Teacher by day, pirate entertainer by night; Meet Amie Gossett

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Courtesy of Amie Gossett

Posing with a parrot on her shoulder, theater teacher Amie Gossett acts as a pirate in a sword singing troupe she participates in. Gossett has been part of this troupe for 10 years, preparing each year for the high-intensity physical movement her role requires. “We usually have two to three different choreographed staged sword or stage combat fights per one hour show. They involve swords, daggers, hand-to-hand combat, rolling on the ground, jumping up on boxes, etc,” Gossett said. “I definitely have to get myself into fighting shape each season so that I don’t hurt myself.”

Parrot on shoulder, and sword in hand, theater teacher Amie Gossett performs on a “ship-like” platform as a sword-swinging pirate in an all-woman stage combat sword fighting troupe. Despite working from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. five days a week, Gossett puts on her eye patch and performs on stage in her free time. 

The beginning of this all started with an audition after Gossett saw a friend doing it and wanted to work with her. 

“I started this after I had already been teaching. The company started in 2000 and I came on in 2010 when they opened the troupe up to people outside of the creators’ family. I had to audition with a choreographed sword fight, sing an audition song and do some cold readings of a script,” Gossett said. 

Gossett performs as an Irish pirate–Eveleen McDermott–and sings and speaks in an Irish accent with her friend and co-workers at libraries, renaissance fairs, water parks, pirate fests, candy shops and more.

“We get to play strong female characters and teach kids about history in a fun and energetic way,” Gossett said. “A lot of times, mostly in films, TV, etc. those [pirates] are portrayed as male characters that seem unapproachable and scary/intimidating.  When we play our characters, we show strong personalities, strong decisions, confidence and knowledge, but we do it through singing about the life of a pirate, life on a ship, parts of a ship, etc.”

As Gossett takes shape as a goofy, strong and relatable character to the kids, she ties the young audience into her performance, by talking to them about their favorite activities and games.

Amie Gossett and the rest of the Swords & Roses troupe perform at a park.
(Courtesy of Amie Gossett)

I play around and relate to the kids, charming them with songs, or jokes or making fun of the captain in relatable ways… talking about Disney, Roblox, Minecraft, Pokémon, Fortnite, things kids are into,” Gossett said. “It helps that I have a 7-year-old to get information from.”

For Gossett however, this is more than just a way to pass time on the weekends. Making the kids feel special and entertained is her main focus when she steps onto the stage.

“I lose myself in the characters, no matter how goofy, and [I am] fully invested in portraying the character and performing for the kids. Just because they are young doesn’t mean they aren’t informed on how they like to be entertained,” Gossett said. “I have to prove to them that this is a show worth paying attention to, and luckily I have been successful.”