Natalie Swanner, 2010 Graduate, Bachelor of Arts in Music Theatre
Natalie Swanner is living proof that a career in the arts is possible. Having grown up on the stage, a dream to pursue a professional acting career was birthed in the young performer. But her childhood dreams were quickly dampened by pressures to “be realistic.” She floated between various degrees before landing in the Music Theatre program. Back with her first love, she was confirmed in her calling and found renewed purpose as a performer and storyteller.
Friends University class of 2010, Natalie was challenged and nurtured by a host of dedicated professors who pushed Natalie toward her best. During her years at Friends, her instructors helped her find her voice, gave her confidence on stage, instilled in her a “fierce” work ethic, caught her up on the dance training she needed, and guided her through the technical aspects of the theatre industry. Many of her professors were role models then and continue to be encouragers now. “The connections I made there have lasted me all these years, and I have no doubt many will last a lifetime,” she says.
Natalie’s professional career started when she began her senior year at Friends. She was offered a professional contract at a Wichita theatre and has now been performing professionally for 11 years. She has performed in A Chorus Line, Spring Awakening and Hairspray at the Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre in Wichita, sang as a production vocalist for Princess Cruise Lines, and currently lives in Los Angeles where she continues to take on some of her dream roles. “Any time I took a time-out,” she says, “I was lured back in by Lady Theatre. It’s where I’m meant to be.”
At the core of her artistry, Natalie is a storyteller. Stories are “the heart and soul of music and theatrical arts,” she says. “I believe as storytellers, we can educate, help people see outside themselves, and impact people for the better.” She hopes by being faithful in pursuing her calling, she can encourage others to tell their best story.