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GC: Calhoun High senior uses spotlight as avenue to touch lives

By By Jessica Rodrigo - jrodrigo@vicad.com
Jan. 26, 2012 at 10:04 a.m.
Updated Jan. 25, 2012 at 7:26 p.m.


Amber Jackson was in the fourth grade when her parents brought her to the Port Lavaca Main Street Theatre for a showing of "James and the Giant Peach."

The production of the popular children's book ignited a desire for the stage.

During the final days of auditions for the theater's next children's production, she asked her parents if she could try out.

In the 2005 season of the Port Lavaca Main Street Theater's production of "Monster in the Closet," Amber played the role of Tara.

"It was terrifying," the 18-year-old said. "I couldn't believe they were throwing me into this crazy scene."

For young Amber, the "Monster in the Closet" experience was a little scary because she was one of the newest actors on stage. According to her, the other actors were used to being in front of people. "It was a really good first-time role. It was a good experience."

The production's director, Jody Weaver, who oversaw the work of 35 children ranging in age from 7-15, said that Amber has grown a lot since that first role in 2005.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

In 2010, Weaver, the children's program director for 14 shows, worked with Amber during "Jack and The Beanstalk."

"I assigned her some of the smaller roles to be in charge of," Weaver said. "She was in charge of rehearsing with some of the younger children, and that worked out great."

Weaver said that after Amber graduated from the children's programs; she continued to show interest in the theater's productions.

"(Amber) wanted to be involved with the kids' shows," the director said. "She took the younger kids under her wing and helped them with their lines, when to exit the stage and keeping them quiet backstage."

Weaver said the younger performers will see Amber during rehearsals, whenever she is not at band practice, other meetings for school or church activities, and remember her.

"I love the kids so much," Amber said with a burst of energy. "It's important to pass down what I've learned to them."

Amber added that being a Christian role model to the kids is one of the most rewarding things she's done. Not only did working closely with Weaver show her a lot of what goes into a theater production, but it also laid out a foundation for her post-high school career.

"I want to make a difference in people's lives and I hope that, with the stuff I am doing, that's what I am achieving," she said.

Amber said Weaver has played a big role in her life as she went from junior high to high school and soon move on to college in the fall.

"(Weaver) is amazing," she said. "She is the main reason why I stayed involved in theater. I am never going to forget her."

Weaver has been with the theater since '96 and has worked with droves of children and adult actors every year."It's neat to see Amber's got such a great rapport with the kids," Weaver said. "She's got a great heart."

CHRISTIAN STUDIES

Amber will graduate in the spring, and she plans to keep her place in the spotlight and work with other people, in theater or other venues.

"I'm thinking about getting into public speaking," she said. "I've always wanted to be someone who changes the world."

Having been very active in her church, through her youth group, small-scale musical events, onstage readings and skits, Amber wants to attend a private Christian college and currently has her focus on Howard Payne University in Brownwood.

If admitted to the Christian university, she wants to begin her journey to working in a ministry role.

"Going to a Christian school, I think, is the best way to get into ministry work," she said. "When I say that I want to touch people, I want to touch people the way that (Weaver) touched me."

Inspired by The Skit Guys, a pair of Christian men who made careers out of teaching God's word through various theatrical avenues, she said she wants to be a Christian influence for others, too.

"I can guarantee she'll be somewhere in theater once she's landed the job she wants and settles down." Weaver speculated. "I could see her involved in community theater."

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