ATTENTION: Westerville Center closed until 2 p.m. More.
Allie Stratton has been at Columbus State, on and off, since she was a little girl. But it's only recently she's taken the stage.
Stratton has gotten good notices in Theatre Columbus State's recent productions, either on stage or behind the scenes. But the 27-year-old began coming here as a little girl, when her mother was taking Real Estate classes. As an elementary student, Stratton returned to Columbus State for the Kids in College enrichment program.
Stratton went to work directly after graduating from Marysville High School, but had to quit due to health reasons. She decided to go back to school.
She attended classes for a while before a classmate suggested she try out for Theatre Columbus State's performance of The Complete History of America (Abridged). She was a fan of the show already, but never imagined she could be in it.
"I didn't even know we had a theater program here," Stratton says. "I said, 'I know that play! I love that play! I can do that play!'"
She did land a part in that play, and has been focused on the theater ever since. She's appeared in Columbus State's productions of Romantic Fools and The Good Doctor, done props for Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and stage-managed Titanic: A Retrospective.
Titanic: A Retrospective was special because it was written and directed by Frank Barnhart, a Columbus State theater instructor who's been something of a mentor. The play was featured in Columbus' bicentennial celebration, and drew some of the biggest crowds Theatre Columbus State has ever seen. Titanic: A Retrospective was even nominated for the Best Central Ohio Production of 2012 in the Central Ohio Theatre Roundtable Awards.
Barnhart says she "keeps getting better and better." He's watched her grow more and more confident during her time at Columbus State.
"Columbus State has given me the self-esteem I lost from being bullied in high school." Stratton says. "I've developed the courage to let people laugh at me, which is essential in the theater."
Stratton plans to transfer to a four-year college to study English or Theater. She expects to remain involved with theater, no matter what capacity, and no matter her future career.
"Theater is my goal. Cast or crew, I want to be involved and on board," Stratton says.