state winning times by sophomore year,” Tilgner said.

However, God can do things that often leave individuals bewildered. One day Tilgner and her cross country team were doing a strenuous hill workout and she said “it was the best workout of my life,” but then turned dramatically for the worst. Her calves hurt her and ever since she has never run pain-free. “It absolutely destroyed me, because it was all I had left and all I depended on,” Tilgner said.

Shortly afterward she discovered she could tap dance and went out for the musical at her high school and got in. “The rest is history,” Tilgner said.

Tilgner has since been inspired to keep pursuing theater. A play she remembers fondly was the production called “A-Shayna- Maidel,” a Yiddish term for “a pretty girl.” Tilgner had to craft a perfect Yiddish-Polish accent. For her, it was “the most emotionally dependent play I’ve done, and that’s what inspired me to continue pursuing theater.”

Coming to Corban, the theater program has definitely changed dramatically in a refreshing way for Tilgner. In high school, Tilgner had the opportunity to go straight into high-level theater where thespians were given opportunities to participate in workshops to better their craft. Corban, however, does not offer that opportunity. “We’re a bunch of college students getting together to do theater because we love it,” she said.

While they may not have professional workshops, they still have individuals to help them better their craft.

Tilgner notes that Emily Abbey and Hannah Joy Madsen have helped her to enhance her craft. “All of my relationships with everyone have been inspiring, but I’d have to say Madsen and Abbey have been a huge motivation factor for me,” she said. “Madsen has a beautiful way of loving on you and your soul and simply ‘getting it.’ Abbey has called me her mini me and sort of just adopted me in.”

Through it all, Tilgner’s involvement with theater has brought her closer to God. “It’s been a great avenue for God to teach me lessons about myself and it’s been a fantastic way to learn to open myself up to him.”

Later in life, the Lord may call Tilgner to be a missionary in Uganda. However, wherever she ends up, she’ll know that God will “delight in the beauty of it all (glorifying him in all that we do).”