Nichole Hart, Brenau Scholar

Brenau Scholar Nichole Hart

Nichole Hart’s life was changed by a bright orange flier.

“My parents didn’t want to push anything on me, and they encouraged me to tell them what I wanted to do,” says Hart, a theater acting major at Brenau. “I saw an orange flier at school that said ‘Drama Kids.’ I said, ‘I’m gonna do this!’ And my mom and dad supported me.”

Hart, born in Carbondale, Illinois, lived in the Midwest until she was 6 years old. Her family moved to Atlanta for a year before heading over to Pine Mountain, Georgia, where the Harts now reside, and where she often goes wakeboarding and hiking on Lake Harding with her friends.

Hart’s mother, who is from Malaysia, works in marketing, first for Sony and now for Aflac. Her father is a photographer and photojournalist and has been a professor at various colleges. The two met while earning master’s degrees at Southern Illinois University.

“Being exposed to such vastly different cultures has really shaped me as a person, to know my heritage and the diversity that comes into being who I am,” says Hart.

Hart’s first theatrical performance was in a 30-minute production of <cite>Paradisia</cite>, a children’s play set on an island. It lit a fire in her, providing an outlet to be spontaneous and have fun. During her senior year at Harris County High School, she was president of the International Thespian Society in charge of organizing events and helping get the school excited about theater. Her drama director, Valeria Longshore-Sargeant, furthered Hart’s passion for the stage. “She helped guide me to be the leader and actress I am today.”

Hart auditioned for various colleges at a theater festival in Columbus, Georgia. The Gainesville Theatre Alliance called her back. After talking to them she knew Brenau was the place for her. “It’s a nurturing environment here, and I appreciate that since I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to a smaller school at first. But after visiting Brenau and feeling the connection between the students, I knew I had to go here.”

Though she hasn’t been at Brenau long, Hart is already busy. As a Student Government Association representative in high school, being a freshman senator for SGA at Brenau is a natural fit. She’s also already performed in two productions at Brenau, one as Kola-pet, the wolf cub in WonderQuest’s production of <cite>The Jungle Book</cite>, and the other as Heidi and ensemble characters in <cite>Secret in the Wings</cite>. She hopes to someday perform the role of Roberta in John Patrick Shanley’s two-person show Danny and the <cite>Deep Blue Sea</cite>.

While Hart plans to work professionally in theater for as long as possible, she aims to earn certification in theater education to teach high school and eventually get a Master of Art in Theater to teach at a college or university. She also is considering minoring in psychology, as she did well in her A.P. psychology course in high school. “Knowing how the brain works would help me, even in my theater career, aside from just being interested in the subject.”

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