When Parker Thompson acted in the Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “Treasure Island” at age 9, it was the beginning of what he hopes will be a lifelong journey.
Now 14 and soon to be a freshman at North Hardin High School in Radcliff, Thompson has acted in several productions through Missoula, the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center’s ProAm program, Youth Theatre of Hardin County and Hardin County Playhouse.
Thompson said he still recalls the feeling of being on stage for the first time.
“I was extremely nervous,” he said. “It was thrilling, though, because it was my first time doing something like that and just going through the mindset of actually being in front of 100 to 200 people.”
Thompson now spends a great deal of time in that mindset. He has appeared in “Seussical the Musical” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” through Youth Theatre of Hardin County; “Mama Mia,” “Peter and the Star Catcher,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Hobbit” through the PAC’s ProAm program; “Alice in Wonderland,” “Cinderella,” “Treasure Island” and “Rapunzel” through Missoula; and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” through Hardin County Playhouse.
Thompson said confidence on stage has come with all this experience.
“I’m able to get up on stage much easier and make more bold choices than before,” he said.
Thompson said his favorite role so far has been Ted in “Peter and the Star Catcher.” He said portraying a prominent character in the production and the ability to work with experienced actors through ProAm was a formative experience.
“It was amazing to perform with all the professionals on stage and he was so much of a fun character to play,” he said.
Jared Eaton, a fellow cast member in “Peter and the Star Catcher,” said it was apparent Thompson was right for the role as soon as he began auditioning.
“We knew instantly,” he said. “The first line he read was locked in.”
Thompson currently is portraying Barnaby Tucker in the Youth Theatre of Hardin County’s production of “Hello, Dolly!” Performances are scheduled July 12-14 and July 18-20 at the PAC.
Although Thompson mostly sings through theater, he also is a member of the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church choir. He has experience working with the church’s youth group on a variety of community service projects, as well.
When he’s not performing on stage, Thompson enjoys being on the soccer field. He was been playing since he was 4, most recently competing through the Atletico Flames team in Elizabethtown.
He has served as a soccer referee at the Mike Carroll Soccer Complex in Elizabethtown and Rineyville Community Ballpark. He said he was inspired to volunteer after witnessing his father and older brother officiate local games.
This shared family involvement has carried over into theater as well. Thompson said his father Greg and brother Jathan provide technical support during various productions and his mother Angela often helps with concessions.
“It’s been pretty cool to see my family coming together through this passion,” Thompson said.
Looking toward high school, Thompson said he’s excited to join North Hardin’s choir program and take part in their annual musical productions. He said he’s excited to once again perform in “Seussical,” a production North Hardin has planned for the next school year.
“Maybe I can get a different role,” he said. “It will be cool seeing the show from a different perspective.”
Aside from acting, Thompson also provided technical support for The PAC’s ProAm production of “Sherlock Holmes.” He said it was a thrill to witness theater production from a different perspective.
“I remember watching the show every night and learning something new every day,” he said.
PAC Technical Director Aaron Taylor said Thompson has an evident passion for all things theater.
“A lot of the best kids we get in here, you can tell when they’re fixated and when they’re addicted,” he said. “If they’re in a show, the next thing I’ll get is, ‘Do you need help with tech?’ It’s whatever they can do to get back in the door.”