LIVING THE DREAM: AN INTERVIEW WITH BRADY BARRIENTOS
Brady Barrientos’ first public performance was at the Red River Ex, when he was 17-years-old. “I don’t like thinking back to that,” he says with a laugh, “It wasn’t my best work.” Fast forward two years later and the now 19-year-old is making his professional debut in MTYP’s production of Bad Hats Theatre, Alice in Wonderland. The show, which opens this Friday, marks not only a professional milestone, but an emotional one as well, “I’m living my dream right now,” he says.
Brady was born to perform. He describes seeing a photo of his mother, six months pregnant with him, singing onstage at a singing competition. “I guess you could say that my first real performance was in the womb,” he jokes. While he wasn’t able to take theatre classes growing up, he became involved in his high school’s musical theatre program.
After graduating, Brady began taking workshops to hone his skills. The performer found himself in the RISE Musical Theatre Company Intensive, a theatre company founded by Joseph Sevillo that creates opportunities for underserved communities in Winnipeg by offering free training with IBPOC professionals. “A lot of the reasons why Filipino people aren’t represented in theatre is because there’s a big paywall behind training programs,” he says. “That program meant a lot to me.”
It was at RISE that Brady met Katie German, MTYP’s then Artistic Associate. When the audition notice for Alice in Wonderland went out, Katie sent a message to Brady and encouraged him to audition. He says his first thought after hearing the audition song for the role he’d later end up getting (Caterpillar/Ensemble) was that the music was “just beautiful.” He continues, “It was so fun to sing. I auditioned and I remember I got an email for a callback when I was at work. I was on my break and I just jumped!”
A few days after his callback, Brady was at work “having the worst day.” He spent the night before staying up too late considering he had a 7 a.m. shift the next day. While on a break, a sleepy Brady checked his emails and saw one from Pablo, MTYP’s Artistic Director, informing him that he got the role of Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. “I just freaked out,” he says.
Soon after, Brady found himself tossing and turning the night before the first rehearsal. “I was so excited and so terrified,” the actor says. He got to MTYP extra early because he didn’t want to risk being late. He recalls sitting, waiting alone and then as others came trickling in feeling “so much love and magic in the room.” The cast of nine did their first read through of the show, “I remember thinking ‘I can’t believe I get to do this.’ This is just the best job I could ever ask for.”
Brady says his experience with the cast, a combination of folks from Bad Hats Theatre (Toronto) and Winnipeg, has been amazing. “It doesn’t just feel like rehearsal, it feels like making something really cool with your friends.”
Alice in Wonderland opens this Friday, May 6, at 7 p.m. The actor says you should come see it because “it’s a message I needed to hear when I was six-years-old, sixteen-years-old, and it’s something I need to hear today.” He continued, “I don’t cry at a lot, but I was crying by the end of the show. It made me laugh a lot too. It’s just wonderful.”
And if there’s something he’d say to himself or to a young Person of Colour who dreams of someday being on stage it’s that, “You belong.” He continues, “There are systemic and financial setbacks. But there’s a place for us. We belong on stage.”
Alice in Wonderland runs from May 6-15 at MTYP. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Box Office at 204-942-8898. Interested in Theatre School? Thanks to our generous Art Start supporters, MTYP has financial aid available for all camp and class registrations. See here for more information.