They say laughter is the best medicine. If this is true, consider Cameron Southerland a doctor. For years, he has been participating in theatre, both in the community and at Meadowcreek High School, from which he recently graduated. When he joined Lionheart two years ago, he did so to teach younger actors the art of comedy. Since then, he has become a staple in the theatre.

If you ask Cameron what he does at Lionheart, the first thing he will say is that he is a camp counselor who teaches a few classes during the summer. But the list is much more expansive than that. Depending on what is happening in the theatre, you may find him setting up props, testing sound and lights and just making sure everything is ready for the next production.

“Lionheart is kind of like my second home,” he says. “I’m always there to help.”

A Bright Future

When Cameron is not showing children the joys of being in theatre, he is out winning national awards for his acting. He recently participated in the August Wilson Monologue Competition. Performing one of Troy Maxson’s monologues from Wilson’s Fences, Cameron swept through the local competitions, winning state and gaining a spot in the national competition on Broadway. There, he won second place behind Moyè Light, another Atlanta native.

With that experience under his belt, Cameron is attending Alabama A&M in the fall on a vocal scholarship to pursue a degree in music education. After gaining that degree, he will be off to North Carolina A&T to finish his education.

Putting on a Show

Cameron’s summer is booked up before he heads off to school. He is producing a play this summer called 100 Dresses. This production is different than others that typically run this time of year. Lionheart has a tradition of putting on a fun musical during the summer, but wanted to try something a bit different. 100 Dresses is a heartfelt production, one that focuses on the pain of being bullied and value of standing up for what’s right.

Later this summer, he is also taking on the role of “director.” Though he would not give any details, he said that the production is a musical, and that he is excited about it.

Making Camp Fun

Cameron is also teaching improv classes and private lessons at Lionheart. In addition, he is teaching one of his favorite camps, Producer Playhouse. In this week-long camp session, the participants take an original play, or even a concept, and completely bring it to life. They write and edit scripts, create costumes and props and do everything else a play producer would. In doing so, participants realize that a lot of work and dedication goes into each and every production.

“It’s like a fun training ground,” Cameron says. “They can take these skills and use them in any other theatre, from Broadway to the New London Theatre [in Gwinnett].”

Anyone who is interested in Lionheart’s summer campsor upcoming productions should sign up quickly, as spots are filling up. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in local theatre as often as possible, especially when you can work with someone as passionate as Cameron Southerland.

“The fact that we get the opportunity to teach these kids is an honor. I hope we keep on growing like we have been. It’s been a blessing.”