Graduating Seniors Ready to Take Next Step

Beth Fhaner
 | May 12, 2017
Kelsey Bray

Kelsey Bray


​Ella Webb, Sydney Pardo and Kelsey Bray in the Summer Players 201​3 production of ​Annie.

Meet Kelsey Bray

This season, five graduating seniors are included among South Coast Repertory’s most advanced teen students (the Teen Players and the Teen Ensemble acting class). Each of these students got their start in the Summer Acting Workshop and have continued to participate in SCR acting classes throughout the last several years.

In this mini-blog series, we’re introducing all of this year’s graduating seniors. In this post, meet Kelsey Bray, who is currently a student in Teen Players and Advanced Musical Theatre. She started in the Theatre Conservatory 10 years ago, after her grandmother saw an ad for SCR’s acting classes and signed her up.

What are some of the highlights from your SCR acting classes?

Some of the highlights have been the teachers. Every teacher I have had at SCR has been so dedicated to acting and teaching; they were my inspiration for beginning the road to becoming a professional actor. Also, I have met some of my lifelong friends at SCR. In my first big show at SCR, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, I met three of my best friends. They took me under their wing and have been by my side ever since.

What have you enjoyed most about being in Players productions?

It's the sense of community. I love how [Conservatory Director] Hisa Takakuwa makes sure everything is ensemble-driven. I also love that every production is all about the process over the product.

What are some of the skills you’ve developed?

Throughout my 10 years in SCR's Education Department, I have developed many skills as an actor and a person. As an actor, I learned that when playing a character, whether it is a caricature of another person or a very “grounded” person, ​each is rooted in reality. Also, when performing Shakespeare and analyzing the language, Hisa has taught me that​ those characters are having the same thought process as present-day characters—they are just expressing themselves with heightened language. I feel like that is the main skill I have developed as an actor—that everything is rooted in reality and the thought process. SCR has given me—as a person—skills in problem-solving, ambition and interacting with others.

What’s the best thing about SCR’s acting classes?

The best thing is the ensemble-driven mindset. I know of other children’s theatres that encourage competition between actors and that is not what the real world is like. In the real world, you are only competing with yourself, if with anyone. You should not be out to get someone due to a part in a show.

Do you plan to go to college?

Yes, I will be attending Oklahoma City University for a ​bachelor of ​fine ​arts in ​acting degree and a ​double ​minor in ​musical ​theatre and directing.

How have the Conservatory classes prepared you for this next step?

They gave me all of the basics I need for life. Having Hisa as one of my teachers for the past four years has made me a better actor, to the point where I feel confident about my work in the field as I am about to move to a different state, away from what I have known and been comfortable with for the past 10 years of my life. I owe everything I know about theatre to SCR’s program. 

Learn more about acting classes for kids and teens.