Backstage Lake County: Meet Middletown High School’s New Drama Teacher

Middletown High School has a new drama teacher.  After many years, Mrs. Cynthia Radford has retired and one of her former students, Carrie Ann Eve, is stepping up to take her place.  Eve will be teaching Drama for the ninth through twelfth grades, Advanced Theatre, and Technical Design.  She will also take over the Drama Club and the National Thespian Society for Middletown.   She was the President of the Middletown High School Branch when she was a student at Middletown High School and she finds it pretty cool that she’s come full circle.   

Eve was born in Woodland, but she has strong ties to Middletown.  Her family moved to her grandparent’s property here when she was two.  Her great-grandparents acquired the land in the 1950’s and her great-uncle and godfather also raised cattle in the area.  Her father is longtime Middletown resident, Craig Eve. 

Eve started taking dance lessons when she was just 4 ½ years old.  She studied with Jamie Zimmerman Bransicso and Bernadette Alverio back when Expressive Motion Dance Studio was still in Middletown.  Her love of dance continued through high school where she discovered Drama.  She loved the class which she took for all four years.  And, it helped her to grow more confident in her speaking and as a performer.   

When she was a junior she found out about the Renaissance Christmas Pageant at the Middletown Methodist Church.  She volunteered to be a serving maid to get her community service hours.  After the show was over, she decided that she “definitely wanted to do that again.”   The following year she auditioned and became one of the youngest players in the pageant. It was during that show that she found out about the Lake County Theatre Company (LCTC) and began performing and stage managing with them.   

Her high school Drama class organized a trip to Ashland, Oregon to see the shows at the annual festival.  As a result of that trip, she was inspired to continue doing what she loved, performing, and to apply for Southern Oregon University.  After she was accepted, she stayed in Middletown just long enough to perform in one last show with LCTC, Romeo and Juliet, and then headed off to college in the Fall of 2011.   

While there she received her BA in Theatre Arts and a Minor in Shakespearean Studies.  Her core classes allowed her to learn about everything:  Costume, Stage, Lighting, and Sound Design.  She took directing and began directing cabaret and black box shows. For her electives she took dancing and puppetry.  She also got an opportunity to choreograph the Adams Family musical for  the local high school.  It was her first experience with a high school age production.   

She stayed in Ashland for a few years and spent her time performing with the Camelot Theatre Company, the Randall Theatre Company, and Thanks for the Memories Theatre.  She spent most of her time rehearsing for one show by day and then leaving to go perform in another at night.  After appearing in 16 musicals in a row she decided to go head to San Diego for a change, but didn’t really have much luck there.  So, she moved home to restart in January 2019.  Her family had just finished rebuilding after the Valley Fire and had room for an extra person.  She decided to become a substitute teacher because “you just needed a BA” and because the theme throughout her life has always been to just “try it and see if it works and it usually works.”  True to form, she started teaching about two weeks after she returned home.   

She also rejoined LCTC and started volunteering for various shows.  She was one of the backup dancers for the group’s fundraiser, the Mr. Lake County Pageant.  It was there that she met and fell in love with one of the contestants, her now fiance, Tim Laubach.  She also began substitute teaching for Jeanette Marchais at Studio Ballet Works out of Kim’s Dance Factory and even appeared in Marchais’ first staging of the Nutcracker in Lake County.  (Look for her in this year’s staging at the Soper Reese theatre where she will perform and assist in the production) 

Around that time, a teacher she knew needed someone for kindergarten.  So, Eve enrolled in a degree program and worked through the necessary classes to get credentialed.  She worked at Eastlake Elementary and taught Kindergarten in Clearlake and then second and third grades.  When the pandemic hit she began teaching third grade at Kelseyville Elementary School online.  This last March she taught a hybrid class where the students spent half the day online and the rest of the day in person. 

She always knew that she loved performing, but it wasn’t until she started teaching that she discovered her love of teaching.  She loved “discovering things” with her students and all the heartwarming things they did.  Even though the pandemic year was crazy, her students “kept her going when things were tough.” 

Recently, she was sick in bed, not feeling well, and scrolling online when she saw the job posting for the Middletown High School Drama teacher.  She leapt out of bed, ignoring how she felt to gather transcripts and letters of reference.  “I saw the notice and I thought, this is mine.  I want this!” 

She ended up interviewing with some of the very same teachers she remembered from her days on campus, and she got the job.  While the 5’4” Eve realizes that switching from third graders to high schoolers who tower over her is going to be a big change, she thinks the biggest difference will be her students’ sense of humor which she’s looking forward to.   

She’s also looking forward to getting to teach acting (not just academics) and reading plays with historical context that will fit in with world history. She hopes that her students will find they love performing, or costume building, or just enjoy being audience members.  She hopes that she can peak their interest in the arts.   

And, she won’t be entirely on her own in this endeavor.  Radford, her mentor and predecessor,  left her all of her lesson plans and stacks of books.  Eve is looking forward to all of her new summer reading.  In particular, the teachers’ edition of the same book she had when she was in Drama class. 

Eve says she found theatre because of this school and she’s glad to be able to give back to the Middletown Community and the high school that shaped her.  And, we are glad to have her back.  Welcome home, Carrie Ann Eve. 

Charise Reynolds

CHARISE REYNOLDS HAS OVER 30 YEARS EXPERIENCE PERFORMING IN MUSICAL THEATER IN SAN DIEGO, LOS ANGELES, AND LAKE COUNTY. SHE’S A FORMER BOARD MEMBER OF THE LAKE COUNTY THEATRE COMPANY AND MOST RECENTLY HAS TURNED HER ENDEAVORS TOWARD PRODUCING. SHE IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON HER ONE-WOMAN SHOW TITLED “LOVE, LOSS, AND LESSONS LEARNED” SET TO BE PERFORMED IN JANUARY 2022.

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