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Growing up, my grandparents would bring us grandkids to various community theater shows and my mother would bring me to the occassional professional production when able to. Seeing the actors on stage bringing the audience into their world seemed like an amazing experience; one that I wanted to be a part of.

There were various opportunities over the years to make this experience a reality with the yearly Christmas pageants in elementary and middle school. Whether it was a well known story like "Charlie Brown Christmas" or a modern day spin on the nativity story, I found myself falling in with the drama crew. While I enjoyed the school productions immensely, each time we saw a local production I would still wonder what steps would be needed to perform on a larger stage. It would not be until nearing the end of elementary school that my parents noticed a casting call ("Sound of Music") for a local theater company and brought me to audition (the audition song: "You're A Grand Old Flag"). Unfortunately the audition would be a dud but it was not an experience that would deter me from wanting to perform on the community stage.

Come high school, the productions grew (as well as the competition) but whether I had my own lines and songs or fell in line with the ensemble I enjoyed the overall experience immensely- realizing the family that theater was beginning to create. It was during high school that I had the opportunity to join a brand new community theater group, The Scholarship Performers, where I would finally get the chance to experience the community stage. While the group would eventually disperse after we went our separate ways several years later it was an experience that exceeded my expectations.

During my senior year of high school I began to hear of others having the opportunity to be extras in a feature film ("Evening") that would be set for wide-release and filmed partly in Rhode Island. Curious on how I could gain experience in the film industry, toward the end of my senior year of high school I finally discovered my first casting agency- LDI Casting. Right away I had the opportunity to audition for Showtime's "The Brotherhood" and was ecstatic to learn shortly after that I not only received a call back but would later be cast to act in a scene across from award-winning actress Fionnula Flanagan ("The Others", "Lost").

While the scene would not make it to television, and I would find myself leaving Rhode Island, it was an experience that had me craving more. This proved to become quite the challenge moving from an area with one agency to a location with dozens. It has been a challenging road, and a constant learning experience, but I look forward to seeing where this journey takes me and I hope you come along for the ride!

-Benjamin Mainville

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