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Abi Sneathen 'walks the walk' in the theatre world

By Erika Neldner

Fresh out of high school, Abi Sneathen quickly found a home at Reinhardt in the School of Performing Arts and the Falany Performing Arts Center, where she spent more time than her in residence hall.

Now the 2016 graduate is soaring to new heights in the performing world and auditioning in Atlanta for her next big step.

“Abi is really a remarkable person, an inspiration to me and a perfect example of one of our graduates who is ‘walking the walk,’” said Brian Osborne, assistant professor of music at Reinhardt.

After graduation, Sneathen began working a prestigious apprenticeship at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville. “It’s the second largest theater in Atlanta, second to The Alliance,” said Sneathen. “I finished a yearlong apprenticeship there, did a small show and then went straight to Maine.”

Sneathen had the opportunity to spend the summer in the United States’ northeastern-most state working for a Shakespeare Company there.

Now she’s back in metro Atlanta and determining what her next steps may be. She has begun auditioning for roles in the vibrant metropolitan hub home to great theaters like Alliance Theatre, the Fox Theatre and more.

“I left Reinhardt prepared for what I was going to do next. The support of the faculty and students played a large role in my preparation, as did the stage time I was able to get because I chose a smaller university,” she said. “That’s something I always tell prospective students. Because we are a smaller university, you don’t have to compete with grad students like at larger universities. I got a lot more stage time, experience and resume credits at Reinhardt – more than most students usually do in college.”

Sneathen, a vocal performance major turned music theatre major, studied under Dr. Rebecca Salter, whom she calls an amazing vocal instructor and cheerleader.

“She has this magic touch. There’s something about voice lessons. You are so vulnerable. It’s not like working on other skills; your voice is part of you. It can be really scary,” Sneathen said. “If I had been having a bad day or week, I would walk into my voice lessons and just start crying. She would always be there to talk it out.”

One of the benefits of the dedicated staff and choice of major: Even though the schedule is rigorous and the work can be difficult, it’s fun, she said.

“I would have classes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, and I would have an hour to change clothes and get food. Then I would have rehearsals from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. six days a week,” she said. “But I got to do what I love with all of my friends.”

Some of her fondest memories include performances of “Guys and Dolls,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

And now she’s taking her stage experience, Reinhardt-learned skills and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre to the next stage to shine.

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Abi Sneathen

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One of Abi Sneathen's favorite roles at Reinhardt was Sarah Brown in 'Guys and Dolls.'

 

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