Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Erica Bradshaw, CEO of Bradshaw Creative Services, Director of Theater Arts – New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Master Acting & Public Speaking Coach.
Born in Brick City, aka Newark, New Jersey, Erica is a proud Jersey-an. She is an Arts & Education professional and a constantly working accomplished actor, writer, director, teacher, activist, mom, and so much more. Erica is a classically trained actor and graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Drama Dept. As an actor, she has more than 50 television and commercial credits to her name. You can check her out on IMDB.
Erica's stage credits include, but aren't limited to, Hartford Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, City Theater, Milwaukee Rep, and Signature Theater NYC (where she originated the role of Adele in Mr. Peter's Connections, one of Arthur Miller's final produced plays. As a writer, Erica wrote and performed her solo show, White America Hero, in locations across New York and New Jersey.
Bits of My Soul is her first book of poetry and can be found on Amazon. Speaking Fearlessly is her public speaking ebook. As a director, Erica worked on productions at the University of Kentucky and Actors Theater of Louisville. While at ATL, she was not only an active member of the Arts community but the Associate Director of the Apprentice Intern Company.
Erica has spent over 20 years teaching students from Los Angeles to New York and many places in between. Currently, Bradshaw Creative Services is in year five of the Creative Writing course for middle school scholars at Newark Charter School.
She is also a Member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Union Chamber of Commerce, and Board Member of the Gateway Family YMCA.
Hi Erica, Great to have you with us today! Please tell us about your journey.
When I was 5, my Uncle asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said an actress and singer but no dance. He videotaped me. I still have it. Even with many ups and downs, my family was very supportive of my pursuits artistically and personally. At 16, I was offered a grant by the Polonsky Foundation to attend a summer program anywhere in the world, based on my grades and single-parent status(mom). I attended UNCSA- University of North Carolina School of the Arts, thinking it was just a summer thing. Well, I ended up finishing high school and graduating, and ultimately teaching at UNCSA. It was a life-changing event that has had lasting effects – it is the cornerstone of my career and theater education. Upon graduating, I landed one of the top commercial agents in Buchwald, NYC, and have been with them for 25 years. In 2018 I registered my business Bradshaw Creative Services as an LLC and set forward to create my business based on the work I'd been doing for so many years. 2020, we opened our brick and mortar in my hometown, Union township NJ.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
There have been many ups and downs and all around as in my journey. There was a time I planned on leaving the industry, and I did pseudo leave. My mother wanted me to be well-rounded and insisted at a young age. I get computer and business skills. So, I've held non-art positions in management, legal, medical, and administration. I'm fortunate because I'm equally as passionate about teaching, acting, and business practice which is rare for many artists. My grandmother's saying to my mom and her to me was always, ‘this too shall pass.' And I've experienced and continue to experience that as my truth. Self-awareness, self-assessment, self-love, and Perseverance, and hope have guided me along this journey, a journey that, as a black lesbian with various societal disadvantages, has been exceptional and not the supposed stereotypical rule. As an activist, I was one of 7 couples who fought and won marriage equality rights in NJ. Now at 46, I've seen so much, helped so many, and been helped by so many. I'm in love with life and all the possibilities.
Any message for our readers.
My message and hashtag is #upliftmotivateinspire; that is what I do my best to achieve every day. To uplift the downtrodden, so they understand their worth despite their situation.
Fantastic! So tell us, how can people find out more about you?
I post regularly using #wokeupwinning and #wokeupwinningwarriors to remind myself and others that the win is in waking up! And that is the start of every great day, no matter what. I believe we all have challenges; however, our challenges don't have to have us – it's a choice. I'm working to deepen my understanding of that and myself continually. It is also one of the key components of being an artist.
Bradshaw Creative Services – The STUDIO is located at 1021 Stuyvesant Ave STE 6, Union, NJ 07083, United States.
Thank you so much, Erica, for giving us your precious time! We wish you all the best for your journey ahead!