Local actor selected for prestigious program

An up and coming actor starts post-secondary school this fall as he movs forward with his love of acting toward a career in the theatre.

Cameron Peal has been selected as one of 16 students at Studio 58 at Langara College – ther eare reportedly 250 applicants for the program.

It’s the results of Peal meeting an adjudicator who spearheaded an interview for the program, even though the deadlines to apply had passed, according to local director Christina Rogers, who has directed him in the lead role of Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream last year and the upcoming musical Anne of Green Gables.

“If there is one thing most can say about me, is that when it comes to the theatre, I am never without anything to say, or ideas to share,” said Peal by email.

He is very thankful to Sarah Rodgers, professional dramaturge, who had put the whole series of events into motion.

Peal said he had met Sarah at a workshop on playwriting, and she had asked him what was his general inspiration for the theatre.

“I believe very strongly that the theatre is as a body comprised of actors, directors, playwrights, technicians, scene designers, etc. And the body must have an eye to see, and a voice to declare what it sees,” he said.

“To put it another way, what the theatre needs is new plays: modern, topical, morally challenging, and willing to grapple with ideas and themes that matter. I believe that what the world of acting can do is something much more than just entertainment, much more than just light humor, or artistic tragedy.

“Why not produce a play that is tenacious in it’s ability to comment on the social climate of the times? Why not confront ourselves about the problems that surround us on a daily basis?”

After hearing his words, Rodgers told him that he would likely find those who agreed with his goal at Studio 58. Rodgers does various work with studio during the year and using this, she made very persuasive recommendations to the studio’s faculty, and soon after, Peal began to correspond with them about auditioning, he said.

Peal stresses that talent is not enough to get by.

No matter how amazing an actor is, he or she must be capable of showing very firm qualities of dedication, professionalism, commitment, he said.

An actor needs to be ready to work long hours, for what some might consider little reward, he added.

Studio 58 stresses that hard work is par for the course, and that there will be no shortage of that, said Peal.

He was given the option to audition by video recording, and was given one week to pull together two polished monologues.

“I sent the video down online, but I must admit I was very unsure of my potential success at that point,” he said, adding that Studio 58 is one of the more renowned schools for theatre in the country,

The audition panel arranged for an interview via Skype, in which he was asked many questions about himself and his experience in the theatre, he said.

“In any case, my worries about the audition seem unfounded, as I have indeed received acceptance into the program that they are offering. Overjoyed beyond words, of course I accepted the opportunity,” said Peal.

This year, he also started an after-school drama program at Suwilaawks Elementary School and was selected as a youth role model.

“I myself had gone through Suwilaawks and was delighted to hear that they had begun a wide range of after-school clubs. A wide variety of activities that a student might otherwise not have access to,” he said.

Peal said not every student in the local district is capable of pursuing interests in extracurricular activities, including getting a shot at the arts.

He agreed to begin a simple program at Suwilaawks that is there to introduce students to the art of acting in a very easygoing and supportive environment.

“The reason I chose to do so was because as a kid, I myself had very limited – dare I say non-existent – options available to me, in terms of performing arts and variety therein,” he said, adding that those options usually required money, which is not always possible for a parent.

Peal said it has been a pleasure working alongside Suwilaawks, the Carmen Arts Group, and the Terrace Little Theatre.

“My time as a community thespian has been more than a pleasure, but alas, opportunity knocks,” says Peal.

“And so, I am hopeful in going forward to a life of theatre, and of showing the world play after play of moral relevance and tenacious optimism regarding our present social situation.”