By Austin Bunn
Many people graduating from graduate school in Madison, Wis., have never heard of Emory, Va.
Emory & Henry Theatre Professor Dr. Kelly Bremner was no different. Having never heard of the school, but to be here now, she claims, was a blessing in disguise.
Bremner grew up in a small, industrial town in rural Athol, Mass. This town, known for building high precision tools, didn’t even have a theater program in the schools.
“There was a community theatre program in my hometown that I was involved in when I was in high school,” Bremner said, “but there was nothing in the schools at any point.”
After graduating in a class of 80 students, Bremner went on to study at Hobart and William Smith, where she obtained degrees in English (with a concentration in theatre) and music.
While being offered a music scholarship to every school she applied except for one, Bremner chose the one that did not, but still majored in music. Theatre was actually not offered as a major there.
Bremner then went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she met her husband, Scott, who is a composer and rehearsal pianist.
“That’s a really fun story,” Bremner said. “My Husband went to Bard College, along with my little brother. Scott had to write a thesis in order to graduate, so he wrote an opera. My little brother ended up singing in his opera. My mom went to watch and met Scott and found that he was going to Wisconsin-Madison, as well. I didn’t think I would ever actually meet him, but I totally bumped into him the first day on campus.”
Bremner graduated with her doctorate from Wisconsin-Madison and found a job at a college she would not name, due to some bad feelings about the school.
The school was financially insecure and was highly reliant on the automotive industry. So, when the economic crisis began, it pulled the school down with it. Bremner was at this school when the current economic crisis began. The school cut quite a few jobs, one of which was hers.
While searching for her new job, E&H really stood out to her.
“What I like about Emory & Henry is – when I was looking through the various jobs – is that theatre is a top-10 major here. It’s a program that the administration values.”
Bremner’s husband, Scott, still works as a rehearsal pianist for the historic Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va.
Scott also functions as a “two-day-a-week, stay-at-home dad,” in which he looks after their kids, Lotte (4 years old) and Twyla (1 year old).
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