Kayla Bennett knew when she was in middle school that she wanted a career in theater.
“I think I was maybe in seventh or eighth grade,” she said.
Bennett went on to act in numerous productions during her tenure at North Montgomery High School.
“I think I did about every production,” she said. “I can’t think of a show I wasn’t in.”
When she graduated from North Montgomery in 2005, she enrolled at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., to study theater and dance. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in 2009, and since then has been working in various capacities in theaters throughout Indianapolis and the surrounding area.
Currently, Bennett, 24, is appearing in her debut show at Beef & Boards dinner theater in Indianapolis, where she is playing the roles of Martha Cratchit and Fan (Scrooge’s sister) in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
“It’s like a dream job,” Bennett said. “Everyone is so nice. I don’t want to say it’s easy, because it is a lot of work, but they have it down to such a science there. It’s so professional an smooth. You never have to question whether or not something is going to get done. It’s very stress-free.”
When she is not on stage, Bennett, who has also worked at Myers Dinner Theater and the Round Barn Theatre, is working at getting her fledgling production company, Arbor Productions LLC, off the ground. In October, she produced a staging of “Camelot” in her current hometown, Lebanon.
“Coming into ‘A Christmas Carol’ from producing and directing was kind of a nice breather,” she said. “It was nice to go from having to wear a lot of hats to having to sing, dance and say lines.”
After “A Christmas Carol” closes on Dec. 20, Bennett plans to move full steam ahead with her production company.
“I just have to find my next project,” she said. “I’ve been away, and theater really is a lot about who you know. I have to get out and make connections and meet people.”
Bennett was coached throughout her high school career by local theater instructor John Blair, who she cites as one of her biggest influences.
“He and I are very good friends,” she said. “He has followed my career all through college and beyond.”
Bennett grew up in Linden. Her mother Loralee Bennett still resides in Linden, as do her brother and sister.
Even though she plans to concentrate on her production company for the time being, Bennett doesn’t envision a time when she will ever give up acting.
“I can never stay away from being on stage for too long,” she said.
Tickets for “A Christmas Carol” range in price from $19 to $32, For reservations call the box office at (317) 872-9664 between 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Discounts are available for groups and children ages 3-15.
For more information or show schedule, visit www.beefandboards.com.