Originally published on February 21, 2020.
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Have you ever been witness to a performer before they made it big? Perhaps when you were young you saw a singer on a stool with a guitar in some café who now graces international stages? Or maybe you once starred in a school play alongside someone who is now a famous Broadway actor?
John has been a member of the Theatre Orangeville family and a participant of our Academy programming since 2013. From the moment he first entered the room he has always presented himself with a level of professionalism, commitment and dedication to his craft that is far beyond his years.
He first truly hit our radar in April of 2014 when he auditioned for our Young Company production of Romeo and Juliet. Director Colin Simmons had texted me from the audition room with a photo of John, and simply said, “Sharyn, meet John. One of the most intelligent and articulate children I have ever met.” At that stage in John’s young career he listed Soccer, Movie Aficionado and Aspiring Director as a few of his ‘Special Skills’. While I don’t know how much soccer he plays these days, he is certainly up to date on his movie references and does in fact still aspire to direct.
Over the years, he has shown great drive and passion toward the development of his acting and leadership skills. He has performed in five of our Young Company productions, including “Puck” in last summer’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Island Lake. He is currently the longest running member of our Youth Advisory Committee, and sits on our Board of Directors, as an honorary member and youth advisor. He has been an Academy Youth Leader since 2016, has participated in workshops contributing to the development of new works, and is now trying his hand at playwriting. (He was recently chosen as the headliner playwright for the South Simcoe Theatre's staged play-reading festival, "Fourplay" for his play Hebfield's Finest).
In 2018, John joined our Creative Partners on Stage program, working with adult actors with developmental disabilities, and quickly became an integral facilitator of the program alongside the creative team. His presence in and contribution to that program brings not only mentorship and support to the actors, but an organic sense of acceptance, inclusion and a truly equitable opportunity to everyone involved.
In 2019, for all he does, we awarded John with the Theatre Orangeville Youth Volunteer of the year.
John’s outstanding record of accomplishment continues beyond Theatre Orangeville. He is active in his school community, and is a strong advocate for many causes, including Family Transition Place’s ‘10 Guys, 25 Ties campaign’ to raise awareness for Woman Abuse Prevention Month.
Now, for the first time, John will be on our MainStage alongside three professional actors, playing Connor in Too Close to Home from March 12 to 29 in YOUR theatre.
As a theatre family, we could not possibly be prouder of John and the notable skills he’s developed and brings to the stage and our community. As an audience member, take note… one day this young man will be on the world’s stage, and you will be able to say, you saw him when…