A member of the Colleges’ theatre and dance departments, Mariana Bell ’16 is resuming her stage management and acting roles at HWS after taking an intermission from her studies this fall to spend more time on the professional stage.
Bell, who is the stage manager for the inaugural dance performance in the new Gearan Center for the Performing Arts and is also playing the role of Fabian in the inaugural theatre production of “Twelfth Night,” spent the fall semester in New York City acting and working on three original works by a fellow ensemble member.
“It was a great experience,” says the theater major and dance minor. “I’ve never worked on more than one original work at a time, and in all three cases I got to work closely with the playwright, which was helpful as an actor to get feedback from the writer.”
Prior to taking the stage in New York City, Bell spent the summer touring with the Alumni Company of the Shakespeare Academy at Stratford Ensemble in Stratford, Conn. For two weeks in July, the ensemble performed its self-produced adaption of “Romeo and Juliet” throughout the Northeast, and again in August with on-site performances of “Twelfth Night” and “Henry the Fifth.”
Bell was invited to join the Alumni Company after participating in a six-week intensive contemporary training program run by Shakespeare Academy at Stratford in the summer of 2014. Shakespeare Academy is a training program for young actors that hosts rigorous summer academies emphasizing not only acting, but the education of the whole artist and theater-maker. One of only 14 students to be chosen for the summer 2014 academy, Bell notes that it was a privilege to be given such an “artistic opportunity.”
After refining her skills at the professional level, Bell is looking forward to resuming her training in the Colleges’ new state-of-the-art theatre and dance performance spaces, which she calls a “huge luxury.”
“We now have state-of-the-art equipment that not even every professional theatre has,” Bell says. “But what’s most exciting for me about the new Performing Arts Center is that the dance and theatre departments are going to be in the same building. A good actor needs to be a good mover, and vice versa, people need to be better in improving their craft, and I think having this new space will open a lot of doors that will allow students to do that.”
Bell’s previous campus work includes acting roles in “DNA,” “Heavier Than…” and Phoenix Players productions. Her work as stage manager for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” earned her recognition from The Theater Association of New York State (TANYS) for “Meritorious Achievement in Stage Management.” She has also been involved in set building for various HWS theatre and dance productions.