Collegiate Theatrics: Lipscomb University's SARAH JOHNSON
Lipscomb University Theatre opens its 2017-18 season with the Kari Smith-directed version of William Gibson's The Miracle Worker, the timeless and dramatically driven stage rendition of the life of Helen Keller and her relationship with her devoted teacher, Annie Sullivan. Sarah Johnson, a musical theatre major from Fort Wayne, Indiana, is cast as Helen and this week she sat down to consider our queries, provide us with some insight and to become the latest student featured in Collegiate Theatrics.
"My love for theatre began at an early age, but I wasn't involved in full theatrical productions until middle school, where the director, Chris Murphy, treated all of the actors with the same respect and the same expectations as the adults he directed in professional theatre," Sarah recalls.
"In high school, Karen Benson expected all of the dedicated theatre students to have gained a wide variety of skills by the time they graduated in order to prepare them for whatever careers they would follow. All along the way, the teachers in my life have pushed my peers and I to expect the most of ourselves, and when I came to Lipscomb that is what I was looking for."
Here's your opportunity to get to know Sarah Johnson - so in a few years you'll be able to claim that "I knew her when..."
What's your college experience at Lipscomb been like so far? Has it lived up to its hype? I came into Lipscomb looking for an education in theatre, but also looking for a department that would facilitate individual growth, personally and professionally. It has lived up to those expectations and gave me connections to Nashville's theatre community that were unexpected.
What's your favorite thing about studying at Lipscomb? I love getting to work closely on honing my craft with other students equally dedicated and motivated to push themselves.
What does the future hold for you and have your aspirations changed since you're now an experienced college student? Coming into college, I didn't have any expectations for my future beyond gaining more experience and training in the theatre world. The future for me is full of surprises! I'm hoping to stay in Nashville, at least for a few years, while working toward financial stability and pursuing theatre, both in performance and backstage.
What collegiate theatrical moment looms largest in your mind? The collegiate theatrical moment which looms largest in my mind is actually last weekend. I have the honor of portraying Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. Lipscomb partnered with Bridges for a shadow-interpreted performance Saturday night. Afterwords, we got to speak briefly with members of the deaf community who came to see the performance. It was incredibly humbling.
What advice would you offer to high school students considering making the plunge? Follow your dreams, but make sure that you have the ambition, work ethic, and persistence to turn them into a reality. Don't be afraid to explore paths that you hadn't considered. I didn't discover my passion for costuming until college, and it's an element of theatre that I would love to pursue.
What's your latest theatrical project and what comes next? My latest theatrical project is portraying Helen Keller in Lipscomb's production of The Miracle Worker. Next comes auditioning, networking, and pursuing opportunities in the theatrical community!