SIX YEARS have passed since Ian Allred graduated from high school, and the former Thespian is rapidly learning the ways of professional theatre, which he says requires work ethic as much as skill.

Allred is spending the summer in the company at Utah Shakespeare Festival, a Tony Award-winning theatre in Cedar City. The festival presents classic and contemporary shows in rotating repertory. Allred plays Joseph’s brother Issachar in the ensemble of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, understudies other roles as needed, and performs in The Greenshow preshow entertainment. Meanwhile, he is preparing to finish his B.F.A. in theatre this December at Southern Utah University.

Allred’s festival immersion (he also appeared last year in Big River) is a world away from his days in Thespian Troupe 3584 at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he graduated in 2013. “In professional theatre, so much more is expected from you,” Allred said. “You’re expected to pick things up a lot faster.”

Allred looks back fondly on his teen years in the International Thespian Society, which he says prepared him for his acting future. He benefited from a system that gave students credit for attending live theatre. Allred made a point of seeing many shows, and he learned to develop his acting skills by watching the pros onstage.

Allred also found International Thespian Festival workshops helpful for learning what was going on in other parts of the country. “It just opened your eyes to theatre at a national level,” he said.

After graduating from high school, Allred started his studies at Southern Utah, finishing his freshman year. Then, he took two years off to serve in a Mormon mission before returning to school. But he still had wanderlust, so he took another semester off to complete an internship at Walt Disney World, entertaining visitors at Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction.

These days, Allred’s schedule is packed with almost daily outdoor shows and constant rehearsals the rest of the time — except for Sundays, his day to relax. He enjoys hanging out with his older brother Alex, also a Saguaro High School Thespian alum acting at the festival this year.

Allred has noticed that people in the professional world root for each other. “High school theatre can turn into such a competition,” he said. “Everybody wants to get the lead, and if you didn’t get the lead, you’re bummed about it.”

The professional theatre community feels largely supportive. “On a large scale, people are kind and uplifting … and everyone’s excited,” Allred said.

As a teenager, Allred was advised to be the kind of actor that directors and performers want to work with. Talent is only one piece of the package. “I’ve heard it said a million times that talent will get you hired, but personality will get you hired back,” he said. “The key is working on your skill but making sure you behave like a professional.”

Allred also offers this advice he wishes someone had given him in high school: Know the difference between selling yourself and being a diva. “Sometimes we’re so afraid of coming across as egotistical that we are afraid to talk ourselves up,” he said. “In this business, you need to be aware of what you bring to the table — your talents, your skills — but you also need to recognize that there are other people in the room that are talented. Don’t be humble to the point that you let opportunities pass you by.”

Allred doesn’t know what he wants to do when he graduates, but he plans to move to New York City “to give it my all and see where to go from there.”

He is open to different types of performing, including acting for movies and television. His heart, though, leans toward the stage. “I have a special place in my heart for theatre, just because I love having a live audience and … the reaction,” Allred said.

For Allred, nothing beats the intimacy that theatre allows actors to have with audiences. He said, “[Actings] more invigorating for me being in a room with people who are experiencing it.”

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