Brad Pontius is a senior and he has spent his four years at IU South Bend immersed in the Theatre Department in the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts. “Theatre and anything on the stage is my passion,” he said. He proved it by becoming the first student to write the screenplay for the annual “Michele’s Little Hearts Theatre Presentation” where thousands of local school kids come to IU South Bend to watch a play—for many of them the first theatrical production they have ever seen.
Pontius wrote an adaptation of “The Legend of John Henry” that was performed by IU South Bend students and directed by Jacob Medich, also an IU South Bend student. “I picked John Henry because I think it has an important message about standing up for yourself and fighting for what you believe in,” said Pontius. “I loved the way it turned out and the kids loved it, too.”
John Henry is the story of an American folk hero who defeated a steam powered machine in a contest using only a hammer and his own strength. It also became a classic folk song. “Jacob and the cast were a joy to be around,” said Pontius. “Watching the first show and seeing the kids in the audience react was amazing.”
Pontius considers himself an actor first, then a playwright. He has had leading roles in a dozen performances at IU South Bend and he has written a full-length play. The Mishawaka High School graduate plans on a career in the theatre and is already pitching his play and looking for acting work. “I intend to work in New York City,” he said. “I can’t wait to work in a city that I love, in a profession I adore.”