A Future Filled With Hope by Brook Barrett
I am not the first person who has had dreams of performing on Broadway, but I do believe that with my pure love for the art of theatre, my drive, and my aptitude, one day I will make it onto a Broadway stage.
I now know that my purpose in life is to perform, but from ages four to sixteen I did a variety of other things because I had a severe case of stage fright. I kept busy with things such as gymnastics, ballet, softball, basketball, baseball, orchestra, choir, and swimming, and each I stayed in for at least two years, but I never felt like I wanted to continue any of these things into college. Of course there were options to be a lawyer, a doctor, a veterinarian, or anything else that could almost guarantee me a job with a steady paycheck, but the idea of doing anything less than acting just did not work for me.
Besides one traditional summer acting camp in the 6th grade, I had absolutely no theatre experience until I started doing community theatre the summer before my junior year of high school. It took everything I had to audition for Suessical the Musical at Lubbock Community Theatre – which now sounds hilarious and simple – but I gathered the necessary guts and did it. I was elated to find out I was cast as Gertrude and I have been overjoyed to continue getting cast in multiple community theatre shows and college shows since.
Maintaining success in a theatrical career takes a lot more than talent. The past five semesters of my college experience have provided me with an idea of what I need to do in order to be successful after graduation. Through career management classes, auditioning classes, acting classes, dancing classes, and vocal classes, I have been able to develop a refined skill set that I plan on strengthening and broadening after college. To achieve my dream of preforming on Broadway I need to make connections, which I know being a member of Alpha Psi Omega will help with. With thousands of members across the nation, I hope that someday at least one person will look at my resume a little longer than the rest because they see APO proudly listed under my awards. I fully believe that theatre should be about community and collaboration and that is exactly what APO exemplifies not only during, but also after college.
Another way I have been able to make connections is by interning at the Public Theater in New York City. This past summer I was selected for one of nine Production internships to work on two shows for Shakespeare in the Park. Although the internship was based on technical aspects, it did provide me with the opportunity to sit in on professional rehearsals, speak with experienced actors such as John Glover and Daniel Radcliffe, and all in all the internship increased my vast respect for the technical parts that go into creating a live production. Working six days a week was grueling and none of us interns had much time to do anything else, but I would not trade the experience for anything else in the world. I feel like the two and a half months I spent in New York helped me grow into the person that I wanted and needed to be.
This past summer opened up my eyes to the harshness of the theatrical world, but it also showed me beauty that I had not yet seen. One of the coolest things I got to do was work on the Public’s Gala where huge stars like Meryl Streep and Michael Cerveris performed. I also was allowed to spend a day at the Public working on the Amazon Prime show Mozart in the Jungle, starring Bernadette Peters. Though, personally the most exciting thing I worked on was a show called Privacy, which starred Daniele Radcliffe. I say this was the highlight because as an actor I got to work on some show material with Daniel and the Privacy creative team; meaning I was able to go into the rehearsal room and test out some audience interactive material that was going to be used during the show. Another intern and myself were selected and needless to say we fan-girled before we each went into the room to be interviewed by Daniel’s character. By the end of the process Daniel knew both our names and would talk to us anytime he got the chance. I feel like that was a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I am extremely grateful that I had this summer. Daniel Radcliffe was by far the coolest connection I made.
My end goal career wise is to be able to perform in musicals, so right now I am doing all I can to make that happen. Along with the necessary classes, I am hoping to participate in SETC auditions next spring. Currently my chair and I are working closely to get funding for select undergraduate students to be able to attend the auditions because currently there is only funding for graduate students. I hope to earn a spot in any theatre with a summer stock season through the auditions. It would be ideal to make the right connections during summer stock, so that I could get a job at a regional theatre the next season.
If I do not receive any offers from a summer stock theatre, then my plan will be to audition for non-equity tours after graduation. I will go to as many open calls and auditions that I can, and if I do not land a tour, then I will move to Dallas to start my career there.
I want to maintain momentum coming out of college. Standing still or getting a full time job that has nothing to do with advancing my acting career could mean that I lose some of my drive, so I plan to do everything possible to circumvent that. I have family in Dallas whom I can live with until I am able to get on my feet financially. Also, my professors have many connections at different theatres there. I could hopefully audition, get some parts, and gain some professional credits to put on my resume, which would help me get more jobs in the future.
If finding work at an Equity theatre does not happen for a year or two then I would like to apply for a place in an Equity Training Program. Not only would the program allow me to continue to grow as an actress, but I would receive my equity card at the end of the program. I have looked into the B Street Theatre in North Carolina (a ten month full time program), The Intern Company at Actor’s Express in Atlanta (a 20-35 hours/week year long commitment), and the American Players theatre in Wisconsin (a five month paid program). All of these programs would serve as another chance to learn and grow. Each would act as a stepping-stone to get a better grip on the business.
After I receive my Equity card I will be able to audition for Equity tours and Broadway productions, which ultimately is my dream. Somewhere along my journey I hope to get an agent because agents are vital in getting auditions for big projects, but there is no way for me to know when or how that will happen. I can only use possibility words when talking about my future because no one knows for sure how their journey in the entertainment industry will pan out. We all want to “make it,” but the reality is that it is going to be really difficult to reach my dreams. I am in it for the long haul and I am aware of how hard it will be.
I am trying to give myself multiple routes in order to succeed because there really is not one road to success in this industry. Someone can ask a thousand actors how they got their “big break” and the person asking will get a thousand answers. I might not exactly know how I will succeed in the business, but I know that my future involves acting in some way.
I believe success is in the eye of the beholder, but I would consider myself successful if one day I am able to make my Broadway debut. I do not care how old I am and I do not care what part I have. All I care about is that when I make my debut, I want to be a quality actress who still loves the craft and who still wants to grow as a person. Theatre affects me in a way that nothing else does and I hope to never lose that. This scholarship would lessen the weight of financial worry and would allow me to focus on creating art, which is the thing I love to do more than anything.