"It has truly been a rewarding experience watching Braden develop over the past four years. He has grown from an Intern to an insightful and generous instructor, and from an enthusiastic teen actor to a dedicated and disciplined artist. He is genuine and unique - a wonder of potential that I am grateful to have had the pleasure of knowing and working with. I look forward to watching as he continues to define and shape himself and others." -Director of Education Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano
Braden Cleary is a familiar face at CST... Largely due to being the "poster child" for this year's The Comedy of Errors Shakespeare in the Park production. Not only does this Indiana University Junior; majoring in theatre; have a role in our mainstage production, but he is also the instructor/director for this years Summer Shakespeare Workshop. The students will wrap up their summer session by doing their version of The Comedy of Errors this weekend on Friday at 5:30 PM and Saturday at 2:30 PM.
Cleary began with CST when he went to an open casting call for Ascension Day when he was a Junior at Wheeler High School. He landed a role in the play and began taking classes at CST with the play's director Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano. "Lisa really taught me a lot of hands-on skills that are a foundation for how I approach working on any type of production," said Braden.
During his Senior year he was took a course to find an internship in a field he was interested in pursuing. Braden asked to become an intern with the Educational Programming with CST and assisted Lisa and Peyton Daley with classes. During this time he took parts in various plays like Pinocchio, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Frost/Nixon, and worked backstage as well as helped with the Summer Shakespeare Workshop.He says that one of the things he really appreciates about being part of CST is that the group took him in and got him involved while always treating him with respect. "I've never had anyone here ever treat me as if I were a kid or anything less than an equal and I think that is so important for the students coming through here to have the same experiences I've had."
Braden says that the process of directing the student production of the same show he is currently in has been an "interesting experience" because it's an adaptation by Kari-Anne Innes that pits rival high schools against each other at a mall. "I've had to be very careful not to direct the students where I'm saying things like- Well in our version we do this this way..." Cleary admitted that he thought it was good for his students to see him in the Graney version because he thinks that watching their teacher and the other cast members "go all out" showed his students how the could "step up" their own performances and be "less self conscious." He believes it also helps teach them where all this training can be applied, because his students know how he "was where they are" not that long ago.
In the Sean Graney version of The Comedy of Errors, Braden plays Dromio of Syracuse the playful sidekick to his master and Dromio of Ephesus the the nervous "whipping post" for his master. Fellow cast member Eric Brant said that Cleary is a "joy" to work with especially with the improvised elements of the show because "he takes whatever anybody throws at him and finds a way to make it better."
Braden said that he loves the people at CST because the experiences they've given him helped become the Education Coordinator for a student run theatre group at IU. He added that he also loves returning to "this place where people have a sense of pride and professionalism about their work. It shows me that people really love the what they're doing here."