We had the good fortune of connecting with Bryanna Vinge and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bryanna, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ve always been a performer, whether it was vocally, instrumentally, or theatrically- some form of performance has always been a part of my life from a very young age. My family while supportive of my “hobbies” always thought of them as just that, hobbies. When I was sent off to college I was reminded that theatre was a hobby and not an occupation, and so I hopped major to major trying to find myself, coming out on the other end of 4 years with a degree in Communication Studies, which is really just another form of performance. A year or so into the professional world I was working as a Program Coordinator for a Settlement Administrator of Class Action Lawsuits, fun, huh? It was at that time that I had a major health scare and found myself in kidney failure, that I realized I needed to follow the path I knew I was meant to be on, to do what made me happy, and what fulfilled me. With a clean bill of health I chose to study theatre, with an emphasis in the craft of acting, I continued on to get my MFA in Acting and found my love of playwriting along the way, specifically in writing for young audiences, telling stories that empower young women to take control of their own lives and follow their own dreams, stories that would have inspired me to stick to my guns and forge my own road ahead. Storytelling is how we learn, how we educate, how we find our empathy and connect with others like us and not like us. I pursued this form of storytelling, theatre, because it is one of the few ways that we can have a shared experience, a moment in time together, that happens and then disappears, one that only those few hundred people have together, and then its gone, never to happen exactly that way again. It’s magical.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being an Actor is in a nutshell a 99 “No”s and 1 “Yes.” If you’re not careful you can begin to tie all your self worth into all the times you’re told “No” – but you have to see each opportunity to audition as on opportunity to practice your craft, and if you get the role, that’s the icing on the cake. Being a playwright is in the moment all about telling a story that’s rattling around in your mind, there is a joy like no other as it pours out on the page, but then like acting its 99 “No”s and 1 “Yes.” So it’s never easy, and you have to find other ways to find joy in your life, whether it’s kayaking, hiking, puppy-loving, or home decorating, the life of an artist is one that must be filled with other loves. You’re always in an uphill battle with a society that doesn’t place monetary value on your work, and doesn’t realized how much they value your art until they might not have it anymore. I write for me, and for the littles in my life, I’m always trying to tell a story that will help some young girl out their see herself differently. My specific avenue of storytelling, my aspiration, is to take classic fairy tales in which young girls are either passive or victims of their own adventures and retell them, giving these young women new, stronger voices. I try to also “heal” the adversarial female/female relationships that are standard to many of these old fables and fairy tales. Roles that I seek out to audition for are often in the same vein, plays like “These Shining Lives” or “Silent Sky” where overlooked women of history are given voices to share and get credit for their accomplishments are what give me the most joy to embody.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Some of my favorite spots that would be “MUSTS” would be: -REV Coffee in Smyrna for a WHATEVER they have brewing – their coffee is to die for! -Some Kayaking on Lake Acworth – no motor boat traffic and just lovely and serene. -Hiking the Palisades Trails are must as well – pack a PB and J to eat along the river! -A tour of the breweries hitting up School House Brewing for whatever new they have on tap in Marietta, grabbing some Sours at Orpheus, and IPA or two at Sweetwater, and ending at my FAVORITE, Monday Night Garage for all the Garage Series Beers! – Dinner at Desta in North Druid Hills (Tibs, Chicken with Gomen, Injera, and Potato soup) -Gotta hit up the Zoo too and see all my favorite friends, The Aldabra Giant Tortoises are my buddies, and Mumbles the Rhino is one of the newest additions to the Zoo Atlanta Family who needs some love.) -And if you’re looking for dinner number 2 – Heirloom Market BBQ – get all the sides.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Paul Johnson – My Faribault Senior High School Theatre Director Anne and Sean Byrd, Kurt Schweikhardt, Kathleen Coate – My Theatre Faculty at Normandale College in Bloomington, MN – The Best of the Best. Their encouragement and love has made me everything I am today. Jim Wren, Christine Morris, John Gulley and Michael Flannery – My University of North Carolina Greensboro MFA Theatre Faculty Zach Vinge – My Classmate, Castmate, Friend, Husband, and Love of My Life.