He was a lawyer in the prosecution in the murder mystery of Helen Jones, a Mayor of a Russian town under inspection and was the father of six children during the Great Depression; senior Nathan Simpson hasn’t even graduated from high school.
Simpson, a avid member in the theatre program and recent recipient of a $15,000 scholarship to DePaul, didn’t have much direction before theatre.
“I didn’t really have anything, any kind of direction that I could go during college,” Simpson said. “I had music, I’m good at English and I’m a photographer, but none of those seemed like things I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And then I found acting and I felt right doing it and thought ‘Hey, maybe this.’”
Simpson first started acting last year as a junior in then-senior Sarah Evans’ comedic Frequent Friday. He had always enjoyed theater and found it entertaining, but after the Frequent Friday, he knew it was something he wanted to get more involved in.
Simpson auditioned for “Grapes of Wrath,” a “main stage” play, soon after his first acting experience and, to much of his surprise, landed a lead role as Pa Joad.
He began noticing how much fun he was having acting. How he finally had direction and had an idea of what he wanted to do with is life, and as questions of colleges and fields he wanted to go into came around, he finally had an answer: theater.
He began to focus more on his acting, trying to take it to the next level. He took classes at East such as Dramatic Literature and Actors studio, which helped him get the basics of acting down–how to get in character, how to react to a crowd and to broaden his knowledge on all different types of theater genres.
Simpson started looking at schools during the summer before senior year and applied to four of the most prestigious theatre schools in the country: DePaul University, University of Minnesota, Boston University and Ithaca College.
He went to Chicago to audition for all his “reach schools.” The audition was two, 10 minute monologues that decided if he was in, or out. Ten minutes decided whether Simpson would achieve his goal.
He received scholarship letters to the Theatre school at Depaul and Ithaca, and from there, he chose DePual, thanks to a $15,000 a year scholarship and a program that will send him to Los Angeles and New York his senior year to audition in front of directors and producers.
“I couldn’t be happier with Depaul,” Simpson said.
Simpson has always lived to reach his goals. Get a state time in swimming. Make State Orchestra. But now, his new goal is monumentally bigger. Act professionally.
“I think being in a cowboy movie would be really sweet,” Simpson laughed. “but no matter what I do, theater or on screen, it doesn’t have to be big bucks but if I can support myself doing this, I’d be on cloud nine. I’d be in heaven.”
Simpson is ready to take on the new challenges that face him.
“It’s weird to think that I’m leaving the ‘nest.’ I guess you could say but I definitely think I’m ready,” Simpson said. “I feel like, this is a dream come true if I can make this work.”