Soulsville Charter School student Rickey Fondren, also a Stax Music Academy student, was recently interviewed by CNN for a story on the academy’s Black History Month virtual concert. Now, he’s planning to take to the stage with the Tennessee Shakespeare Company for his 2022 Summer Growth Experience (SGE). Rickey is in the 10th grade. We recently caught up with him to ask about his love of Macbeth, hopes for college, and plans for adulthood.
TSCS 10th grader Rickey Fondren (orange pants) in the SMA 2022 Black History Month virtual concert as reported by CNN.
TSCS: How long have you been at The Soulsville Charter School (TSCS) and what grade are you in now?
RF: I’ve been at The Soulsville Charter School since I was in 6th grade (2017-18 school year). I am now in the 10th grade.
TSCS: Can you tell us about your involvement with the Tennessee Shakespeare Company?
RF: This will be my Summer Growth Experience (SGE) this year. I feel like this SGE will be a great experience this summer to learn more about acting, and it will make me a better actor and help more perfect my craft.
TSCS: What motivated you to get involved?
RF: Earlier in the year we were reading Macbeth by Shakespeare. Something about that play resonated with me. I feel that Shakespeare’s timeless writing and his characters kind of pushed me into the direction of Tennessee Shakespeare Co.
TSCS: You are also in the Stax Music Academy’s after school program. Does TSCS and SMA seem like a family to you? How?
RF: I feel that I have friends and certain teachers at Soulsville that I have developed these wonderful relationships with. And SMA is definitely my family. Anyone you perform with for four years is family.
TSCS: How has TSCS helped prepare you for college?
RF: TSCS has helped me prepare for college by giving me more academic responsibility. I feel more in control and responsible for how my grades look and focus on communicating with teachers and students and developing relationships.
TSCS: How would you describe the teachers at TSCS?
RF: I feel that they want me to succeed and some are truly invested in my future and want to help me get to where I want to be in life. I can talk to about my future and my passions to be an actor and they will treat them seriously. I get I should have backup plan, and most people support that because it is more “realistic” to them; that’s not the case with my teachers, though.
TSCS: Have you chosen a college to attend and why did you make that decision?
RF: I have chosen to go to Howard University. HU, YOU KNOW! So many great actors have come out of that school and they have a really good theater program. Plus, I’ve always wanted to go to D.C. I feel I need to do more college searching before then, though.
TSCS: What are your plans for the future?
RF: I want to go to college and major in theater and become a successful actor. Then I want to come back to Memphis to help out the community.