She is Here, and She Cares
By Deanna Drennen
Audrey Seraphin has been tied to the Boston Theatre scene since her middle school theatre class with Michael Towers. Michael taught middle schoolers of Westford, Massachusetts theatre as he earned his Masters of Fine Arts at Boston University through the Boston Playwright's Theatre Program. Micheal would take his students into Boston to give them a chance to see new work, and this completely opened up a new world for Audrey. For the first time she saw that theatre was about more then performing. This experience connected her to the greater Boston theatre community at such a young age, and is the reason she can be found today working at the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Audrey grew up in Westford, Massachusetts with her parents Vinod and Mary Anne Seraphin and 2 younger siblings. From a young age, Audrey struggled with her identity because her parents came from very different backgrounds. Her dad was from India and her mom was from Tennessee. Half of her family are immigrants and the other half came over on the Mayflower, and while everyone has always gotten along it always created some uncertainty in her life. She never knew what to fill out on censuses, her dad told her to put down Hawaiian but that did not make any sense to her. As a kid her mom was constantly confused as her nanny. In grade school, cruel kids remarked that she should “go back to her tipi” . This left Audrey looking for a place where she feels she belongs.
Eventually Audrey found theatre and with the help of Michael Towers and the theatre program at Westford Academy she developed a love for it. Throughout high school she was trained in Method acting, directed a full length play, and had professionals read plays she wrote. With all that under her belt she entered college at Emerson College as a theatre studies major with the intention to become a playwright or director. However she had already explored so much in high school that she also wanted to try something new. So when she got to college she found herself leaning towards projects dealing with the business side of theatre. Eventually she declared her major in arts administration.
To get experience in the industry she got an internship with the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge. Audrey was living at her father's old MIT fraternity house for the summer and thought an internship at the Central Square Theatre would be nice and convenient, she was totally unaware what this theatre would end up being to her.
The Cambridge Central Square Theatre, or CST, is home to the Nora Theatre company and the Underground Railway Theatre company. The Nora Theatre's mission is to amplify the feminine voice and the Underground Railway theater company focuses on expanding the possible, they both meet at CST where “Epic stories are told intimately”.
Today Audrey is the Community and Inclusion activate of the theatre where her main goal is getting people engaged. She works to “bring people into plays and the plays to the people”. She finds guests for talk backs and works on creating relationships with them, she helps to plan the season, works the box office, and helps with front of house. When that is all summed up, her main goal is getting the Cambridge community engaged.
Audrey has a power with CTS that she has not had before: she is able to say to the community “we are here and we care”. She is able to encourage the community into action. Planning the season Audrey and her co-workers have the the power to open the community's mind. She is able to sit in a room of artists and suggest having a season with more women playwrights or actors of color and have that opinion matter. She is able to push for shows that have full casts of actors of color. While some people call that brave Audrey calls it smart, for they are “investing in a future, a future that does not cater to current dominant cultures”. And not only does Audrey put ideas out into the community, she urges the community to become more involved by doing things like setting up a table to write postcard to representatives; urging that theatre patrons to be more civically involved.
Bringing diverse stories to the community is very important to Audrey because of her past with identity and the fact that she is biracial. Working at the theatre was the first time, Audrey looked around the room and saw people just like her, and she also saw people not like her, but they all had the goal to bring these stories to the community and make them matter. Audrey says that “theatre breeds family” and it seems she found one in Cambridge. Here at CTS Audrey is able to partake in the most fulfilling theatre experience she has had yet. Night after night she is able to see the work she has done affect a community. Transgender teenagers have thanked her for the gendernutral bathrooms, woman of color have remarked how happy they are to finally see themselves and their families stories told on the stage. Audrey has been an actor, a director, and a playwright but this work she does with the cambridge community and being artistically involved in this way is much more gratifying to her and has given her a deeper meaning and a place for herself.