Q&A With Cambelle Cleveland


Grace Montgomery

Senior, Cambelle Cleveland, puts on an impeccable performance of Juliet.

Lei Murphy, Reporter

Senior, Campbell Cleveland, who you might know as Juliet Capulet in our last school play, has been doing theater for around 8 years. She is extremely passionate about theater and has gotten so much out of her experience. 

When did you get involved in theater?

“So I started when I was 10 years old, and I started with the NORA summer theater program. So I started that when I was 10. And that was just a bunch of Junior musicals, and that really got me interested in theater,” Cleveland says, so then freshman year, our show was Little Mermaid, which was always my favorite Disney movie growing up. So, I already knew that I wanted to be a part of the theater program, but then when I found out it was Little Mermaid I was so ecstatic.”

What were your first experiences with theater like?

“I did the summer theater program, and it’s mostly student-led. The people in charge of it were just graduating high school, so it was like seniors and juniors. The age group for that is like fifth to eighth grade, so I was a fifth-grader coming in and I was super shy. But theater really helped me come out of my shell and be able to stand in front of the stage and recite things and do that, which was something that I never thought I would do. But now that I’ve done it for years I love it, and it doesn’t even phase me to be on stage anymore.”

What was your favorite role you ever played?

“In my last year of doing the summer theater program, we did Mary Poppins and I played Mary Poppins, and that cast was just so perfect and I loved it. Also, this past summer, in Lightning Thief, I played Annabeth, and that was Jordan Smakas’ show. That was also fun because it was student-led,” Cleveland says, I really like shows  when they’re cast perfectly like everybody just fits the role and it just helps you all get even closer, which that’s what’s also a big part of it, is like the performance side obviously, but then also the people and being able to build relationships with them and spend so much time together that we just get so close and that’s what I love about it.”

How has theater impacted you as a person?

“I used to be really shy and like, not outgoing whatsoever, but now that I’ve had so much experience standing in front of people and like just putting myself out there, I can be way more outgoing,” Cleveland said, It’s also definitely helped me with my public speaking skills. I can totally just get up and talk in front of a bunch of people on the spot, and I never thought that I would do that before. Also, just having those people that I know I’m gonna have in my life forever and how they’re always there for me, that’s something that I would never trade.”

What advice would you give to people who want to join the theater?

“I would say just put yourself out there, and aim big because I have always tried out for the lead role, but sometimes you don’t get it, but what you have to do is be persistent, and just keep going, because when I started I think I had one line in my first show and in this last show that I just did, I had like half the show basically, so you just have to keep going and like don’t give up if you don’t get the part that you wanted. And it’ll just grow from there, and with more practice, you’ll get better and then with getting better you’ll be able to have the big part that you want.”

What do you enjoy most about theater?

“I love all of it. I love music. I love dancing. I love being on stage. I also really liked the fact that you can just be somebody else for a little bit. It’s like a little pressure relieved off of me where I don’t have to be me all of the time. You just kind of get to portray this other person and other characters. So that’s really cool and then also just doing it with all the people that I like. I’ve been doing it with most of these kids for four years. And so we’ve just got really close and those bonds really make theater for me because we have our little cast family with every show.”

What are your greatest takeaways from theater?

“Kind of just like being able to go out there and be outgoing. That’s really what has helped me is having some structured time to be able to put yourself out there. And that’s what really made me such an outgoing person. And I’m glad that I’m such an outgoing person because it’s helped me make more friends and be able to meet more people.”

What do you enjoy most about performing?

“I love having the lights shining on me and I’m such a people person that it’s so fun for me to be in front of other people. I’m putting on a show for them which is like, I know it’s gonna make them happy because they’re obviously seeing it for a reason. And also I just like the attention, and being able to just show off my talent for a little bit.  but I like showing people how my talent has evolved, especially since fifth grade as I’ve grown so much. So to be able to see my growth is really amazing when you’re working up to a show and then you get to show people how hard you have worked. For Romeo and Juliet, we’ve been working since January and we had two shows, but like, just to be able to show it off. It’s just so much fun.”

Do you enjoy musicals as well?

“Yes, I love singing and dancing and that’s why I think I’m leaning more towards joining an acapella group in college rather than a theater thing. Just because I really love singing, I like the music and I love having fun. Upbeat musicals, like Little Mermaid or Mamma Mia, were so fun, because they’re just more fun.”

How would you describe your experience?

“A lot of growth for sure. A lot of practice to make perfect. There were a lot of times that I was disappointed with a role I wanted but didn’t get, but you just have to keep going with it. Just keep improving yourself and wanting to improve yourself. And just staying involved has really helped me and been a big part of it like, you have to keep going in order to get better.”

Was there anyone that inspired you to keep going?

“It was the people that ran the first one that was like the seniors in high school, so they really helped me because I didn’t really know any of the cast at that point. So I only knew the directors, and so they really just like to tell me how proud they are of me. That would keep me going also Mr. Payton at Lakeshore, I almost did not keep going with it. More specifically choir because I just didn’t feel like I wanted to do it anymore. But he was like you like I cannot imagine you not singing and I was like you’re so right. So he really, really kept me going and liked my parents too. They’ve been my biggest supporters and give me flowers for every show and always cheer me on. So that’s really been helpful.”