Reporter’s note: Each summer, Chautauqua Theater Company opens its stage doors to young actors and theatermakers for a fully funded fellowship. This summer’s conservatory includes 14 actors, four design fellows and one directing fellow. They will work alongside CTC staff and visiting professionals, and serve as the core of the theater company for all CTC shows. To help readers get to know them, interviews with CTC conservatory members will run regularly in the weekend edition of the Daily throughout the summer.
Who: Adrianna Mitchell, 26, Chautauqua Theater Company conservatory actor.
If Mitchell looks familiar, that’s because she is the sole returning conservatory actor this year, and it was for that reason she spoke during the official Amphitheater ribbon cutting.
She started the current season with CTC’s “Young Playwrights!” and also appeared in “The Community Engagement Project,” the August Wilson lecture in the Hall of Philosophy and the CTC After Dark production of One Arm.
Her major role this season will be Juliet in Romeo & Juliet.
Where she’s from: An Atlanta native, Mitchell is a graduate of Spelman College. She is now in San Francisco and entering her third year at the American Conservatory Theater. Between her undergrad and graduate degrees, Mitchell briefly lived in New York. She is not sure where she’d like to end up, but knows that she’d like to continue doing theater.
First theatrical memory: “I became an actor because of ‘Star Wars,’” Mitchell said, recalling her father and step-father took her to see “Episode IV” when it was re-released in theaters in the ’90s. “Just the sense of wonder I felt watching this thing and being like, ‘I’m going to be in this.’ ”
Dream roles: Mitchell, who appeared in last summer’s Taming of the Shrew at CTC and also appeared in the Actor’s Shakespeare Project production of Measure for Measure as Isabella in 2015, said she’d like to continue working her way through Shakespeare.
“It’s like not the crème de la crème, but kind of,” Mitchell said. “If you can do Shakespeare, you can hopefully do anything.”
She is also drawn to the works with elements of Afrofuturism, like the upcoming “Black Panther” movie and magical realism.
“I’m a firm believer that realism is limiting,” Mitchell said. “I think you can sometimes even share more truth through a non-realism scope because people are kind of open to the fantasy that you create.”
Favorite album: A lover of classical music, Mitchell said she has a playlist filled with soundtracks from such movies as “Belle,” “Star Wars” and “Moonlight.”
Favorite food: Brownies and sweet potato pie hit Mitchell’s sweet spot, but she also loves to cook in general. She learned to poach an egg this summer and is also falling in love with Indian food. A favorite snack right now are pan-fried chickpeas prepared with curry powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and coconut oil.
Currently reading: “I’ve been reading a lot of text about race in America, just to give myself some language to process what’s been happening,” Mitchell said.
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, Killing Rage: Ending Racism by bell hooks, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin are some of her recent favorites.
Mitchell said she has been looking to these writings and others to process this time in American history and how she can speak to it as an artist.
“If people want to have a conversation or want to ask a question, I can’t be the spokesperson for all things, but I have language and I have a willingness to speak, and a willingness to beckon empathy about what’s happening right now,” Mitchell said. “At the end of the day, it’s a human experience.”