ATC Actor Cedric Mays Inspires Future Actors

Jocelyn Reeder, Editor-in-Chief

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“My religion, my beliefs in life is to inspire people. I believe in the power of theater and hope to help others see differently. I want to physically show what it looks like to be in America on the stage,” Cedric Mays, an actor from the Arizona Theater Company stated. Cedric Mays took a smaller stage – the Little Theatre’s stage on Monday, February 4 during first period to speak to Sahuaro thespians and the African American literature class, who have a planned trip to see Mr. Mays perform in Two Trains Running.

Cedric Mays grew up in South Carolina and spent most of his time at church. He did not grow up in the theater.

Different Pastors came into the church and every single one of them shifted the air in the room by just turning around. “Art is about making you feel something, and changing who you are as a human being.” Mays also talked about how the industry perpetuates a certain image that they want someone to be. For example Victoria Secret Models have to be a certain weight and a certain height. Same with actors, you have to have a certain “look” to fit the role. Then he shared some of his wisdom; you have to be true to yourself.  Mays turned down an acting role because the director had different views about how the play was supposed to be. Cedric ended his talk by stating,”If you aren’t pursing truth, what are you doing it for?”

ATC is recognized as one of the most dynamic theaters in the country.  As the professional resident theater of Arizona, ATC has been performing full seasons in both Phoenix and Tucson to a combined audience of more than 150,000 since 1983. ATC has been cited as a national model for professional performing arts institutions in consideration of how it has managed and produced full performance seasons in two cities and how it has built audience support and established fiscal stability in both communities.

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