Theatre helps boost Fort Langley boy’s self-confidence

A tech-savvy preteen volunteers with upcoming Surrey Little Theatre play.

by Alex Wilks/Special to Black Press

Owen Carlson knows a thing or two about what goes on behind the scenes of Surrey Little Theatres (SLT) ongoing productions.

The 12-year-old has dedicated more than 150 hours operating sound and lighting effects for the local theatre performances.

“We program, set up and hang lights, and control all the lights and sound that [the audience] sees on stage,” he explained.

“The tech team are lots of fun to be with and I learn lots from them.”

Carlson reads the theatrical scripts alongside the tech team, then together they consider the timing for lighting, moods and blackouts, as well as music and sound effects for the show.

“They program the lighting then run a cue to cue,” explained his mom, Jennifer Carlson. “They go over positions, blockings and timing with the actors step-by-step, rehearse with the actors, then it’s show time.”

The Fort Langley student has been able to experience theatre at its best with roles in six SLT dramatizations including their take on a Charlie Brown Christmas this past year.

“I am looking forward to working and acting in more shows,” Carlson said proudly.

He has even appeared on the big screen as an extra in the film Wonder starring alongside Langley’s Jacob Tremblay, as well as actors Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts.

“It was fun, it was long, but worth the wait,” he added. “I was so pumped to see my friends and I on the big screen. When you do movie work, you sometimes have to do them over and over again. There was a cafeteria scene I was in, let’s just say, I ate a lot of watermelon.”

Carlson has always been up for trying new things and experiences Mom told the Langley Advance.

“He loves public speaking and giving presentations, so when he was asked to audition he was all for it.”

Between volunteering with SLT, auditioning and building his own acting portfolio, and umpiring baseball, Carlson has quite the busy life.

“He loves all that he does, it’s busy, but we manage,” explained Jennifer.

“I like going to the theatre and help out when and where I can. It’s a very unique place full of kind, caring people,” she added.

SLT is a volunteer-run theatre that offers productions, workshops and youth programs in the dramatic arts.

Carlson has been preparing his tech cues for their latest production, Slow Dancing, noting that the most rewarding part of being involved is, “having lots of fun and laughs and smiles from everyone.”

The production is a drama about Mary, a homeless woman, who befriends a pregnant young girl named Ann who falls ill.

“This is a very well written and acted piece and very well directed,” he said.

“I’m in Grade 6 French Immersion at James Kennedy Elementary in Walnut Grove. From what I learnt at SLT, I have worked on the school’s Christmas show for two years in a row now and do the tech for the school productions,” he said, anxious to spread around his love for the world of acting.

The SLT production, Slow Dancing, is being performed at 8 p.m. on Thursdays to Saturdays from April 19 to May 12. Surrey Little Theatre is located at 7027 184th St. in Clayton Heights.

Tickets for the performance are $17 and can be purchased online at www.brownpapertickets.com.

“When I grow up I want to be a pilot,” Carlson said, expecting theatre to continue being part of his life.

“Theatre helps me improve my self-confidence and it’s lots of fun so I will keep doing it.”

RELATED: Surrey Little Theatre on the hunt for a new home

 

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