Theatre Geek of the Week: Adrianne Embry

Adrianne Embry as “Nomfundo” in Aaron Ricciardi’s “Nice Nails”, opening March 30th in the Wells-Metz Theatre. | Photo by Evan De Stephano

When did you first realize you were a theatre geek?

It’s hard to say the exact moment when I was like “Oh my gosh! I’m a theatre geek!” I feel like instead it came to me in signs. For example, when I was younger (much much younger) my family and I would always watch Tyler Perry movies. My favorites were always the plays. I would sit and watch these movies with my family. Then I would choose my favorite monologue and perform it any chance I could get. Luckily my parents found it hilarious so any time we had a guest at the house it was always my time to shine. Signs that I still get come to me when I reference plays constantly, dream about theatre constantly, and always feel the need to break out into song and dance.

What is your favorite thing about theatre?

My favorite thing about theatre is where I find shelter in it. Growing up I have always been a represser of emotions. I never really wanted to feel any emotion that wasn’t happiness so I would just push it back deep into my subconscious. Obviously, keeping emotions bottled up is extremely unhealthy and letting them out is vital. So when I perform I allow myself to feel fully and honestly as the character that I am in. I know there are people who argue that theatre should not be therapy, but for me it is extremely cathartic. Even when I am not performing and just watching a show. Being right there in such close proximity with performers rendering such emotional honesty makes me feel more human which is something that we all need.

What do you do outside of your theatre endeavors?

Outside of theatre, but not too far from it I love to write poetry and very occasionally compete in slam or just go to open mics. I also spend tons of time waiting tables which isn’t too awful for me because I love theatre and that’s how I view serving. When I wait tables I’m not doing anything, but acting. I also spend most of my downtime with my three children: Joey, Tinkerbell, and Kunta.

When no one is watching, what song do you love to sing or dance along with?

I don’t care who is watching. Get me started on the Hairspray soundtrack and I will terribly belt “Good Morning Baltimore”. The role of Tracy is actually my dream role which is ridiculously sad because you know…I’m a skinny black woman. All hope lost there.

Do you have any words of advice for incoming theatre students?

DO THE SHOW! Don’t doubt yourself. Just audition. No matter how small the role. Trust me. And most importantly, just because you do not see people that look like you performing that does not mean you should shy away from being a part of a theatre program. I know how it feels, but your decision to get onstage anyways will make a difference in someone else’s life, and your own.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently in the rehearsal process of a new play titled Nice Nails by a phenomenal playwright by the name Aaron Ricciardi. I am playing the character of Nomfundo who is a nail tech who’s an immigrant from South Africa. I’m also in the progress of working on a chapbook titled Starstruck.

Adrianne Embry is a Theatre major in IU’s Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance. Adrianne won the Eric Sharp Gateway Poetry Award for her poem “On Why I Can Never Bear A Child” and the same poem received an honorable mention for the Marianne Hedges Award. She also received an honorable mention for her poem “Whites Define Post Racial Using the Blood of Blacks” in a Rebecca Pitts Poetry Award competition. Adrianne attended Western Kentucky University and IUPUI before she found her home here at IU.
Read her full bio at

About IU Theatre Department

Welcome to the 7th & Jordan blog. This blog is a peek behind the curtain at the productions and people at Indiana University's Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.
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