This is part of a series about our 2016 Emerging Artists. They will perform selections from three powerful plays by Black women, August 5-7, for Intiman Theatre’s Emerging Artist Showcase. Join us for this free show! LEARN MORE.
Adera L. Gandy | Actor
Q: When did you know you wanted to dedicate your career to the arts?
A: I’ve been involved in theatre since I could form words. Growing up, my mom had this flip calendar featuring various African-American pioneers, one for every day of the year, and I would memorize their biographies and recite them as monologues in front of her friends. If she had guests over, I would bug her about performing something for them before they left. She would give a grand introduction and everything; I loved entertaining people! I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to the arts when I was cast in play as someone’s daughter at age seven. During the very first rehearsal, the actress playing my mother sang a song and looked into my eyes. I was so moved, I cried. I cried until I got into the car and my parents asked me what was wrong. I didn’t have the words for what I was experiencing at the time, but I knew I wanted to affect people in the way she affected me.
Q: Why is theatre important to you?
A: Theatre is transformative for the actor and the audience. It is confrontational and healing at the same time. I find the theatre to be a sacred, magical space where most anything can happen. We as actors are called to explore new frontiers, new ideas, and different thoughts and feelings on stage; in that exploration we create a world all our own that the audience gets to be part of. It’s a unique practice because it’s all live performance. Members of the audience get to watch real life play out on stage. We are in the creation together. Theatre is a tool to inspire change and self-discovery through an experience that is both intimate and powerful.
Q: What excites you about the Emerging Artist Program?
A: I’m excited to be surrounded by so many creative, young geniuses! At times I almost don’t feel worthy of their company. This group is so talented and creative; everyday I’m inspired over and again, which is something I’ve been craving in my personal life for a while now. I feel truly blessed to get to work with such amazing people who work with such passion and personal conviction. It’s been beautiful and I’m grateful for each and every person I’ve connected with thus far.
Q: What is one experience that stands out in the program so far?
A: The viewpoints exercise with Sheila Daniels remains a stand out for me. I had done viewpoints before, but it was different this time. I felt like my soul left my body that day. I was blown away at how working my body so intentionally hard actually allowed me to be more present than ever. I am in my head a lot, so it was very, very nice to relax my mind and get in deeper touch with my physical self. After 23 years, I felt I was being introduced to my body for the first time. I thought to myself “Ohhh, THIS is what you can do!” I definitely have a greater appreciation for this vessel now. It was fascinating!
Q: What or who is your biggest inspiration?
A: One of my greatest inspirations is Angeline Jolie, for how she uses her artistry as a platform to incite activism and further humanitarian efforts.
“Artists are visionaries. We routinely practice a form of faith…Sometimes we are called on pilgrimages on its behalf and, like many pilgrims, we doubt the call even as we answer it. But answer we do.”
Adera is an Emerging Artist who was born and raised in Des Moines, Washington. After completing high school in spring 2011, she moved to Washington DC where she studied the theatre arts as an acting student at both Howard University and the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory. She is still learning to be vulnerable, to be free, and most importantly, true Forgiveness. These are lessons she hopes to incorporate all throughout her work as a performing artist.