The Student News Site of Urbana High School


The Student News Site of Urbana High School


The Student News Site of Urbana High School


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Students of UHS: Ademide Akinsola; theater troupe founder, director, and freshman?

Ademide Akinsola (9) working on his To Do List for his upcoming show during lunch. He is dressed as Santa for GSA’s Character Day.
Ademide Akinsola (9) working on his To Do List for his upcoming show during lunch. He is dressed as Santa for GSA’s Character Day.

Walking down to the F-Wing, around the back of the auditorium you’ll see a familiar sight every day of the week. Ademide Akinsola stands diligently by the door, his large comically oversized backpack props the auditorium door open. He has a wide smile on his face, hands outstretched, eyes wide. Then with a very loud “Bonjour!” and some sweet or snarky remark he will guide you through those doors into the auditorium. What many don’t know about Ademide however is that outside of being an extravagant door man at UHS he is the founder of AdemideLLC, his very own theater company!

I sit with him in the F-Wing hallway, on the ground as people around us are getting their photos taken in costume. Throughout the time he will turn to them, shake his head and say in a condescending and sarcastic tone “No”. He tells me on the floor of the F-Wing how he first became interested in theater.

Ademide after his interview giving a reactionary pose.

He was originally homeschooled until halfway through third grade. His chorus teacher in third grade he says was the one who opened his heart to theater. He quotes his music teacher, changing his voice into a high falsetto, saying “Oh kids I’m not gonna teach you music today. Instead we’re gonna watch the 5th graders perform the jungle book!” Then switching again to an arrogant tone he impersonates his third grade self, “Oh what’s this, Theatre? For weirdos, hahaha!” And then finally catching his own excitement he can’t keep up the act as he switches back into his normal speaking voice, “I was amazed. My heart was jumping. I saw all the people having so much fun, dancing and singing, and I was like, ‘What are they gonna do next?’” 

He vowed to himself that he would be in the theater department himself when he was in fifth grade. And when the time finally came he did it, getting the role of Aladdin in the show Aladdin (it being Ademide there’s no wonder as to how he got the lead role). At this time he also began to first drea of what would become AdemideLLC. Beginning with filming small lego motion capture videos for his youtube (to my great disappointment I found you can no longer find these videos online). Outside of the official Aladdin being put on by his school he also began to have his own rehearsals. Rehearsal which consisted of him and his friends stealing a script they found online and performing during recess. But then the dark ages arrived.

The Pandemic hit during his 5th grade year, and came to stay for sixth grade. “I call those the dark ages of my life.” Ademide says with a smile on his face. He began to become very scared and depressed during this time and, like we all did during the pandemic, indulged in television and Netflix in our basements. “I remember sitting in my basement, I just finished Once Upon a Time cause it was Covid. So I was scrolling and found Shrek the Musical and it was on Netflix and I was like WHAT? Why? So I clicked on it and it resurrected me.” He remembers seeing Donkey and thinking, “That’s so funny”, he watched the show 7 times (somehow), and it left him falling back in love with theater. For months after he would be reenacting plays in his head, being his own director.

Ademide quizzicaly considering what to do with his life

With the pandemic over and a return to schools Ademide looked to “restart the Aladdin project” in 7th grade. Though he wasn’t able to make it a reality, as he struggled to get the licensing and to get people to come to his rehearsals. This was not the end however for Ademide. After having a “what am I gonna do with my life” realization over his 8th grade spring break he knew what he wanted, AdemideLLC. 

His father already owns a business and along with advice from his theater teacher Ms. Barnes, Ademide was able to start again with his future. He says “it started by myself with an idea, with creating a lot of documents and research.” Research in finding the right play for the stage (one that is hopefully more affordable than Disney’s Aladdin). And he found it. The small musical Princess Whatsername.


When you’re starting from scratch it’s more [about] knowing people and people join along the way.” – Ademide Akinsola

Starting anything is difficult. Starting your own theater company in middle school, probably more difficult. It’s even more difficult when your audition coordinator quits and you’re struggling to find people to audition. But Ademide jumped into action to make his dreams a reality. “I went to the library, gave them posters, went to school and started recruiting. By the end of the deadline I had forty or fifty people auditioning.” 

Finally, he had his show, and rehearsals were going amazing. Finally he had done it. However he says, “As with all shows there are those bad moments, those really horrible moments.” And those horrible moments did come, right before the performance day. They were unable to finish their last runthrough before opening night, and the day of the show, someone unfortunately could no longer perform. A nightmare for anyone, let alone an eighth grader. However immediately Ademide sprang into action contacting people to reorganize the show and make sure the opening night went better than their final rehearsal, and someone was able to step into the role. And, Ademide adds with a smile, “As soon as performance day hits it’s like nothing bad happened before.”

The show turned out amazingly, and left Ademide, understandably exhausted. “I needed a break”, he says, “I loved it. It was great stress but it was also ummm stress.” Of course he needed a break. And so, being Ademide, he decided his break would include performing in The Play That Goes Wrong at UHS Drama, followed by beginning to plan his next show, and then additionally performing in Newsies. A wonderful, surely stress free break.

Starting in August 2023 he has begun to plan out AdemideLLC’s next big show, Appropriate Audience Behavior (AAB). And that planning has become even more intense in recent months as he begins to prepare for auditions which will be held in late May, with the show being in August of this year. “Appropriate Audience Behavior is [a] small but decently good [comedic] play” He says, adding, “I made a list of things I did horribly last show, and hopefully I will do good this show… I found very trustworthy people this time.” 

The future of AdemideLLC goes beyond AAB however. Ademide plans on expanding the company, creating a website, working on getting a constant flow of money, and eventually employees. However, AdemideLLC’s future lies in a project Ademide refers to as Plex. “I don’t want [AdemideLLC] to just be a theater company… Plex means complex, everything in one. Every year of my life I’ve been introduced to another art form. [I want to] try to showcase all these different artforms and mediums.” Artforms beyond theater that Ademide has participated in. Things like orchestra,

Ademide is excited for AAB!

band, drums, piano, singing, dancing, and drama all in one. That is Ademide’s dream. He says, “I didn’t start this because of college and resumes. I started because of fifth grade and the idea seemed exciting to me.”

Everyday since third grade Ademide wakes up at 5 am. He does homework, heads to school, stays at rehearsal until 6pm, and still finds the time to manage his upcoming production of AAB. Focusing back on the present and AAB Ademide reflected saying, “I’ve learned a lot from this 5th grade to 9th grade period… I can always do better and I want [AAB] to be something I’m like ‘I love this.’

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About the Contributor
Jason Holman
Jason Holman, Reporter
Jason Holman is a Junior at Urbana High School. In school, you can catch him in the drama department where he devotes much of his time and effort as one of the assistant stage managers. In his free time--he reads, writes, draws, and even acts which is what draws him out from the crowd.     The three things he cannot live without consist of his phone, a book, and something to draw with. When asked what his death row meal would be, he would be satisfied with an Alaskan Crab with old bay, salmon, a baguette, water, rice, and fries.    Who inspires Jason to be who he is today? His mom. “She does a lot and pushes through to help a lot of people. She's a teacher,” her selflessness radiates onto her son too, who gives off such a positive energy in school.   His favorite music artist is Will Wood, an indie folk American singer-songwriter, filmmaker, composer, and comedian. The song he would recommend to anyone would be, “I, Me, Myself.”   Jason sees himself 10 years from now owning his apartment, working as a political science journalist, and accomplishing his goal of learning a new language. 

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