A! Magazine for the Arts

Sean Campos in the 2021 production of "Frankenstein"

Sean Campos in the 2021 production of "Frankenstein"

Sean Campos found a home at Barter Theatre

May 29, 2022

Sean Campos and his wife, Ashley, came to Barter 17 years ago when they auditioned because a mutual friend was. Prior to that he hadn’t even heard of Barter. That audition led not only to a job, but to finding a home with Barter and in Abingdon.

His first production with Barter was the musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” — a genre he adores.

“Tenyears before I was born, my parents immigrated from the Philippines in a seven-piece funk band, so I came intoperformancethrough singing. I did not do my first play until high school (‘Lil’ Abner’), but that is when I developed my love for musicals. I went to college at New World School of the Arts in Miami and worked the Florida theater scene for a few years after.

“This year will mark my 17th year with Barter’s Resident Acting company. I haven’t actually counted the number of productions I’ve been in, but if I had to guess, I would say around 80 total productions,” he says.

His second job before joining Barter was as a model. He says the gigs were a short time commitment, and the pay was great. It was a nice place holder between theater jobs.

Campos is one of Barter’s most popular actors.

“When telling people that I act for a living, the assumption is either film or Broadway. I think the general public doesn’t realize that one can make a living wage being a regional theater actor.

“Being in a resident company for this long, has done nothing but sharpen and harness my abilities more than I thought possible. Being a Filipino man in this industry, you can quickly be pigeonholed into being ‘one type.’ Barter has completely broken that type. I’ve had the honor of playing a plethora of roles that I never thought I would have.

“The best reward in being in a rep company would be the variety of assignments that we get to do.It also can be difficult to manage at times because we will have two to six shows in our heads at once,” he says.

Non-actors often think that memorizing the lines is problematic. According to Campos it’s not as difficult as one may think.

“Honestly memorizing lines on the page is not how I think of it. Once I realize what the characters needs are, the lines fall into place. If I memorize for the sake of memorization, that’s when mistakes are made,” he says.

Campos says that the reason he’s stayed at Barter and in Abingdon is because it’s “home” – a word that many of the members of the repertory use to describe the theater.

“Barter is my home. My wife is also a valued member, and we are currently raising an amazing 8-year-old son named Max. Having a community like this only helps strengthen the art.

“Many of my ‘Barter family’ have played a big part in helping me develop over the course of the years, but current artistic director Katy Brown, and former artistic director Richard Rose have been the biggest. They both have challenged and taught me in so many ways.

“If I am not working, everything else is family. My son keeps me young and busy, along with an enormous garden that my wife and I take much pride in,” Campos says.

His advice to young people who want to work in the theater is “choose where and how you want to create your art. You don’t have to live in a major city to have these opportunities. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail. It’s all part of the journey.

“Coming out of this pandemic, getting back to serving our community is what I’m most excited about. I have too many memories to name a favorite. But anytime my son gets to sit in a theater, and watches his old man have a little fun, those might stand out from the rest,” he says.

Campos can be seen in “9 to 5” and “Airness” in the summer season. For more information, visit bartertheatre.com.