Today we’d like to introduce you to Sonia Jackson.
Sonia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Except for the first year of my life, I grew up in Los Angeles. My dad wanted to teach High School music but no positions were available so he taught driver’s education and training instead. My mom gave private piano lessons.
When I was seven, I was also put in dance classes to help straighten my legs. That’s when I learned I loved to perform. I didn’t know, though, that it could be a real job, so in college I studied sociology and dance and afterwards, went to work in human resources in such Industries like Aerospace, banking, etc.
I was the human resources manager of a computer services organization when I re-evaluated my life and decided to become an actress. Since I didn’t have anything to put on my resume except a play that I wrote and starred in when I was seven years old, I decided to do stand-up and also created my first solo show, I’m Gonna Fly, the story of Bessie Coleman America’s, first black Aviatrix.
Still not wanting to wait to be given work in entertainment, I created an ensemble play called Conversations ‘Bout the Girls, an inspiring performance piece about the relationship women have with their breasts. This month, October 2020, is its 15th year anniversary. Three years ago, I turned it into my second solo show.
Mamaisms, my third solo show, is Old-Fashioned Wisdom for a New Generation and a roller coaster of universal themes about grandmas, mamas, children and mothering. I perform a multi-generational cast of characters of little children playing, teens discovering, mamas tending and more to tell the stories that make us think about how we care for our children and how to just be thoughtful, mindful and kind in life because what we learn from Mama is truly timeless. This is the positive parenting piece.
It seems the more I use my creativity, more things show up for me to create. I’ve started painting and writing music. It’s all a lot of fun!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s always a challenge working in a field where the answer is more often “no” than “yes.” Even if you’re working as an actor, you’re generally looking for the next job. That’s one of the reasons why I created my own works and projects. I wanted to always be able to express my talent as an actor and performer.
Then I found I had something to say that others found entertaining, insightful and empowering. I love the way I write my shows. Full of fun, laughter, drama and a little different way to look at the world.
Doing my own shows in terms of theater is also a challenge. They took the Arts out of a lot of the school systems so younger people don’t have as much theatre knowledge and don’t attend as much theatre. Finding ways to reach theatre goers, being creative finding audiences, funding productions. These are all challenges to producing theatre.
Visions of Possibilities – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My company, Visions of Possibilities, a nonprofit that focuses on entertainment, is committed to bringing to the public projects that challenge us to live life from what’s possible. Projects that celebrate the spirit in us all and help us to see the best in ourselves, thereby being able to see the best in others.
The projects and products currently under our umbrella all celebrate the human spirit. Showing our everyday life, with all, what appears to be. Our blemishes and recognizes them as our blessings.
Our most current production, “Mamaisms” is old-fashioned wisdom for a new generation and pretty much talks about the importance of mothers. “Conversations ‘Bout the Girls” is about the relationship women have with their breasts. It brings into view women’s bodies and body images. “I’m Gonna Fly” Is about inspiring empowering others to continue to pursue their dreams.
Mamaisms live-streamed Sunday November 8th. Dates for it’s return have not been determined, however, Pay-Per-View information can be found at www.SoniaJackson.Com.
Whether through laughter or tears, I like the audience to leave empowered.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
There are so many definitions of success and they are very different for each person. There’s financial success, career-oriented success, goal-oriented success, so many kinds. I love the success of accomplishing something that I go after.
As an actor, a lot of my success has come from touching someone’s life through my brand of expressing a character or telling a story. It is an amazing thing to have someone tell you that they’re going to talk to their daughter or wife differently because of something that you expressed on stage. Or they’re going to teach their son to do something differently. Or they were able to handle a situation they were in differently because having seen a story that I do. They came to be entertained but their life changed because of the way I told a story.
And, because I enjoy all kinds of success, I also look forward to expanding my success by reaching more people. I do have plans to allow for more financial success in my entertainment pursuits.
- Website: https://www.soniajackson.com/
- Phone: 323-375-6241
- Email: info@SoniaJackson.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/soniajacksontheatre/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoniaJacksonTheatre
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/SoniaTheatre
Paul Gutherie, Amelia Jackson, Anissa Alston, Sandra Middleton, Maria Rangel