Finding Brelby: Anna Katen



annaI found Brelby through a Google search.
No, really.

I found Brelby through a Google search I did the first week I moved to The Valley of the Sun, sitting on the air mattress I had set up in the living room of my very new, very empty home.
I had just moved from Wyoming and had no idea that residential streets could have more than two lanes, no idea how to run an air conditioner, no idea where all the squirrels went, and no idea where to start my new life.

Brelby’s attention to new work drew me in. The glitter on the floor kept me there.

I was browsing other “Finding Brelby”s for inspiration and I found a reoccurring theme in all of them. Maybe it goes with the territory of being an artist. Maybe it’s all just a part of being in your 20s. Just because we’ve chosen a profession (or rather, a profession has chosen us) that is full of rejection, doesn’t mean that we find it any easier to deal with. Especially when we’re also feeling concerned about where we are in comparison to where we think we “should” be, or comparing ourselves to others, or honestly just wondering, “What do I do next?”

Brelby was there, not necessarily because no one else was, but simply because that’s what was needed at the time. I already had a couple shows under my belt in The Valley before I was finally able to perform with Brelby, but they still helped my transition to my new home immensely. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that your art is what’s important, not just the lines on your resume.

One word to describe what Brelby means to me?

I’ve never been good with “One Word.”

One Word to describe yourself
One Word your friends would use to describe you
One Word to describe the overall theme or feeling of this show/ book/ scene/ etc.

One Word has just never been enough for me.

Brelby, to me, is a lot of words.

Brelby is COZY. That was the first thing I noticed when I walked in for my first audition for Love’s Labour’s Lost. (Followed closely by “There’s GLITTER on the floor?!) There’s a certain rush to walking into a huge proscenium theatre with hundreds of seats and looking at the tiny row of adjudicators a few rows back staring at your headshot. But there is a whole different kind of rush associated with walking into a place where you can look in to the eyes of your audience. A place where you can reach out and touch someone and feel with them and grow with them. A place that doesn’t feel so pristine but instead feels more like it could be home.

Brelby is HOME. It is a sanctuary to so many young actors in the community, giving them a place where they can feel free to explore and strive and mess up sometimes without fear. Many people don’t realize how special and important that is. Especially in a profession that deals a lot with rejection and judgment, everyone needs that place to grow. Even though I had a couple of shows in The Valley under my belt before I finally was able to perform at Brelby, they still aided my transition to Arizona immensely. It was a place for me to learn and listen and be inspired.

Brelby is INSPIRATION. Perhaps most importantly, in my eyes, Brelby teaches you that you can do anything you set your mind to. Want to try your hand at acting? Go for it. Design costumes? Here’s some paper. Direct? The stage is yours. What if you come to see you don’t find joy in any of those things? It doesn’t matter. There’s plenty more where that came from. And, if you want to, someday you too can rent a storefront. You can have glitter on your floors.  But most of all, you can do what you dream of doing. Whatever that may be.

I could go on and on.

Brelby isn’t just one word. And that’s what makes it so special.

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