Dawson sets stage for performing future
By Mead Gill, Reporter
When Gabriel Dawson started performing on stage at the age of three, the island didn’t know to expect the college-bound actor, singer, and dancer he is today. A senior at the high school, Dawson has worked for over a decade on improving his performance skill set through island programs such as Drama Dock and VCA Youth. With graduation on the horizon, Dawson is striving to continue his passion beyond his high school years.
As a child, Dawson often performed with his older brother, who he credits to sparking his lifelong love of theater.
“My brother was like the big ‘theater geek’ in highschool. He … got me into performing and always … supported me,” Dawson said. “When they needed that cute kid to fill in for those roles in [shows], my brother would always turn to me. That’s what kind of pulled me into [performing arts].”
Along with his brother, Dawson is driven by his vocal teacher, Marita Ericksen. She accredits his growth in singing to his determination and positive attitude.
“Gabriel is one of the hardest workers I have worked with in all my 20 years of teaching,” Ericksen said. “He has a strong work ethic, … and I feel he’s been a real asset to our VCA arts education program.”
Dawson’s years of work with island theater programs are what has pushed him to become a distinguished local performer. He’s played the lead role in every VCA Youth performance since 2016 and has participated in VCA’s internships and behind-the-scenes crew. This past year, Dawson played the title character in Drama Dock’s interpretation of The Who’s Tommy, praised for his “fantastic voice” and “charming stage presence” by The Beachcomber.
Dawson hopes to maintain this impression when the time comes for college auditions. Because many performance-based universities are considered prestigious, Dawson has been digging deep into improving his skills.
As Dawson’s consistent local theater presence closes it’s curtains, it’s only opening night for his performing potential. According to Lucy Rogers, Dawson’s co-performer of three years, Dawson is an essential part of Drama Dock and the VCA.
“To our drama community, … [Dawson] is the ‘go to’ guy,” Rogers said. “He handles things in a professional manner while being a friend to lean on and confide in. Our family would not be the same without him.”