Danielle aged 24, from New Jersey in the USA, has gone from strength to strength after graduating from Birmingham School of Acting (BSA) in February 2013, taking home the ‘Best Actress’ award at a prestigious New York theatre festival.
Following graduation from the MA/PG Dip Acting programme Danielle entered her university dissertation project into The Strawberry One Act Theatre Festival in America in the hope of raising awareness of the varying perceptions of body image.
The Strawberry One Act Theatre Festival is a competition in which a theatre audience and a panel of notable theatre judges cast their votes to select the best play, director, actor and actress of the season.
Twice a year, hundreds of plays from across America are submitted for the popular competition.
‘I’ve always had an awareness of my body’
Speaking of her play, entitled ‘The Body Image Project’, Danielle said: “Body image has been a topic of interest of mine ever since I was a child. I’ve always had an awareness of my body for as long as I can remember.
“I recall hilarious memories of my grandmother squeezing me into church dresses and having the misfortune of wearing tights in school ballet recitals.”
The Body Image Project
‘The Body Image Project’, which Danielle produced, performed in and co-directed with Tony Award nominee Da’vine Joy Randolph, follows Danielle’s quest to find people in the US and UK to share their personal stories on their bodies, and is based on verbatim interviews.
Recalling her creative journey, Danielle said: “I’ve been into the English pubs of Exeter, into the embracing arms of Afghanistan war veterans, the hallways of New Jersey hotels and inside the most beautiful homes of Ireland.
“Even though I’ve always been the ‘chubby’ girl in school, it has never affected my love and passion to perform. Body image is a topic that I feel needs to be addressed in theatre.”
Danielle admits there was keen interest in her after her performance. “When I did the show the New York, a lot of the audience members came up to me and asked me where I trained. I loved my time at BSA. “
‘The teaching at BSA is incredible!’
The ‘Best Actress’ doesn’t deny the impact her time at BSA had on her journey. “The teaching at BSA is incredible! The professors are truly amazing.
“Lise Olson, Louise Papillion, Alex Taylor and Stephen Simms really taught me everything that I need to know to survive this industry. They always challenged me past what I thought I could attain.
“With these teachers I was able to accomplish more in a year than I would have at a three year programme.”