Theater Spotlight: College Bound

Theater Spotlight: College Bound

The stage light beams on the seniors performing their last spring show of their high school career. With a classic 80s rock song in the background, they all join hands and perform one last bow to the audience. The audience erupts in a roar of applause, and the curtains slowly close, starting the new chapter for the seniors going to college for theater.

Seniors Alli Somes, Sonny Mauldin, Kaleb Cole, Ben Watters, and Cameron Hilliard are all seniors planning to go into college to study theater. Somes and Hillard are going to University of Texas at Arlington, Cole is going to Sam Houston State University, Maudlin is going to Baylor University, and Watters is going to Tyler Junior College. 

“Almost all of them started it with me as freshmen and so of course they’re my first group that I’ve had all for all 4 years here,” theater director Kari Mckenzie said. “The most memorable moment with several of them was us going to state in One Act Play at the beginning of their careers.”

Somes started her theater career during her third grade year. She was introduced to the arts from her cousin who recommended her in a musical performed at the PAC. 

“My family is very theatrical and big and we’ve always been kind of characters so it just felt very natural,” Somes said. “I admire [my cousin] so much growing up and [her theater production] needed kids so she was like ‘my little cousin loves to do stuff like this’ so I was in their musical theater in the third grade.”

Mauldin started his theater journey during his sophomore year when there was an opening for a character named Howard Bevins in the upcoming play. His father as well as theater teacher John Jarman pushed him to join the production.

“My dad said you’d really have fun in theater, but I did baseball as a freshman and then I did baseball and football sophomore year,” Mauldin said. “Then junior year there was an opening in the show and the character Howard Bevans hadn’t been cast yet, and I was in Mr Jarman’s tech theater class and he said you’d be really good at this part and it kind of worked out perfectly.”

Watters volunteers at a Vacation Bible School (VBS) to begin his theatrical career. After that he went to various camps and productions to help him.

“The first experience I had with theater was at a VVB. There was an audition for a little week-long musical and I decided I want to do this,” Watters said. “I might as well just go for it and so I did and I mean everyone was mildly shocked because they hadn’t had anyone actually read the script.”

Kole started his theater journey in California performing at a YMCA. It was an after school program and helped him start in high school.

“ I’m going to college for theater because I love the thought of performing,” Kole said. “I love performing for audiences. I love making people laugh. I love having people just enjoy watching theater and watching performances.”

Hilliard grew up in a sports drivin family and did sports throughout her junior high career. She was later introduced to the One Act play in junior high by her friends that sparked her theatrical journey.

“What really helped was seeing the one act play my seventh grade year that was going on at the junior high and I was like wow this is really good,” Hilliard said. “I tried out, I took the class first and I really like Miss Bacon. She encouraged me to try out for one act that year and that was kind of the start of it.”

Somes, Hilliard, Kole, and Mauldin are going into college for performance.  Watters is going to focus more on theatrical design and set design in theater. 

“I really want them to grow in this art form they’ve committed a lot of time to,” theater director Taylor Jarman said. “I also want them to be doing something with their lives that impacts others.”

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