President of the theatre club, the kicker for the football team and Scar in a Lion King Jr. choreography are just a few of the long list of accomplishments for Belleville West senior Nathan Hirst.
The self-taught dancer only formally took ballet a few years ago but is certain that it’s Broadway or bust. Finding influence from his mom, Lori, Nathan is excited for his future and serves as a role model for some of his friends.
Q. How did your theatre career begin?
A. “I started doing theatre when I was in fifth grade. My mom just kind of pushed me into an audition. I automatically fell in love with it. I loved performing for people. I loved being the center of attention and making people laugh. I was a self-taught dancer. I would stretch by myself and just watch YouTube videos. I would practice in my living room until I got it down.”
Q. How has your theatre background affected your school life?
A. “I am the president of the Little Theatre club. For me, being the president is a bigger step in responsibility. I have a lot of underclassmen friends. Sometimes they’ll say they look up to me. Whenever I do anything with theatre I usually do it for them so I can be a role model for them. I would say its all about being a role model and giving them somebody to look up to in that so that their dreams go farther than high school and so that they want to pursue it.”
Q. How did you join the football team?
A. “Once I got to high school I didn’t think that I would ever have time for sports, so I never tried out for any. But this year I got put into P.E. and the teacher just so happened to be the head coach of the football team and asked me what sport I did and I said ‘I'm a dancer.’ I was thinking about being the kicker, but I never went to any camps. He told me to try out and I’m on the team now.”
Q. What are your plans after high school?
A. “I want to be on Broadway. I’m auditioning for ‘Newsies’ (a Broadway musical) in a few weeks. It’s all about not being treated differently or getting stepped on. I feel like that’s a really good message that I would want to portray. After high school I want to continue in theatre and dance, because it’s like Lea DeLaria who was just here said, ‘if I couldn’t make people laugh if I could dance, sing, act, anything on stage I don’t know what I would do.’ That’s kind of how I would feel if I couldn’t do anything again it would be upsetting. So Broadway is the goal.
Q. Who is your biggest influence?
A. “My mom will work with me on my songs whenever I have auditions coming up. She sings opera; she has a beautiful voice. Even if I come to my mom and say I don’t want to do this anymore or I’m really upset about something she’ll pick me up and keep me motivated so I can keep on fulfilling my dreams.”
Meet Nathan Hirst
- Age: 17
- School: Belleville West High School
- Grade: Senior
- Years dancing: Seven
- Achievements: Kicker for football team, president of Little Theatre club, auditioning for “Newsies” in New York City, and played Scar for Lion Kings Jr. DVD after beating hundreds of kids for the same opportunity