Hallie Storms, a freshman theater major poses for a photo in Pearce Auditorium. Storms is one of the Brenau Scholars. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau Scholar: Hallie Storms

Some people go into the theater because they love the stage and the spotlight. Some because it allows them to express a side of themselves they can’t in daily life. Hallie Storms of Memphis, Tennessee, became a theater major at Brenau for a different reason: her personal way of sharing important social messages to the public.

“I feel very compelled to be a civil servant, and art can be a very important tool for getting messages to the public without seeming heavy-handed,” she says. “I think acting is the ideal tool for me to use for that purpose.”

With a mother who teaches, a father who is an architect and a sister who studies marine biology, Storms comes from a family of diverse talents. She discovered hers while part of Stage Door Productions, a performing arts theater in Memphis.

“They work a lot with children,” she says. “I spent a summer working there, and it became apparent the insecurities that are present in some children. We played a game called ‘Beautiful,’ where they would tell me what they found beautiful about themselves and their peers. It made me realize how powerful theater can be in helping young kids.”

Her passion for theater was cemented when her high school, White Station High, did a production of Doubt by John Patrick Shanly. During the play, which Storms considers one of the most important theatrical shows of the era, she grew close to her fellow cast members. When she learned about the Gainesville Theatre Alliance and spoke with some of the students, she could tell how much passion they had for performing.

Since coming to Brenau, Storms has learned more about GTA and Brenau’s theater program, which included participating in a theater workshop the first week she arrived. The director of the workshop, Ryan Conarro – GTA’s artist-in-residence from New York – left an impression on her. She is already considering going to Chicago to look at Second City’s comedy school after graduation. Storms may also try to start her own theater company, but no matter what the future holds, one thing will always be most important to her craft: “As long as I’m able to do work I find integrity in, I’ll be happy.”

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