• Alexandria Bagwell

Community Spotlight: Bethany Mansfield

I have encountered a lot of people in my lifetime, but Bethany takes the cake for the most joyful human I’ve ever met. (And if you’re ever trying to surprise her, the cake she’d take is a delicious carrot with cream cheese icing!)

Bethany always encouraged me along my spiritual journey during our time shared at Anderson University.

May her words speak truth over your artistic journey and send you a ray of virtual sunshine during this rainy Thursday.

Alright friend, tell us who you are and a little bit about what you do!

My name is Bethany Mansfield, and I am an actor! I feel most at home performing TYA (Theater for Young Audiences) or musical theater, but I also express myself through work as an accompanist and teaching artist. I just finished a contract performing with Florida Repertory Theatre where I played Junie B. in Junie B. Jones: The Musical, Lucy in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Viola in Twelfth Night and understudied five other roles in various productions! Next up, I’ll be touring nationally with Missoula Children’s Theatre for the foreseeable future as a Tour Actor/Director.

Congratulations on your recent successes! How does your faith impact the stories you create onstage? (PS: She's about to drop some major wisdom that I needed to hear!)

There is nothing so vulnerable as putting your very essence on display: whether it be to thousands or to three people behind a table. That is the world performers live in, and if we’re not careful, it can do some mental and emotional wreckage. But throughout the years, I’ve recognized that my work doesn’t have to define me in the way it does other artists. Yes, I am a self proclaimed workaholic, but my success itself doesn’t define me: Christ defines me.

I will gladly put my essence on display because despite rejections, I know Christ ADORES my essence. I live for Christ alone, not for theater, a callback, acceptance from fellow artists, a great contract, or the money in my savings account. I get to live for the primary purpose of bringing others joy and pointing people to the most perfect essence: Jesus Christ. I think that realization and comfort has had a huge impact on my life and my career.

I love that you talk about putting your worth in Jesus, not in whoever is behind the audition table! Your faith is rejuvenating! Do you have anything to share for someone that's feeling their faith shaken right now?

I have been reading through the Word this year; last week, I was in the Book of Ruth and felt her response could be easily applicable to the world’s current situation. Ruth’s life tumbled apart as she lost her husband and the family she had come to know. She was asked to return to a land she had left years before. I can only imagine the utter loneliness and anxiety that plagued her soul. But the change that surrounded Ruth pointed her to a constant God.

Ruth began to understand that joy comes in the morning AND the mourning. She understood that life is a series of seasons; her current troubles would bloom into good when she entrusted her troubles to the Creator. In the midst of the heartache, Ruth rerouted her life to better pursue God. Because if God was for her, no circumstances could stand against her.

So beautifully said! Do you have any theatre companies you want to shout out that have your heart?

I have always been inspired by the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. They are an incredible company that is devoted 100% to making the arts accessible to the younger generation of the metropolitan area. CTC is constantly moving forward with innovative outreach, showcasing progressive shows, and featuring new works in their season lineup!

Bethany, what songs should we be dancing around our house to today?

Dancing Queen by ABBA, always and forever. Other songs that I find myself living to are “Live Forever,” (Mike Mains & The Branches), “King of My Heart,” (Bethel Music) “Classic,” (MKTO) and “I Was Made For Loving You” (Tori Kelly, Ed Sheeran).

I'll conclude with one final question. Although admittedly cliche, it's surprisingly telling... What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell myself that it is okay to not know the plan. No one’s path is the same, so there are no distinct guidelines or a clear “how to” when it comes to your future. And that’s the beauty of it!

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else but yourself because there is only one you. Keep on doing what the Lord has called you to do, and if there is no clear “how to,” make one for yourself! Create your own path. You are, after-all, an artist.

There's four feet, ten inches of blessed words of encouragement for your day! Bethany is as talented as she is kind! If you want to see her absolutely insane belt, check out her website BethanyMansfield.com!

And to conclude like last week... Are you someone doing good for the art community? Want to share a little bit about your journey or know someone who would? Let me know!

© 2020 by Alexandria Bagwell