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Life At the Stage Door

Temple University senior Rae Bradley begins her blog chronicling her experiences as student, spectator, and beginning professional. logo

Rae Bradley
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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