Posting Date: June 28, 2010
John Stewart: Making an impact
By Rochelle S. Wilson
Photo by Melissa Withers
John Stewart performing in the KSU production of "Fences"
Photo by widescreenvideoproductions.com
As a high school senior at his first audition, John Stewart sang “Happy Birthday” and got the part. From that moment on, he was hooked on theatre. “Seeing the effect that I could have on people through theatre was phenomenal,” he says. John believes that theatre is a reflection of society, and that theatre has the capacity to change lives. “In theatre, we get to look at ourselves, and we can affect change through theatre by letting people see themselves,” he continues. “I feel like the thing that drives me is the desire to tell a story that can change people and change lives.”
John, a junior, has performed in three KSU productions since transferring from Columbus State a year ago. In his most recent role, John played the lead in the KSU production of August Wilson’s “Fences.” He credits Associate Professor Karen Robinson and the cast with the play’s successful performance. “They produced perspectives that really broadened what I thought about the character,” he says. “Something I really appreciate is the focus on the scholar-artist here—on really knowing the craft and knowing your history.”
On John’s performance, Robinson says, ”John is not only gifted with exceptional talent as an actor, he also is passionately committed to the art and discipline of creating theatre. He is genuinely curious about everything and continually pursues personal and artistic growth.”
Since enrolling at KSU, John has found more in himself than he thought possible. He attributes his success to everyone in the department, from the custodial staff to the professors. “People here are really nurturing, and it’s good to be in an environment where people are rooting for you and want you to succeed,” he says.
Assistant Professor Jane Barnette also comments, “John has already established himself as a role model for the Program in Theatre and Performance Studies. He immediately impressed me by his dedication to the fully-immersive quality of our major, as I continued to see him in the student lounge, in the library, and of course in rehearsals, working diligently on his homework or lines. His impact on our program has already been outstanding.”
Associate Professor Dean Adams adds, “John is very focused. He’s always prepared for rehearsal and very focused on what the character's needs are. He is not whatsoever a self-centered actor; he’s a very generous actor, which is rare for a student this age.”
After graduation, John plans to attend graduate school to pursue a career as an actor or director. “I feel that my niche in society is theatre,” he says. “That’s been something that’s been given to me, and it’s my responsibility to hone that gift. My duty in the world is to serve in that capacity—in theatre, film, or directing.”