The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Assistant professor John Dement keeps his theatrical affairs all in the family

By Karen Gavis/se news editor

SE theater director John Dement has come full circle during his decade-long tenure at TCC while making his job a family affair.

The Masque of Beauty and the Beast by Michael Brill will be performed on SE Campus Oct. 6-9. Dement said it was the first play he directed at TCC 10 years ago, and he loves coming back to the script.

Dement describes himself as a theater generalist. He has a degree in theater performance, experience in technical aspects and has directed 28 shows.

“I love theater and love teaching and have found a way to make them both work for me,” he said.

Dement said this season’s shows all share a common theme of fairy tale and fantasy. The final show will be a bilingual version of Disney’s Aladdin that has only been performed once in Texas.

“I’m all over that,” he said.

Clockwise: John, Everitt, Cline, Wyatt and Nikki Dement. John, who is directing a play on SE Campus, has featured his family in three of his plays. Photo by Georgia Phillips
Clockwise: John, Everitt, Cline, Wyatt and Nikki Dement. John, who is directing a play on SE Campus, has featured his family in three of his plays. Photo by Georgia Phillips

Married 19 years, he and his wife Nikki have three sons, Cline, Everett and Wyatt.

“My children are here because I wanted them to be here,” he said.

There is a belief in this profession that having a family will hold someone back, Dement said. A person is either  in theater or has a family. Not both.

“I don’t buy it,” he said.

Dement tries to be an example and shows students “that we can do this as a family.”

The Dements home-school their sons, who are budding actors who love the theater.

The first play Dement’s children performed in was A Doll’s House on SE Campus in 2005. Cline was 4, and Nikki played the nanny. Next was A Christmas Carol with Cline playing the part of Tiny Tim.

In a 2008 performance of Dracula, all three boys as well as their mother performed. Nikki played the role of Dracula’s wife and held a baby during the drama. Wyatt, about 5 months old at the time, played the baby.

The baby was eaten during the drama, but it was not Dracula’s baby, Dement said. It was a victim.

“Dracula does not have babies,” he said.

Instead, he had four wives who were hungry, so he provided them with a baby to feast upon.

Dement has worked with Theatre Arlington and directed three stage shows for Duncanville Community Theatre: The Taming of the Shrew and The Merry Wives of Windsor, both by William Shakespeare, and Our Town by Thornton Wilder.

He plans to audition for the new Dallas series and did some other television work last summer. As a recurring extra, Dement said he appeared as a detective in eight episodes of The Good Guys on Fox. He also did one episode each of Lone Star (Fox) and Chase (NBC).

“I hope to do more,” he said.

SE drama student Shelley Olsen said she is excited to get to work with Dement.

“He is a genius as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “He brings out the best acting in the people he works with.”

Drama student Jamal Benoit said he tried out but did not make the ball team in high school and was kind of like an outcast.

“But a lot of people are outcasts in high school,” he said. “When you are in theater, it is more like a family.”

Benoit said theater people in general are all weird people.

“He’s one of them theater teachers you know,” he said.

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