Bronte to the Future

Q & A Series : Hannah Appell

BLOG

There have been nearly a thousand actors, designers, directors, and staff employed by the Rep over our 50 years. We can’t think of a better way to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of MRT than to hear from those who’ve made it all possible. This Q & A series helps illuminate the vast range of experiences the Rep offers.

Hannah has been an integral part of the Rep family these last several years. Having been out on two Education Outreach Tours and a National Tour to boot, she has a unique vantage on the Rep experience. In this Q & A, Hannah’s excitement and gratitude is practically tangible. Thank you, and enjoy!


 

  1. What was special about the Montana Repertory Theatre experience you had?

The Montana Repertory Theatre gave me my first big role. I grew up in a small town where I did speech and drama and school plays, but they were never big productions. When I went to the University of Montana I auditioned for shows but there was never a role that fit. Then the Rep did The Miracle Worker. It was the first time I felt like I had a real chance to be cast. And I did. I have never been so excited.

  1. Where did your work with Montana Rep come in your career? Student? Equity? What effect did it have on your trajectory?

I was hired for the Rep’s 2014 National Tour of The Miracle Worker when I was a junior at the University of Montana. It was because of that tour that I became part of the Rep family. It allowed me to be able to do their Educational Outreach Tour when I graduated college and always feel like I was a part of an amazing theatre family.

  1. The Rep has long since had a tradition of producing American Canonical texts. What is your favorite classic? And why?

Do I have to pick a favorite? I feel like it changes constantly. But I have always had a soft spot for The Glass Menagerie. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I really love the character of Laura and her struggle through her physical and mental illnesses. Her character is quiet and shy and yet I have always felt she was the one to jump out of the script and stick in your memory.

  1. If you could tell a student actor hoping to work for The Rep one thing – what would it be?

Always be willing to help when the Rep is putting on an event, or needing a crew to load in, or needs posters put up around town. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! No one will know you unless you come out and show your face. Plus volunteering shows that you want to be involved and willing to help in any way you can. Everyone loves that.

  1. Looking back on your work with Montana Repertory Theatre, which singular memory stands out the most?

I have so many great memories with the Montana Repertory Theatre. It is hard to choose just one. A really sweet and recent memory I like to think of is during the 2016 Educational Outreach Tour when we were in the town of Poplar, MT. It was one of the best shows we had that entire tour. The students laughed and were completely engaged the entire performance. When we finished we came out from backstage and we had a line of students that wanted to shake our hands and thank us for coming. It was so heartwarming to see how thankful and excited those students were to have this performance come to their school. It made me so proud of what the Montana Repertory Theatre stands for and what they do for the incredible state of Montana.

(Hannah, left as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker)

Q & A Series : Elizabeth Bennett

BLOG

Over the next several weeks we will be releasing a fantastic series of Q & A’s with both students and professionals who have worked with Montana Repertory Theatre. We can’t think of a better way to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of MRT than to hear from those who’ve made it all possible. There have been nearly a thousand actors, designers, directors, and staff employed by the Rep over our 50 years. Here are a few of them.

We asked the same questions to a handful of Rep family members. The responses are obviously unique to each person – but they help to highlight the range of experiences offered by Montana Rep. You’ll read hilarious anecdotes, success stories, and a pervasive gratitude. We are proud to have worked with each and every one of these folks.

Beginning our Q & A series is Elizabeth Bennett! Having begun her work with the Rep during her Junior Year at the University of Montana, she is now transitioning into the professional realm. Most recently, you may have seen her in Bronté to the Future, this fall’s Educational Outreach Tour. Enjoy!

  1. What was special about the Montana Repertory Theatre experience you had?

To me, what was special about my time with the Rep is that it resembled ascending a staircase of experience; I started with volunteering for the Biloxi Blues gala. I worked in the office as a student, where I got to know Greg and Salina and Teresa, all wonderful people. That led to me being cast in the Rep’s first Visions and Voices project, Circle Mirror Transformation. Then I got cast in Gatsby one year and in All My Sons the next; I just finished my first Educational Outreach tour, the last of which many can attest is one of the most challenging and enriching Rep tours. I couldn’t have done any of these adventures without the experience of the one before. It all fell exactly into place.

  1. Where did your work with Montana Rep come in your career? Student? Equity? What effect did it have on your trajectory?

The Rep came into my career exactly when it needed to; as a junior. It jump started my attitude as an adult working actor earlier than it might for most college students, for which I consider myself extremely lucky.

  1. The Rep has long since had a tradition of producing American Canonical texts. What is your favorite classic? And why?

I’ve only seen a handful of the Rep’s canonical pieces, but my favorite of the ones I’ve seen has got to be Biloxi Blues. I remember being blown away by the comedy of Neil Simon and the ensemble of my peers.

  1. If you could tell a student actor hoping to work for The Rep one thing – what would it be?

Get involved and be thankful for every opportunity. I remember helping at the Biloxi gala and thinking, “Someday it’s gonna be me going on tour.” Interest in working for the Rep goes far beyond expression at auditions; being interested means helping behind the scenes, volunteering, helping with Colony; be a hard worker and show passion for every facet of the theatre, not just the spotlight. I would also encourage any student actor to give the Educational Outreach tour special attention; it is an extremely rewarding experience teaching kids theatre.

  1. Looking back on your work with Montana Repertory Theatre, which singular memory stands out the most?

The most recent memory (they are too numerous for me to narrow down to one!) that stands out is performing Bronte to the Future! for a school in Rosebud, Montana; their whole school was there, only a hundred or so kids K-12, and they were enamored with the show and laughed like it was their job. It was one of the best moments of my performing life. 

(Lizzy, right, with Hannah Appell as the Bronté sisters)