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Northside High alum Alex Oakley makes his professional acting debut

Alex Oakley appears in the Alliance Theater’s production of “Shakespeare in Love.”
Alex Oakley appears in the Alliance Theater’s production of “Shakespeare in Love.”

Northside High School graduate Alex Oakley made his professional acting debut in the Alliance Theater’s production of “Shakespeare in Love” in Atlanta.

Oakley was part of theatrical productions that won Northside High School four state championships and he was twice selected to the state All-Star cast. He is now a junior at Oglethorpe University where he is majoring in theater and communications.

Oakley has taken part in several productions at Oglethorpe University. Shows at Oglethorpe are directed by professional directors from around Atlanta. In the school’s production of “Hair” last year, Richard Garner directed; Garner, who is directing “Shakespeare in Love,” suggested that Oakley try out for the Alliance Theater’s play. Garner is the former director of the Georgia Shakespeare Festival. The Alliance Theater is Atlanta’s largest theater company.

Opening night for “Shakespeare in Love” was September 6th. While he had a few butterflies before the big opening night, Oakley said he was ready. “I was nervous in the sense that it was positive, anticipatory nerves But I felt prepared. We have been working on the show since Aug. 3. So I felt ready and very excited.

Being around the professional actors in the Alliance Theater group has been an incredible experience, Oakley said.

“The actors are so polished, so intelligent, so talented. They make decisions in rehearsal, come up with something new, they are just on their game all the time.,” said Oakley.

“I was a little Intimidated at first because of the talent and experience, but as it has gone on, I realized I could keep pace. I am not lost in rehearsals, never had my confidence falter to the point that I questioned myself. The ability to keep pace is one of the best things to happen to my confidence as an actor,” said Oakley.

Being a professional actor is Oakley’s dream and career goal, but don’t expect him to leave Atlanta for the bright lights of New York or Los Angeles just yet.

“The theater scene in Atlanta is the place to be and the city is third in the nation as far as filming.

In "Shakespeare in Love" — a fictional account of the inspiration behind “Romeo and Juliet” — Oakley’s role is Robin, an actor. Robin and other actors are cast in “Romeo and Juliet,” with Oakley cast as Lady Capulet.

Northside High School is taking a group of 75 students to see “Shakespeare in Love” during its run.

“There are educational elements in it,” said Brian Barnett, director of drama at Northside High School. “It is a play about Shakespeare, so there is a lot of Shakespeare quoted in it. We are also thrilled that one of our Northside High School students will be performing. We are all very excited to see Alex in his first professional gig.”

“Shakespeare in Love” is being performed at the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta until September 24. Tickets are available online at alliancetheater.org.

Alline Kent can be contacted at allinekent@cox.net.

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