This award-winning thespian is inspiring theatre students right here in Birmingham


Altamont School
Legally Blonde was one of The Altamont School’s biggest hits. (The Altamont School)

With gorgeous historic theatres and a thriving community of performers, Birmingham is the place to be. And not just for those who want to watch it, but for students seeking to learn about it, create it and perform it. From an award-winning educator to a state-of-the-art performance space, read on for a look at The Altamont School’s standout theatre program and why it’s turning heads.

Sparking passion through education

Theatre students at The Altamont School. (The Altamont School)

Showing a glimmer of interest in theatre can lead to a full-on passion for young students if provided the right instruction and environment. The Altamont School’s theatre program provides both. 

If you don’t know much about The Altamont School, it’s a private college preparatory school located atop Red Mountain in Birmingham. Here, the arts are vital to the core education of each student through quality instruction and freedom to explore their interests. 

Each school year, the performing arts department presents three MainStage productions, which include a mix of comedy, drama and musical theatre.  

Want to learn more about The Altamont School’s Theatre program? Visit their website now

An award-winning theatre teacher

Seussical.The Altamont School
Reid Watson joined The Altamont School’s staff in 2021. (The Altamont School)

Leading the charge of The Altamont School’s Theatre Program is Reid Watson. An experienced actor and theatre instructor, Watson brings years of expertise to the school’s theatre program.

Watson’s career has taken him everywhere from Birmingham to New York City. Throughout his journey, he’s been able to direct and perform in a variety of productions as well as use his passions to teach students of all ages.

Here’s a quick scan of his impressive resume:

  • He’s directed shows like The Merchant of Venice, The Addams Family and Shrek the Musical.
  • He performed at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
  • He made his New York City debut in the Off-Broadway Revival of Urinetown at the American Theatre of Actors.
  • While living in New York City, he studied privately with Joan Lader (2016 Tony Award for Excellent in Theatre) in the work of Estill Voice International.

Locally, Watson has performed in several venues including Birmingham Children’s Theatre, Red Mountain Theatre and Virginia Samford Theatre.

Watson has taught theatre at Birmingham Children’s Theatre, UAB’s ArtPlay and Pinson Valley High School. Currently, he instructs Adult Acting courses at Red Mountain Theatre in his spare time.

A special recognition

Seussical. (The Altamont School)

This past May at an awards assembly at The Altamont School, Watson received a special surprise. Assistant Head of School JP Hemingway presented him with the Edna Earle Mullins Endowed Teaching Prize. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching and leadership. 

When presenting the award, Hemingway noted that in Watson’s two short years at Altamont, he has:

  • Taken Altamont’s theatre program to new heights while also dedicating himself to his classes, his advisory and the Thespian Club.
  • Taught a full load of classes and produced smash hits like Clue, Fame!, Jungle Book, Legally Blond, Moon Over Buffalo and Seussical.
  • Led Altamont theatre students to the Walter Trumbauer High School Theatre Festivals in November and December 2022. Watson and his theatre students brought home dozens of individual and group honors from the district and state including Best In Show at both competitions for the school’s production of Legally Blonde.

The Edna Earle Mullins Endowed Teaching Prize isn’t the only award Watson has received during his career. He has also been recognized as:

  • Most Outstanding Graduate Student through The University of Alabama’s College of Education
  • YoungArts Winner in Musical Theatre through the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts

A state-of-the-art performance space

Altamont Theatre Cabaniss-Kaul Center for the Arts. (The Altamont School)

Helping nurture students of The Altamont School’s Theatre Program is the Cabaniss-Kaul Center for the Arts. This state-of-the-art performance space provides students an unparalleled spot to create and showcase their talent.

Here’s a peek at what it includes:

  • Theatre-style seating for 500
  • Spacious prop production room, makeup studio + costume shop
  • The latest in lighting, audio-visual equipment and acoustical elements
  • Theatre and visual arts students learn everything from set construction and painting to lighting and prop design.
Theatre students preparing for a show backstage. (The Altamont School)

Along with acting instruction, at the Cabaniss-Kaul Center for the Arts, theatre and visual arts students learn everything from set construction and painting to lighting and prop design.

To learn more about The Altamont School and how it’s helping local students shine by visiting their website.

Sponsored by:

Patience Itson
Patience Itson
Articles: 1647