At the start of the pandemic Katie found that her personal work was expanding and new ideas were starting to take form. She was finishing up her MFA from The Pig Iron School with a degree in Devised and Physical Performance when the idea for the Bryan Project was born.
Although some people close to Katie may think of her as growing up in Texas, she was actually born in the small town of Bryan Ohio, where she lived until the age of three before moving south with her family. Moving at such a young age, Katie does not possess many memories of her life in Bryan, yet she was fascinated with the idea that one can be connected to a place that they don't remember. Thus, she decided that she wanted to embark on a trip to the small town in Williams County Ohio in search of the remnants of her family’s past life. What she found (or lack thereof) threw a wrench into the expectations of her trip, and of the overall project.
Katie reached out to the local Bryan High School where she was able to connect with the head of the Theater Department, Betsy Zuver. She offered students theater workshops and created a dialogue with them related to Bryan and her project. She also began to interview residents of Bryan about their hometown, and learned that her past home and her father’s place of work weren’t the only things that had changed in the town of Bryan.The industrial economy that so many of Bryan’s residents have been reliant on for so long is being overcome by the ever increasing immersion of technology. As manufacturing jobs become less available, Katie asks the question of “What is next for Bryan, Ohio?”
The dialogue continues as Katie pursues her interviews and connections with the residents of Bryan. They discuss the possibility of how an increased presence of art in the community can shape the future of the town, and other ways that the residents believe the town could flourish.
With a recent second trip to Bryan under her belt, Katie continues to build up her story and make headway on her project. Katie is honored that The Bryan Project was invited to participate in the Lacuna Festival taking place online this summer! In the next few months leading up to the festival, she is putting the pieces of her research together, and creating a documentary to present her story. As a project that began with a past connection, the Bryan Project has transformed into a story of the shared interpersonal connections present and future between Katie and the Bryan community.
Stay tuned to learn about the progress of the Bryan Project, and help to support Katie reach her goal!