Theater has been a part of Hahna Kayleigh Bowyer’s life since she was born.
“My parents met through doing theater together, and so I’ve been involved with or surrounded by theater my whole life. I started doing community theater when I was a toddler, and I’ve never stopped participating in theater since. I have been performing professionally for three years now while studying Musical Theater at Emory & Henry College,” says Kayleigh.
She has performed with Barter Theatre/The Barter Players and Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre. This upcoming summer she is moving to the Atlanta, Georgia, area to join Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s Apprentice program for 11 months.
“I worked with The Barter Players during the summer of 2018. My experience with them was truly life changing. The Barter Players is a theater for young audiences company, and they strive to bring stories to children all over Appalachia. Everyone I worked with during my time there trained me and shaped me in incredible ways. This company solidified my love for children, theater and service-based art. I learned so much about the importance of making theater accessible and how there is truly magic in everything.
“My interests in theater predominantly stem around this question: How can we, as theater artists, reach as many diverse audiences as possible and bring them the stories they need to hear? Theater is such an interesting and intricate art because it has the inherent ability to move people - to laughter, to tears, etc. - and theater companies have the ability to bring audiences representative stories and stories that one particular audience member may have truly needed to hear that day,” she says.
Kayleigh is inspired by the work of Caissie Levy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Greta Gerwig, Natalie Weiss, Brene Brown, Saoirse Ronan, and many others. Some current dream roles include Carrie in “Carrie the Musical,” Amalia Balash in “She Loves Me” and Jenna in “Waitress.”
Some of her favorite plays include “Twelfth Night” by Shakespeare, “Boy” by Anna Ziegler, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” by Eugene O’Neill, and “Betrayal” by Harold Pinter. Some of my favorite playwrights include Shakespeare, Eugene O’Neill and Lillian Hellman.
Theater is an art that brings together all arts, all people, all backgrounds. Theater is the opportunity to speak to people about social change, representation, love, loss and all other basic human emotions that make life richer. Theater is also the chance for performers to step into another person’s perspective — every role brings me a new understanding of human nature while simultaneously making me want to learn more and more about it. Theater is curiosity and a reflection of human nature.
“I always approach a work first by reading the text over and over. I want to get as familiar with the work as I can so I can understand the world of the play, the circumstances surrounding the action onstage, and my character. I take notes on anything and everything about my character, the world that character lives in, and the circumstances that character has found himself in. I try to use rehearsal and performance time as a time to explore and discover the characters and the play itself. I do all I can to learn everything I can about the play and the character,” she says.
Kayleigh is also involved in choirs and loves to paint.
She is from Blacksburg, Virginia, and is a senior at Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia. She is the 21-year-old daughter of Andy Bowyer and Tony Alicia Hall.