Hello, all! Welcome to TheaterMania University and to my Fall 2012 blog. My name is Rae Bradley, and I'm a senior at Temple University studying for my BFA in Theatre. Though I am a total theater-lover, I am an aficionada of many things: from all genres of music to television and film to literature and writing. Long story short, I am an obsessive geek. I'm that person who spends too much time researching nonsense that strangely winds up helping me in the future. This seems to be a particularly useful quirk when I write and perform. It's funny how things work out.
For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be an actress. I didn't have many opportunities to perform growing up, so my parents occupied my time with other hobbies: crafts, ballet, soccer, violin, karate—and movies. My dad introduced me to West Side Story when I was seven. I didn't understand it… but it was amazing. From then on, I wanted to be Natalie Wood as Maria (later, once I understood the show, I wanted to be Anita because, well, I had her range). After that, it was all about Cats and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I couldn't get enough.
It wasn't until I had moved to New Jersey that I was really exposed to theater. Without realizing it, I began writing scripts for fun (mostly fan-fiction based) and developed a real love of writing. But my real goal was to learn more about acting. I devoted my last two years of high school to singing and acting in as many classes, recitals, and shows as I could. That's where I fell in love with William Shakespeare and Broadway.
Admittedly, I had a completely unrealistic goal of moving to London to study acting, but it was fun to dream while it lasted. In the meantime, however, I made it a habit to trek around to the regional theaters and, especially, the Great White Way. Though I didn't (and still don't) have the money, I have been able to see Rent, Wicked, Legally Blonde, and various other shows on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and otherwise. I've spent (probably far too much) time outside the stage door waiting for the people I had just seen perform, and they have been some of the best experiences of my life.
When I finally enrolled at Community College of Philadelphia, I was hell-bent on learning as much as possible. From my time there until completing my first year at Temple, I went through an amazing transformation. At CCP, I had asked if there was anything I could do for a production and wound up receiving my first stage management job. Later, I won first place in the Judith Stark Creative Writing Contest two semesters in a row for playwriting, and graduated with not only my associate's in Theatre, but a certificate in Creative Writing. I had also been given multiple opportunities to act on stage and film, just for being considered reliable and dedicated. When I arrived at Temple, I pursued stage management head-on, only to discover a budding interest in lighting, all from a short stint as a board operator.
That leads me to where I am now. I currently work at St. Hubert Catholic High School as a stage manager and lighting designer and at First World Theatre Ensemble as an assistant stage manager and light board operator. Where do I want to go now? Directing… and maybe even back to acting. I miss it. I am all over the place, and I love it.
What I want to share with you over the next semester are my experiences: as an eager student, a determined beginning professional, and a starry-eyed spectator. I have a lot going on in my theater-related life, and I would love to impart some of my enthusiasm in life at the stage door—whether it be the inside or the outside. I look forward to this semester, and I hope you'll join me in this experience at TheaterMania University!
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