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Young actress relishes role on stage
Rising sixth-grader is active in productions
Ford
Starting this weekend, Kealy Ford of Forsyth County began the role of Scout Finch in the Alpharetta-based ACT1 Theater production of To Kill a Mockingbird. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

At age 11, Kealy Ford could be considered a "triple threat."

With an endearing smile and polite demeanor, Ford isn’t the least bit threatening.

Rather, it’s her on-stage talents of singing, dancing and acting that qualify her for the title.

Starting this weekend, the Forsyth County girl began the role of Scout in the Alpharetta-based ACT1 Theater production of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The show will run on select dates until Aug. 7 at the Alpharetta Presbyterian Church.

The play, based on Harper Lee’s classic novel, is a drama set in the South during the Great Depression.

Ford earned a starring role as Scout Finch, the daughter of an attorney defending a black man accused of murdering a white woman.

Fellow actress Barbara McFann said that young Ford shines in "the very intense role."

"[She] studied the book, captured the accent, dressed the part and, according to director Robin Thornett, she grasped the character of Atticus Finch’s spirited young daughter," McFann wrote in an e-mail.

The two will also share the stage in an upcoming Cumming Playhouse production of "The Miracle Worker," in which Ford will play Helen Keller.

For that show, the community theater and local production group, Gypsy Theatre Company, will be the very same with which Ford got her start about a year ago in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves."

Mercury, the director of both "Snow White" and the upcoming "Miracle Worker," said Ford initially struck him for her projection, preparation and overall attitude.

"She seems to have a passion for acting," he said. "That’s half the battle. If you want to be up there and you’re interested in pursuing that, it really shows."

Following an acting camp last summer, Ford expressed an interest in getting on stage, and her mother contacted all local theater groups about upcoming auditions.

Since then, Ford has taken on several full-length productions and earned starring roles in many, in addition to continuing lessons in singing and dancing.

"Since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be on stage," Ford said.

Her mother, Tammy, said she loves to watch the child enjoying herself in play practice and performance.

"She kind of a natural, I’d have to say, even though I’m her mom," she said. "She just took to it, and she loves it."

While other children may be finishing up summer break with playtime, her daughter opted to take on a busy rehearsal schedule.

Kealy Ford said she spent time with friends for the first part of her summer, which she enjoys.

She’s also having fun performing in one show, rehearsing for another and preparing for an audition for the fall play at Otwell Middle School, where she’ll start sixth grade in August.

In that show, she hopes to land a role as a "bratty" character, her favorite type.

"It’s the complete opposite of what I actually am, so it’s kind of different to act that way on stage," she said. "It’s really fun."

Her current role as the noble Scout doesn’t call for that type of acting, but she enjoys portraying the young girl all the same.

The young actress described the character as a stubborn and energetic tomboy, who is curious and adventurous.

She practiced her Southern accent for the part in the play, which struck a chord with her.

"It’s a life-changing story," she said. "It’s just beautiful. It’s amazing how different it is now than it was back then."