By Linnda Durre’
Meredith Bartmon grew up in Palm Beach County and has been a performer since she could walk. Her parents, both lawyers, have been supportive of both their daughters from a young age and when they saw Meredith dancing around in diapers they put her right into ballet classes. Meredith was a child of local community theatre performing in shows like Cabaret, Carousel, Bang Bang You’re Dead and Gypsy, most of the time with her dad. In high school, studying theatre and acting became a serious challenge. The public school took precious little care with its theatre program and couldn’t hold onto a teacher. In four years there were five teachers including the history teacher and band instructor. When it came time to audition for university programs, Meredith was ill-prepared and unsuccessful. She spent the next two years in the General Theatre program at the University of Central Florida in Orlando where she took valuable classes with excellent teachers and improved enough to re-audition for Conservatory programs. She was accepted into the Music Theatre program at New World School of the Arts in Miami.
Meredith moved to Miami in 2005 to begin training for her BFA in Music Theatre. New World is an excellent center of training and one of the few full service arts conservatories in Florida and is also an extremely rigorous and demanding program. Meredith began her training with thirty six fellow actors and graduated four years later with only thirteen of the original group plus three transfers. Those sixteen theatre graduates now perform professionally from LA to NYC to Miami and everywhere in between in film, theatre and music as well as producing their own work and running their own theatre companies.
In her junior year, Meredith and a few other juniors auditioned for SpringboardNYC with The American Theatre Wing. The Wing produces the Tony Awards every year as well as providing a number of educational programs for university students and interns. Every summer hundreds of college juniors and seniors audition for SpringboardNYC – a college to career intensive two week program. Only thirty five students are accepted and in 2008, for the first time ever, New World sent two students including Meredith. She trained in the business of show business with mentors that included Kathleen Marshall, Anika Noni Rose, Neil Patrick Harris and more. David Caparelliotis, the Casting Director of the Manhattan Theatre Club at the time, said that she was a true character woman and that she had performed her monologue better than anyone else he had seen do that particular piece before. Since 2008, New World School of the Arts has had at least one student accepted to this prestigious program every year.
Meredith’s New World career would culminate in the summer of 2009 right after she had graduated. Professor Andy Noble took about a dozen students on a theatre field trip to London. Meredith fell completely and unabashedly in love with the city and its love for artistic endeavor. She made a pact with herself that she would come back but more on that later.
Meredith began work as a professional actress in South Florida with a featured role in Tom Stoppard’s Rock N’ Roll at the now closed Mosaic Theatre. She worked steadily, building her name and her resume, at venues such as Slow Burn Theatre, Florida Stage, City Theatre and Broward Stage Door Theatre. She joined the remarkable Missoula Children’s Theatre National Tour in the summer of 2010. Meredith and one other “Tour Actor/Director” or “TAD” drove around the country in a Small Red Truck filled with everything you need to put on a musical except a cast. On Monday, they would drive into small towns or military bases and cast sixty local children, many of whom had never even seen theatre and by Friday they performed with the kids in a fully designed, fully memorized, fully realized one hour long musical. On Sunday, they would pack the truck back up and drive onto the next town.
In 2011, Meredith decided that the best way to move forward and return to London was to pursue an MA in Acting. She was accepted into East 15 Acting School, Birmingham School of Acting and put on the alternate list for Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She decided to attend East 15 because the pictures of the campus were breathtaking – it looked like a scene from a Jane Austen novel - and she was intrigued by its unique Living History project. In September 2011, she packed all her belongings (except the cat) into three suitcases and moved to Loughton on the North East tip of the London Tube Central Line. East 15 has an International MA/MFA program but Meredith preferred to audition for the MA in Acting and had the privilege of training with forty four British and European students and being the only American in the British program that year.
East 15 Acting School helped Meredith discover not only who she really wanted to be as a performer but also who she really wanted to be as a person and a human being in this business. She performed Shakespeare, Chekhov, Self-Devised drama and more at major London and Brighton venues. East 15 is known for its unique Living History extended improv training in which the student actors improved for four days straight in the woods of Kent in winter. She also became interested for the first time in screen acting after studying film with Jonathan Firth and radio drama with Jonathan Tafler – both well-known actors in the UK.
In October of 2012, Meredith had to leave the UK and she chose to come back home to Florida. In the past year, Meredith has re-established herself as a new theatre artist. In just the first three months of this season, she performed in The Wick Theatre’s Gala Opening production of The Sound of Music. She played Titania in The Lightbulb Factories inaugural site specific production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Anne Norton Sculpture Garden produced by Diamante Atelier. And she will begin rehearsals for her next project at the end of December. She has also signed with film and commercial agencies and done voice over work for a studio in Miami. She coaches other professionals to design and maintain their own website and high school students to audition for University. Meredith has a social media campaign through her own website at www.meredithbartmon.weebly.com called the Monday Mentions in which she shares work that her friends are doing internationally. She also keeps her professional and personal connections active in London where she is a proud member of UK Actors Equity . For now she is taking her career one step at a time and is thoroughly enjoying working in Florida’s theatre and film industries although she hopes to return to London one day in the future.
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