Hannah Bradley: A Passion for Theater

Bartholomew Mays 

Hannah Bradley is a sophomore comprehensive theatre major. She is leading the cast as Anne Shirley in Cedarville University’s fall theatre production of Peter Delaurier’s adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved children’s classic “Anne of Green Gables.”

Growing up in New Jersey, Bradley has been a theatre lover from a young age. At four, Bradley’s family traveled to New York City where she saw her first Broadway show, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” This is what Bradley recalled sparked her love for theatre.

Following her trip to New York, Bradley began performing in and directing what she calls “beditions” for and with her family. Standing on a box wielding a conductor’s stick, Bradley would cast her family in the parts they were to play and would conduct them in various scenes. In second grade, she made her own stage debut, playing one of the King’s many children in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I.”

In high school, Bradley continued cultivating her love for theatre. Attending a  small Christian high school in Indiana allowed Bradley the opportunity to begin taking charge within the department, recruiting her friends to audition for shows and ultimately transforming her school’s modest theatre department into one of the areas “best” locally. It was in high school where Bradley discovered why she loved her craft so much.

“Theatre really is all about community,” says Bradley. “One of my favorite theatre memories is when I was really sick during a production of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and they actually delayed the show until I was able to come back. That was really special.”

Bradley also performed as Wendy in her high school’s production of “Peter Pan” and was  cast as Ariel during her senior year in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Bradley has been involved in numerous shows outside of school as well.  

“The most fun I think I ever had in a show I think was when I got to play a ‘silly  girl’—one of the girls that chases Gaston around everywhere—in a community  theatre production of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ That was an absolute blast.”  

For Bradley, deciding to major in theatre took a little time. Theatre was not something she ever thought she would study.

“I never truly considered it. My dad wanted me to find something practical. He said I could minor in [theatre] and I thought ‘ok, that’s fine’ and I began exploring other  options.”

After exploring history for a while, her parents told her that they were willing to let her major in theatre.

“I’ll never forget the quote my mom said to me,” recalled Bradley. “She looked me  in the eyes and said ‘shoot for the stars, kiddo, we’re with you all the way.’ It still kind of brings tears to my eyes when I say it. It’s just really awesome.”  

Bradley plans to continue using her gifts in her future and feels that Cedarville is equipping her with the necessary tools to succeed wherever her degree may take her. “I just love the level of professionalism of theatre at Cedarville,” remarked  Bradley. “I think it’s really remarkable for a small school. They don’t sugarcoat anything. They tell you how everything is going to be, but then they also show you how to maneuver it as a Christian. That’s the standout for sure.”

After graduating from Cedarville, Bradley intends to earn a masters degree and  “soak up” all the information she can.

“Ultimately, I’m willing to go where the Lord takes me with it,” said Bradley.  “[Theatre] is just something I absolutely love and it’s something that can glorify the Lord. So if I can glorify Him in my career and in every day of my life by doing theatre, then  that’s something I can do.”

Bradley is also passionate about helping others discover the art of theatre the same way she did.

“I want to work with kids, whether it be on the collegiate or high school level. I love giving people a passion for theatre and teaching them all about the aspects of theatre and teaching them how theatre can benefit their daily lives. You can do so much with a theatre degree,” added Bradley.

You can catch Hannah Bradley and the rest of the cast of Anne of Green Gables performing at the DeVries Theatre through Sunday, October 10, 2021.

If you want to hear more about “Anne of Green Gables,” click here for the podcast and here for our review of the show.

Bartholomew Mays is a junior English major, minoring in history and theatre. When he’s not obsessing over English bulldogs, he can be found sipping chai and listening to German opera.

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