Friday, March 20, 2009

Civic Volunteer Album: Meet Cameron Johnston.

The "In the Wings" series of blog posts highlights the directors and actors of each Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette production. And while it makes sense to promote them on the blog for their hard work -- actors are the face of a production, and directors are the brains -- there are whole groups of volunteers who go unrecognized, not only on this blog but also perhaps by the playgoing public.

The "Civic Volunteer Album" will highlght various Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette volunteers who more often than not volunteer behind the scenes of productions as stage managers, designers, backstage crew and much more. They are the backbone of each production, working hard to support what everyone else can see and hear on stage.

After graduating high school and moving to West Lafayette in the fall of 2006, Cameron Johnston took a theatre appreciation class at Ivy Tech, where he was studying. Rachel Bundy, one of his classmates and a veteran of Civic Youth Theatre, encouraged him to audition for the CYT production of Little Women. Civic Youth Theatre mounts productions in which the cast and running crew range in age from 5 to 18.

"Initially I said no because I didn't think I would enjoy the play," Cameron remembered. "But the night of the auditions, I decided I really wanted to keep up with theatre even though I was out of high school. I auditioned and got the part of Mr. March. I had a great time and have been actively involved with Civic since then."

Since his debut at Civic, Cameron has taken on the role of Friar Lawrence in the CYT production of Romeo and Juliet, and has been cast in four staged readings: Home of the Brave, Nickel and Dimed, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead and In the Weeds. Cameron has served as assistant director on Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and The Giver, two CYT productions directed by Brent Wick. He also is the assistant director for the upcoming CYT production of The Importance of Being Earnest.

Cameron remembered really enjoying Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, especially because "moving from actor to assistant director is quite a jump."

"My favorite Civic moment is the first time I saw the show performed for a paying audience," he said. "I had never been involved on a show from that side before. It was really something to put all my faith in a group of kids and see such great energy between them and the audience. The kids loved performing the show and the audience enjoyed it. It was quite a moment for me."

Cameron concluded by encouraging people to volunteer with Civic Youth Theatre.

"Being involved in a Civic production is one of the most rewarding things I do with my time," he said. "I love working with kids and I think they enjoy working with me. A Civic Youth Theatre volunteer is not only helping kids, but also spreading the good word about theatre throughout the community. Volunteering with Civic is a really great experience."

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