By Anna Duning (March 15, 2007)
One of the many talents onstage at this spring’s production of As You Like It will be ninth grader Miles Butler in the role of Lord Frederic. While As You Like It may be one of his first school plays, Miles is no newcomer to the stage, or to show biz, for that matter. Since the age of nine, he has starred in nearly 10 plays, in addition to a few short films, television performances and dance shows. Those outside of Miles’s group of friends and the theatre department may not know that beyond the George Mason auditorium he has also performed at Ford’s Theatre, the Kennedy Center, the Woolly Mammoth, and the Folger Theatre.
Miles’s mother (who, Miles said, “is basically my agent”) continued seeking out opportunities for auditions in the newspaper. It did not take long before Miles, as a middle school student, was fully engaged in the biz. Dance classes, acting instruction and voice lessons were all added to Miles’s impressive resume. Currently, on his busiest weeks, Miles spends three hours a day, six days a week in training.
All those skills are evident onstage and they are necessary, too. In one of his most recent performances, no one spoke a single line. Miles starred as both Fleance and Macduff’s son in the Synetic Theatre of Rosslyn’s silent production of Macbeth. “It was really cool because you pretty much auditioned by coming to a dance workout; it’s very dance based,” Miles said. It is intense dance, but Miles keeps up, despite the fact that he is by far the youngest member in the Synetic group.
One of Miles’s most exciting experiences came this summer, when he traveled to England to learn more about theatre first-hand. “It was like an exchange program. The group of us [ranging from eight to eighteen years old] lived with aspiring English actors. It was very educational,” said Miles. At the end of the week, Miles and his fellow travelers performed Romeo and Juliet with Miles starring as Romeo
For now though, Miles is committed to promoting D.C. theatre while continuing his career as a high school student—and that doesn’t end at the stage. Miles runs on the cross-country team and was the fastest freshman in the single A region this fall, running the 5k at a time of 18:25. “If I wasn’t doing acting, I would be doing more sports,” Miles said. “There’s so many times when I want to try out for a school team, but I just don’t have the time.”
When it comes down to it, though, “I’d pick theatre over sports,” said Miles. “It’s just such a different kind of atmosphere; there’s just something about not being yourself and trying to impress an audience.”
Adding to his repertoire of acts, Miles will also be performing in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at the Studio Theatre in May. “There are endless things I’d love to do,” said Miles. It certainly looks like he’s off to a good start.
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