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Volume 26, Number 7 — July 2019

Youth Spotlight: Jeffrey Oakes

"It's Important To Like What You're Doing"

By JEFFREY OAKES | May 29, 2007

When I was growing up, I never really thought about acting. I was just a normal kid doing normal kid stuff with my time. One day my mom found an ad in the newspaper that was announcing auditions for A Christmas Carol. The ad said that the theatre was looking for children who would play many parts. Even though I was very nervous, I tried out and made it. Being a part of that production was so much fun. I asked my mom to find another play or theatre where I could audition. I was definitely bitten by the acting bug.

Since that time, nearly three years ago, I have plugged into my local community theatre, Jonesborough Repertory Theatre (JRT). I have also participated in some JRT acting classes and productions at my church.

When I am interested in a particular play I will research that play to see if it is something that I would enjoy. When working in a pro-duction, it can take up to 20+ hours per week. So, it is important to like what you are doing.

The things that I love about performing are all the new friends I have met, the new experiences I have had, and the confidence that it builds in me every time I take the stage. Sometimes it is hard during the weeks leading up to a production to keep in close touch with my friends who are not in the theatre. However, when the play opens, my friends will all come out and watch me perform, making everything worth it.

I am only 13 so I know that I still have a lot to learn. I can't wait to continue to grow in my skills as an actor. I would love to pursue this field more in stage and even on screen. We can dream, can't we? After all, isn't that what we actors do?

Editor's Note: Jeffrey Oakes belongs to a group of young people who were given a special Award of Excellence by the Tennessee Theatre Association for "best ensemble cast" for their production of The Jack Tales.

Shown in rehearsal are, front row, Hannah Hornsey, Cassandra Brooks, Jeffrey Oakes, Charity Bond, and Mikki Churchwell; back row, Logan Lockner, Alonna Donovan, Lexi Turner, Rachel Ponder, and Isaac Bates.