by Tayana Fowler
Ever since the fourth grade, Gabrielle Bauman has had two passions: theater and her savior, Jesus Christ.
In fourth grade, Bauman discovered her passion and love for the stage through ballet, which was her first exposure to the spotlight. The skills she learned through dance taught her to be comfortable on stage.
Her first musical was in eighth grade and was designed to share the gospel at Christmas time. “It was very poorly written,” Bauman said, “but it was fun.”
From then on, she continued to gain further experience in theater. High school gave her an idea of what theater could truly be. “The Curious Savage” and “The Importance of Being Earnest” were two of her earliest shows.
As she was involved in those shows, Bauman ventured to theater camp at Cedarville. Her experience proved to be life-changing, as she fell in love with the university’s theatre major. As her high school dream became a reality, she thought she could make her passion a career.
Though her family is not directly involved in theater, her parents support her passion.
“They always made sure I wanted it for the right reasons, and that I really am dedicated to it,” she said.
Her fellow theatre majors are also a supportive family, Bauman said. They spend most of their time together in classes and rehearsal, and they are together for the highs and lows of college. This bond is very evident during audition week.
“That’s such a hard week,” Bauman said. “You want to fight for your own interests, but then learning to love each other and support each other on top of that … I can just see the love of Christ in all of that, whereas in the real world it’s a lot more fake.”
Remy Patterson is another senior theatre major and a member of the supportive theatre family.
“Bri is very kind to everyone that she meets. She’s also very determined and very focused,” he said. “I think that’s one of the things I’ve realized working with her on multiple shows is how devoted she gets to what she’s working on.”
Psalm 33:3 says “Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy,” and is Bauman’s Bible verse for theater.
“That sort of pushes me towards seeing God has a value for the arts and doing things correctly,” she said.
The arts community can be a dark place, according to Bauman. It’s important to be “a person who has a direction, who understands what life should be and why it’s worth celebrating.” She said being that person to the arts community is what she looks forward to in her career in theater.
Bauman’s growing desire to be a light to a dark world is just one aspect she highlighted as being a stretching experience in her Christian walk. Bauman said theater has taught her the importance of learning to be empathetic and collaborative and to be a witness to someone, and has helped her grow in those skills.
Bauman said the community in theater is comparable to the community of the church. Therefore, many of the skills learned in theater, such as respect, hard work, and empathy, are transferable to the church.
Bauman also said that theater allows a unique way to share the gospel. It’s important to choose stories “that have that redemptive message,” she said, “that inform life from a gospel perspective, but aren’t necessarily preaching the gospel, but are simply good morals and good stories.”
This year Bauman will apply her values and skills as she plays the lead in the fall production, “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
Bauman’s love of theater is not just a pleasure; she has grown through it.
“I’ve learned a lot,” she said, “and so, I think the accomplishment I take from each show is just simply how much I have learned about myself and about the art and how to merge those for better result.”
Tayana Fowler is a freshman broadcasting and digital media major and an arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. She enjoys everything related to words, whether that’s a well-written novel, a lyrically good song, or a great movie script.