Read Karsell has been a part of The Civic's family for many years. Currently a junior at John Marshall High School, Read signed up for his first STAR session when he was in 2nd grade. He continued attending STAR for five more years, and eventually became an assistant instructor within the program. In 5th grade, he appeared in The Civic’s production of Gypsy. From there, he also appeared in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; and Grease. In addition to main stage shows at The Civic, he has appeared in multiple productions at John Adams Middle School and has been a member of the Otherwise Actors for five terms.
Not only has Read appeared onstage, but he has been an active volunteer offstage as well. He’s ushered, run lights and follow spots, worked backstage, and is currently the Youth Representative on The Civic’s Board of Directors.
He has worked with many talented actors, musicians, directors, and set designers, who have not only helped him improve as an actor but have given him the chance to learn about the technical side of theatre as well. Whenever he has questions, there is always someone there to help him find the answers, be that a staff member or a volunteer.
A few things Read loves about working at The Civic are the environment, the opportunities, and the people.
Read’s favorite part about working at The Civic is the family-like bond that exists there. He is always greeted by a familiar face and a friendly smile. “I can walk around and feel comfortable, because I know that the theatre is my space as much as it is anyone else’s. It is a home everyone shares, a place where my art is just as valued as the person I may be sitting by or the people I am performing for.” Some of the people he has met at The Civic are now his best friends, and he feels this is a common occurrence for many, students and adults alike.
Read believes that classes at The Civic are helping students become better actors, and better people as well. They learn far more than just acting. In creating and portraying a character, students learn about themselves by putting aside who they are every day, and really stepping into that new character. By participating in a class or show, students learn how to represent themselves in public. Students learn how to build things, organize things, be more independent, and work together with others toward a common goal. They engage with the community by acting in shows (alongside other members of the community), volunteering their time offstage (ushering, working backstage, etc.), and getting involved in community events (such as the annual Galas).
Students at The Civic not only learn skills they can use in the theatre, but skills “that will stick with [them] for the rest of their lives.”