When Adam Kampouris ’13 graduated from UNCG, he hit the road for a cross-county trip with a friend, then hit New York City.
If you’re an actor, it’s the place to be. He’d come to the city the year before as part of his UNCG Theatre cohort’s “Spartan Showcase.”
Economically and speedily getting around on his bike, he auditioned or rehearsed – and spent his other waking hours at a barista or waitstaff positon, making ends meet the best he could. The city is expensive. “It’d be three months in the city, three months out.” It was the life of most actors in New York.
He played many roles in black-box theaters and off-the-beaten-path venues. His favorites were Shakespeare roles. He got into the rap world after seeing the creativity. “If Shakespeare were alive today, he’d be a rap artist,” he says.
He got his Actors’ Equity card.
Then COVID hit. He came down with it very early in 2010, bedridden for four days. He recovered well, but then the city essentially shut down. Virtually all actors in the city were out of work – even the service jobs were hit hard. After six years, that part of his career was leading into another. But what exactly, he wasn’t sure.
He landed on his feet, using work experiences he’d built up. While living the actor’s life, he’d been a tour guide for New Yorkers and tourists in the Poconos and elsewhere. (“I learned to snow board!”) So when he had the opportunity to take a substantial role with Source Adventures, based in New York and Chicago but allowing him to work from his family’s home in North Carolina mountain, he said Yes. He’s been the operations manager throughout the pandemic, for two years.
Meanwhile, he is keeping his “acting chops” and creative spirit in form by working on a one-man play, based on his late uncle’s time as a Peace Corp volunteer in Nepal.
“The theater creates magic,” he says, as people come together to experience a live drama. “It unfocuses the lens, and you get swept away. There’s a lot of power in theater.”
By Mike Harris ’93 MA