Season 10 Blogathon: James Beneze

It’s become a tradition at Brelby to spend the month of November reflecting on our artform and how it impacts us through our annual Blogathon. This year, in honor of our 10th Season, our Blogathon participants will be sharing lists of 10 things that have impacted them, whether they be lessons or memories…or are looking ahead towards future goals. 

Today’s blogger, James Beneze, is a company member at Brelby. He’s been seen onstage in shows ranging from The Pledge to Return to Rosie’s Pub. He’s currently lending his sound design skills to our season ending production of 12 Days of Christmas.

For today’s blog, he discusses 10 Artistic Goals that he has for the future.



Hi! I’m James. And I am an artist. Or at least I try to be. My blog post today is going to be about 10 artistic goals I have for the future. However, in order to really understand the reasoning for some of my goals you need to understand my past and the experiences that shaped me.

I was a shy child, actually I’m still generally a shy person until I warm up to someone. This fact actually led me to avoid the spotlight for much of my childhood. In third grade, my class performed The Wizard of Oz for the school and I discovered a love for the theatre but I was too introverted to actually pursue more of it, not that living in a rural farming community offered many opportunities anyway…

In high school, our drama department had one show a year with two performances. That was it. We had almost no budget and most prop/costume/set pieces were donated by local businesses or family members. We had one set of flats that were comprised mainly of paint and wallpaper from years passed and our lighting consisted of a few spotlights and some very old floor lights that only had one setting, easy bake. I started out with a non speaking role my freshman year and gradually worked my way up to be the antagonist of the show my senior year. I loved it. The people, the camaraderie, the time spent getting to miss class for tech… The act of creating this whole other world and helping people escape their day to day existence just for a couple of hours made me feel powerful.

Seven years later, I was now living across the country and finally going back to school. I had decided to pursue a degree in Public Relations but the advisor I was paired with stopped me and asked me something that no one had ever asked me before when talking about my future. “What are you passionate about? What makes your heart and soul happy?” And my mind could only come up with one thing. Theatre. As luck would have it he was the advisement liaison for the theatre department and he sent me to a meeting the theatre teachers where having that day about changes to the curriculum. After the meeting I was back at his desk and signed up with a full course load of theatre classes. Over the next 2 years, I was immersed in theatre and getting involved in anyway that I could. I had found my people. I had found where I belonged.

Of course, over time, things change and you realize it’s time to move on. I started to feel stagnant as an artist and the environment started to feel toxic. I had to get out. For a few months I felt adrift with no harbor in sight and no outlet for my creative energy. And then one of my best friends introduced me to Brelby after months of pushing me to get involved. Opening night of my first show here and I knew, I had found my home.

Two years later and I’m now a company member with 14 productions under my belt at Brelby. My past has shaped me as an artist and greatly influenced my goals for what I want to learn and what kind of art I want to create. So without further ado, here are my 10 artistic goals for the future.

1. Take voice and dance lessons

2. Learn how to properly do an accent

3. Do my first lighting design

4. Direct my first show

5. Finish one of the script concepts I have started

6. Write a “memoir” show to pass on lessons that I have learned

7. Be a part of art that helps bring about a cultural change or movement

8. Join/create a youth arts outreach program

9. Help bring arts education to rural areas

10. Just continue to make as much art as I can. The world needs it.

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