Justin Mabrey first auditioned for Limelight in 2013. From that first role in Once on this Island, he has gone on to tap dancing, puppy-wrangling, directing and everything in between. As a member of the Limelight family who has often participated with his own family, we have been able to see where he gets his passion & compassion. He has taught so many Limelighters over the years, and we are thrilled that he is continuing to share his gift as an instructor and educator.
Here is what Justin share with us about his Limelight experience.
What is your favorite show that you did or part that you played with Limelight?
Did you participate in Limelight with a family member? What was that experience like?
Yes! Every member of my family except my mother (believe me, we tried) has participated in Limelight at one point! I have actually been extremely lucky enough to be in shows with both my brother and my dad. Sharing those experiences with them and the rest of my family have no doubt helped make my family as close as we are. The older we get, the more and more we think about our experiences in Limelight to make up for the physical distance apart from each other. Also, one of my favorite memories in my life up to now is having a tap-duet with my brother and I will hold on to that for the rest of my life. For that, I have Limelight to thank.
Most memorable Limelight experience?
Between rehearsing and performing a tap-duet with my real-life brother in Drowsy Chaperone and having fake blood spat all over my face in Talkin’ Okaloosa County Blues.
What is something you learned from Limelight?
From being a part of Limelight, I have learned so many things that have helped teach me who I want to be. As a future educator, my working teaching philosophy revolves around the idea of collaboration and, yes, everyone playing a part. I am a firm believer that theatre is a team effort. Everyone from the light board to backstage and beyond plays a role in the act of theatre. The idea of a “one-man show” contradicts the idea of theatre that Limelight has helped me come to. That being said, I am also of the belief that theatre both creates a different world and reflects our own worlds at the same time. My philosophy of theatre has no doubt helped me in making my working teaching philosophy which centers around collaboration between teacher and students in the common goal of learning. I would not be the teacher I want to be, and thus, the person I want to be, without Limelight.
What does Limelight mean to you?
To me, Limelight means coming together with our own unique talents and gifts to make connections and make theatre.
What are you doing now? How did Limelight help prepare you for that?
I am [a student] at Illinois State University majoring in History Education. Being less than a year away from student teaching, I am spending more and more time forming my own teaching philosophy and my experiences in Limelight have had an enormous impact in teaching me what kind of teacher I want to be for myself and my students. Practically, teaching is a lot like performing in a show. Students are both the audience and ensemble, the content is your script, and the classroom is the stage. I have gained so much confidence in confidently presenting myself in front of people physically and intellectually because of Limelight.
What is your advice for other theater artists?
Never stop making art. Without artists, there is no art and humans always look to art for reminders of what makes us human. No one else has the same talents that you do.
Anything else you would like to share?
Limelight Theatre Company has been a huge part of my life since I joined in the summer of 2013 and I am so thankful. I would not have some of the most cherished memories I have with my family without Limelight. I would not have the self-confidence and creativity I hold without Limelight. I would not believe in the power of collaboration as strongly as I do without Limelight. I would not love theatre as much as I do without Limelight. Limelight has made it easier to call Oswego home for so much of my life and I cannot wait for 20+ more years of Limelighters to find their homes in Limelight.