Alabama sophomore becomes youngest theater director at children’s theatre

Meghan Hollis

The Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre has a mission to do one thing: educate and expose children of Tuscaloosa County to all aspects of stage performing and production.

Jameson Sanford, a UA student who grew up in the theatre, has adapted and exemplified just this.

Sanford, a sophomore majoring in mathematics and theater, grew up in the TCT program and continued all the way through grade school. The first production he appeared in was “The Wizard of Oz” in 1996.

After reaching high school, Jameson said, “I wanted to move toward the business side of things involving the theater.” Jameson did just that.

Drew Baker, the artistic coordinator of TCT, has known Jameson a few years and got to know him better when directing “Aladdin Jr.” while Jameson was still in high school.

“Jameson was the scenic designer of the production of Aladdin Jr.,” Baker said. “He came and presented the design concept of the show. I was amazed at his ideas and organization.”

Baker said she knew Sanford prior to the production of “Aladdin Jr.” mostly as a singing actor. She grew to know him better as he started exploring the technical aspects of theater. Jameson also expanded his experience by being the scenic director of the production of Alice in Wonderland.

Sanford has recently directed as well as being the scenic designer for the Christmas classic, “A Christmas Carol.” Sanford is the youngest director The Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre has ever had.

The play took place in Downtown Tuscaloosa at the Bama Theatre. Sanford started writing the play in 2007, has been tweaking it ever since and finally had it performed over the Christmas break.

The rehearsal process started in October leading to an eight-week rehearsal. The show brought a great crowd and was performed for public and private school. TCT performed a total of six shows with more than 800 kids in attendance.

“His ability to make decisions and know what he wanted along with skills in organization is phenomenal for his age,” Baker said. “His version of A Christmas Carol stayed very close to the text of the Charles Dickens classic version.”

Sanford said she thinks that being a young director is a positive thing in the TCT. With him being closer to the kids in age he thinks it makes it easier to connect with their thoughts and needs that understands from being a TCT alumnus.

“If the kids walked away from a not so good show, but learned something, the goal I wanted for them has been reached,” Sanford said. “I want parents to see that the theater is not a waste of time. I want to exemplify what these kids could achieve and learn from being a part of TCT.”

Sanford is actively involved in the theater at the University and hopes to one day achieve a master’s in scenic design.