About Astral Theatre Collective’s Founder

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John W. Johnson is an award-winning actor and traditional musician, as well as an established playwright whose works have been performed statewide in the state of West Virginia.  A native of West Virginia, he has worked with some of the best directors and acting coaches in the area.  He began at the age of six on stage in the role that he is best known for, Santa Claus, in “The Night Before Christmas.”  Not only has John grown to become a prolific character actor and historical presenter, but he has become a nationally recognized, award-winning Santa Claus actor.

Astral Theatre Collective LLC was born in February 2016.  It is John’s belief that the art of theatre can entertain, educate, and enrich in a very palpable and positive way.  By interpreting meaningful stories through the medium of the stage, the audience is invited into an all immersive experience.  They are transported into another place and time.  Using meaningful examples of classic literature and historical experiences, as well as original subjects, Astral Theatre Collective is able to bring its “Three E” policy to life.  Over the past three years, Astral Theatre Collective has performed in venues across the state, impacting positively the lives of hundreds of audience members.  Nominated as 2018 Best Regional Theatre Company by BroadwayWorld.com, Astral Theatre Collective has definitely earned its place among the rich theatre community of West Virginia.

As a playwright, he has collaborated with other local writers to create the full-length dramas Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Whitechapel and Carmilla.  He was the sole author of Wolf’s Head: A Tale of Robin Hood and the Sheriff, which garnered a nomination for the Regional Award for Best Play 2018 by BroadwayWorld.com.  Other works include An Evening in Baker Street and The Adventure of the Christmas Carol, two original works featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.  Adventures in Santa Claus Land is a holiday adventure piece for children that takes the audience on a merry trip to the North Pole.  Experience R.M.S. Titanic is an historical performance piece that details the firsthand accounts of Captain Edward Smith, Margaret Tobin Brown, and Violet Jessop.  Other writings include a pair of personal accounts which were contributed to Christmas Memories with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a Christmas anthology by Charlie Jones.  In 2019, John completed his first novel, The Shadow of Frankenstein.

Film Credits Include:

  • Doctor Who: The Classic Series Regenerated – Mind Bomb as Tenda 2 (2019) – fan film.
  • An Appeal to Heaven as Squire Boone (2015) – Servant Heart Films
  • They Wore the Red Suit as self (2012) – Power Plant Productions
  • Pilgrim Song as uncredited, Santa- like musician (2012) – Paper Moon Films
  • Regional television programs and commercials in character, including Santa Claus.

Stage Credits include:

  • Adventures in Santa Claus Land as Santa Claus (2019) – Astral Theatre Collective
  • Experience R.M.S. Titanic as Captain Edward John Smith (2018-2019) – Astral Theatre Collective
  • Wolf’s Head – A Tale of Robin Hood and the Sheriff as the Sheriff of Nottingham (2018) – Astral Theatre Collective
  • Annie  as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (2017) – Alban Arts Center
  • The Adventure of the Christmas Carol as Sherlock Holmes (2017) – Astral Theatre Collective
  • An Evening in Baker Street as Sherlock Holmes (2017) – Astral Theatre Collective
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Whitechapel as Sherlock Holmes (2016) – Astral Theatre Collective
  • Dr. Dolittle as Doctor John Dolittle (2015) – Alban Arts Center
  • A Christmas Carol as Charles Dickens (2015) – Alban Arts Center
  • The Three Musketeers as Athos (2014) – Limelight Theatre Company
  • Wind in the Willows as Mr. Badger (2013) – Alban Arts Center
  • Richard III as the Duke of Clarence (2013) – Alban Arts Center
  • Miracle on 34th Street  as Kris Kringle (2012) – Alban Arts Center
  • Proof  as Robert (2012) – Alban Arts Center
  • The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe as Father Christmas (2011) Alban Arts Center

Audio Credits Include:

  • Dracula – The Audio Drama as Professor Abraham Van Helsing, Swales, and additional voices (2015) – Crooked Letter Creative
  • Radio spots on local stations in character, including Santa Claus