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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Arts for Youth Spotlight

Noah Johnson in
Noah Johnson in "The Good Doctor" at Barter Theatre, Abingdon, Virginia for the Barter Youth Academy.

Noah Johnson says acting is "everything'

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | August 31, 2016

Noah Johnson says that acting is everything to him. "I want to do it for the rest of my life. I love to take audiences on a journey through a story."

He got his start in acting in 2010 at a drama camp in Laurel, Delaware, called MMAD Week. The camp teaches creative young people to use their talents to tell a story. "Since attending that camp, my life has changed forever," he says.

When he returned home to Abingdon, he threw himself into his new avocation performing.

"I think what makes performing so interesting to me is the storytelling of it all. Nothing beats telling a good story," he says.

He has performed on stage at Barter Theatre, Abingdon, Virginia; The Paramount Center for the Arts, Bristol, Tennessee; Kingsport Renaissance Theater, Kingsport, Tennessee; The Niswonger Performing Arts Center, Greeneville, Tennessee and the MMAD Week Theatre.

"Though each has a special place in my heart, there are three I'd like to talk about, starting with Barter. Now I am a part of the Barter Youth Academy, which teaches me so much about theater. I'm very thankful for that. Next is MMAD Week. Without MMAD Week I wouldn't know what the lights feel like, what it's like to monologue, or that I'm completely in love with acting. And lastly, Niswonger, I had the privilege of performing in the charity event/talent search called Broadway Comes to Greeneville, and it was such an amazing experience. I love those people," Noah says.

Noah has competed in Niswonger's talent search for two years. He was chosen as the winner in 2016. "One of the highlights of my year was participating in Niswonger's Broadway Comes to Greenville. I was blessed to be chosen as the 2016 winner, and I am looking forward to representing the Niswonger organization this year," he says.

"One of my biggest influences is Michael Gerber, the associate director of Barter Youth Academy. He has poured so much time and energy into me, and I am just so thankful. I know I have lots more to learn from him. Another big influence and the one who got me started in theater is my mom Glenda Johnson. She is a wonderful playwright, a great director and an amazing mom.

"David Elder has been a fabulous mentor for me over the last two years, as I have continued to chase my dreams. I also am thankful for Gary Mauer, Elizabeth Southard and Beth Leavel and the encouragement they pour into my life as well," Noah says.

He's expanding his skills by not only working with the Barter Youth Academy, but also studying dance with [Barter actor] Josh Levinson and singing with the Highlands Youth Ensemble.

This fall he will be working on "The Curious Savage," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and comedy improv at the Barter Youth Academy.

"My favorite role was playing the narrator in Neil Simon's "The Good Doctor.' This role allowed me to be in the audience and interact with audience members. I loved that. I really enjoy doing all types of theater. I have performed in many shows with the Barter Youth Academy. I learned sketch comedy and comedy improv there as well. I also help direct and really enjoy stage combat," he says.

He plans to pursue a BFA in theater in college. He wants to perform musicals and plays professionally.

Noah lives in Abingdon, Virginia, and is 15 years old. His parents are Glenda and Larry Johnson.

He is home schooled and says that "allows me to have very focused courses of study and flexibility to travel."