Student Spotlight: Raven James

Whether she’s in the spotlight or operating it, Raven James leaves her mark on many of Riverside’s theater productions.
James started participating in theater in seventh grade when she joined her school’s production of Peter Pan just a week before the first performance. She volunteered to fill in for a student who dropped out of the play at the last minute.
“I learned all my lines and like a whole song in six days and I’ve been doing it since,” James said.
She has since appeared in two Riverside theater productions, stage managed two others, participated in three advanced theater showcases, and was assistant director of the latest play.
“I started off doing the acting portion of it, but now I’ve grown more accustomed to the tech side,” James said. “And I think I like that. I like being able to design it, almost, with the lights and the sound…putting it all together.”
Riverside theater teacher Monique Taylor describes James as fiery, intense, passionate, talented, and intelligent.
“She’s very talented. She works so well with the backstage crew too,” Taylor said. “I had someone watching. You know, I was like, ‘Listen to her.’”
Taylor says that it is her attention to detail and people skills that make James good at what she does. Fellow theater student Grace Murphy says that James has a talent for conveying her teachers’ vision for performances to the cast.
“She’s kind of like the mediator, or the translator, so to speak,” Murphy said.
“Everybody that meets Raven gets along well with her,” Taylor said. “You know, she was my T.A. also, so she’s always had a way with engaging with her peers.”
James says that she didn’t get involved in theater earlier because she was sure that she would have stage fright. Now, she hopes to incorporate theater tech in her future career as an electrical engineer.
“I think it’s made me less socially anxious,” she said, “because once you can be weird and do things on stage… I feel like you’re a little less scared of being around people in general.”

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