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One of the beautiful things about the arts, and artistic environments, is how they can foster a safe space for artists. A studio or a stage is often the place an artist can feel the most comfortable, allowing them to open up and be their true selves. For two young actors from the Pittsboro Youth Theater, Huck Boone and Kinsey McCubbin, the theater is their happy place, and a place they feel most at home. Read on to learn more about these talented and introspective actors, and come watch them perform live at ClydeFEST this year!
Tell me about yourselves.
Huck: I’m in fifth grade at The Hawbridge School in Saxapahaw. I have two dogs—one is the absolute best dog in the world, and the other is the absolute worst. I enjoy reading, and I really enjoy theater. I study Tolkein’s works, and also Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal. I’ve been doing theater since I was eight, and I’ve done about seven or eight shows so far. Aladdin is my first musical. Someday I want to direct fantasy films.
Kinsey: I’m in the eighth grade at Culbreth Middle School. I’ve been doing theater for about a year and a half. I think this is my fourth musical. I have three cats, two of which are really fat, and the third is really small. I grew up in Halifax county, Virginia, and we moved here when I was in fifth grade.
Huck, tell me a little bit more about your interest in directing.
In theater, you have a script, but if something goes wrong or if you forget your line, you have to improvise. But if something goes wrong when you’re producing a film, you just delete it. I’m interested in film because theater can only take you so far with realism, especially in fantasy and stuff. With The Lord of the Rings movie, for example, I love the feeling they create throughout the movie, through both the dialogue and the visuals. It inspired me. I just want to make things look and sound cool. I’ve recently gotten into editing through iMovie. Star Wars also kind of inspired me, but it has a horrible plot. The fights are really inconsistent. It has incredible visuals but it doesn’t really make any sense.
How did you each get into acting?
Kinsey: When I moved here, one of my best friends was in a ton of performances for a different company. So I thought, “Why not try performing?” I ended up really liking it.
Huck: I’ve always been kind of dramatic. I feel more comfortable on stage than I do in real life conversations. I think it was my mom who originally talked me into going to an audition. During my first audition, I ran off stage crying. But I came back.
Is anybody in your family artistic?
Kinsey: No, not at all. Both of my parents like to tell me that they don’t know where I got my singing voice from because neither of them can sing.
Huck: Both of my parents are musicians. My mom was a music teacher at an elementary school for a while, but she left teaching and started working as an author. My dad teaches musicology at NC State. For a while, before COVID, he was also a member of a church band.
What do you each love about acting?
Kinsey: I just really enjoy being here with all of these people because it feels like my safe spot. School is so stressful, but when I come here, I’m just so happy all the time.
Huck: At school, you have a friend group, but you’re usually in that friend group because you all got thrown into the same class. In theater, you have a group of friends who all chose to be here. I also like being able to make something happen that looks cool. And it’s just fun.
Tell me about how you feel when you’re on stage.
Huck: It just feels really natural. To put it metaphorically, I feel like I’m a river flowing through an easy course. It feels right, and it’s really fun. Especially when you come on stage when all of the house lights are off, and then they turn on the bright red and green lights that shine right in your eyes, and you step into your character and start talking—it just takes off from there. Being on stage is the most right I’ve ever felt.
Kinsey: I’m more of a singer than an actor because I’ve always sung. I’ve really only gotten into acting when I joined this company. I feel like if I work at it more, I could actually get pretty good at it. Singing is my strong suit — it’s my favorite thing in the world. I agree with what Huck said about how it just feels so natural—he took the words right out of my mouth! I feel like I could do it forever.
Do either of you get nervous when you’re up on stage?
Huck: Always. Every time. For an hour before the performance, I’ll just be pacing. Before the show, I’ll be absolutely terrified. But then once I say my first line, all of those nerves flood into positive energy.
Kinsey: When we did High School Musical, I had a solo in the song, “Stick to the Status Quo.” I felt like throwing up the whole time I was waiting to perform in that song. But as soon as I got on stage, it just went away.
Who inspires you?
Huck: Jim Henson, Peter Jackson, my fellow actors here, and Miss Tammy, our director. But I also have to inspire myself. When I’m in a play with the younger kids, I’m one of the oldest, so that inspires me to try to be the best I can be. And actually, it’s also like that when I’m one of the youngest in the group. That pushes me, too.
Kinsey: I one hundred percent agree about Miss Tammy. All of my fellow castmates also inspire me to be my best and just be myself when I’m here. When I’m at school, I feel like I can’t really be myself. When I’m here, I get to do what I love with people who I love being around.
I know you are only in fifth and eighth grade, but do you see acting as a part of your future at all?
Huck: I want to direct and act in films. I’ve also heard about an improv group that meets up on the weekends, where someone drags in a bag of costumes and everyone makes up their character on the spot and then just improvises the scene in front of other people. That’s something I’m interested in doing as well. I’m also interested in technical directing and stage managing.
Kinsey: I’m definitely going to do theater through high school, but I’m not sure if it’s what I want to do when I’m older. I’m interested in radiology. Almost everyone in my family is a doctor, so I’m kind of leaning toward that.
Last question: is there a certain type of role that you can lapse into really easily?
Huck: Villain. My favorite role to play is not the villain who’s like, “ARGH, I wanna kill people!” but rather is just really flattering, cool, and confident. They usually have a British accent.
Kinsey: My first role in a musical was Anna in Frozen, before I came to this theater. She was such a fun character to play because she’s someone who sees the bright side in everything. When I was in High School Musical, I was Ripper, the guy who plays the cello. I got to jump off of a table during the song, “Stick to the Status Quo,” which was so much fun. I feel like doing smaller roles can be really fun.
Huck: I agree. Smaller roles are fun because you can make the role into anything you want it to be. With Aladdin, for example, you don’t really have that much room to work with because, like, Aladdin is already a very distinct character. But Iago can be virtually anything because Iago isn’t as defined. When I’m in the ensemble in a show, I can put so much character into it, even though it’s a small role.
Kinsey: That’s true. We create backstories about the characters, and we share them with everybody. Even if your backstory doesn’t match someone else’s, it doesn’t matter—as long as you feel your backstory is good for you when you’re up there performing, that’s all that matters. If your backstory fits how you want to perform that character, it can make your performance so much better.
Huck: One thing that I really like about theater is that there are really no limits. When you’re on the stage, you can do anything you want to do.