MCLA alumna Bryanna Bradley is one of this semester’s Artists-in-Residence, and took on the role of Mother and position of choreographer for FPA’s production of “Passing Strange.”
She also worked alongside other Artist-in-Residence, Rodney Creech, who portrayed the Narrator in the production.
As an artist and performer, Bradley wanted to do something creative, but wasn’t sure what to do after graduation.
“Then, Laura Standley and Jeremy Winchester approached me about choreographing “Passing Strange”, and I said I would love to do it,” said Bradley.
Theatre professors Standley and Winchester later on asked Bradley if she would also consider being the role of Mother in the show. Bradley explained that it took her a longer time to consider this offer, before finally accepting it.
“It came out of a vain of necessity, as well as the thought that I might as well be in a place I’m familiar with trying something new,” Bradley said. “I never acted before, never sang in front of an audience. I think it’s a good opportunity post-graduation to do something you are comfortable with but also have time to assess yourself and your bearings.”
The Sunday after Bradley graduated last year, she auditioned for a dance company but did not get accepted. Soon after, though, Bradley got the chance to perform at Poe Park in New York City. She also recently got into a residency at Gibney Dance Company, also located in the city.
Bradley admitted being nervous applying to places in New York City, saying it was so much different, with a larger pool of individuals, as well as being scarier to navigate when someone is not necessarily in the loop.
“I love MCLA, but it’s not Juilliard or CalArts. And when you go to these big theatre schools you are instantly connected with those kinds of environments, and I wasn’t so I felt nervous,” Bradley said.
Being a native of New York City, Bradley didn’t like not feeling at home there. But with the new residency at Gibney Dance, she feels that this is the start of something good, pointing in the right direction to connect with the world of performing arts.
Bradley said she was very grateful to be invited back to MCLA for this opportunity, allowing time to assess things and banish any self doubt. She is, however, ready for the challenges life is ready to throw at her.
“Life isn’t easy after graduation. I’m not going to lie. And as much as I love it here, I don’t want to keep coming back as an escape,” Bradley said. “I want to try to put myself in uncomfortable positions and challenge myself as an artist and performer. And I might as well do it in NYC, a place that’s home for me. This is a second home where I know I can always come back, but I really want to try to jump in the pool.”