Ms. Allison Barron Brandon is the Founder of Wonderland Performing Arts & serves as the company’s President. Allison grew up in Lafayette, LA as a dance enthusiast. She studied ballet, tap, & jazz during her childhood and went on to enjoy and study the genres of modern dance, show choir, and musical theatre as a teenager & adult. She has a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans & a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts: Theatre from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She’s been privileged to attend workshops with the American Theatre Wing & The International Cabaret Conference at Yale University. Some of her instructors in these settings have included: Seth Rudetsky, Faith Prince, Neil Patrick Harris, Anika Noni Rose, Kathleen Marshall, Erv Raible, Sally Mayes, and Sharon McKnight. She was recently accepted into the Broadway Evolved Educators’ Workshop where she will learn from Broadway stars including Audra McDonald, Andrew Rannells, Kelly O’Hara, & Laura Osnes. Allison loves being involved in the Acadiana community. She currently serves as Chair of the ULL College of the Arts Advisory Board & President of The Looking Glass Theatre Co. She is the co-creator of Mad Thinkers, a community outreach theatre program that serves educational workshops for youth across Acadiana. Allison serves on the Heymann Performing Arts Center Commission, the UL College of the Arts Advisory Board (President). She enjoys being a One Acadiana Ambassador, a member of the Acadiana Open Channel, and Acadiana Cultural Organizers. Throughout her life, she has accumulated 34 years of performance experience; 19 years of choreography experience for projects such as school & community musical theatre, Mardi Gras balls, & fundraising projects like Dancing with the Stars & Lip Sync Battles (Sacred Heart, Ascension Episcopal, & St. Pius); 11 years of directing experience, and 6 years as a business owner working to bring performing arts to her hometown areas of New Orleans (2010-2011) & Lafayette (2016-2022). She has performed in numerous professional, college, and community theatre productions. Her most recent local performances are Side by Side by Sondheim (2019), Legally Blonde (2019; Paulette), The Bumpy Road (2014; a show she wrote, directed, co-starred & co-produced with Sarah G. Roy), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2016; Rona Lisa Peretti), and Nunsense (2017; Sister Mary Amnesia). In college, she played Eliza Doolittle in IPAL’s My Fair Lady in 2008. Her ULL musical theatre credits include Les Miserables (2004; Eponine), Into the Woods (2005; Cinderella), & Grease (2007; Rizzo). Before moving back to Lafayette, LA, Allison lived in New Orleans where she performed in Let Freedom Swing! (2009-2010; Lorna Baker) at the National WWII Museum, The Wedding Singer (2010; Holly) at Le Petit Theatre, The Drowsy Chaperone (2011; Janet Van de Graaff) at Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre & Thoroughly Modern Millie (2016; Gloria) at Tulane SLT. She’s most recently been seen on stage as Ilona Ritter in IPAL’s production of She Loves Me (2022) and she will perform in 9 to 5 this summer as Missy! Allison loves producing as much theatre as possible for the community to enjoy. As of Summer 2022, she has produced twenty-nine live children’s theatre productions through Wonderland Performing Arts with seven more planned to happen by Summer 2023. She looks forward to producing four adult community theatre shows through The Looking Glass Theatre Co. by Summer 2023. She is the proud mother of Adelaide Greer Brandon (her fantastic 8-year-old daughter). Allison believes performing arts can transform people, and she is excited to share her knowledge, experience, and love for the arts with others.
Who makes up your art circle?
My students, their parents, the teaching artists at Wonderland, my theatre community/ fellow actors, singers, dancers, directors, writers, and producers in the Acadiana area.
How do you expand your art circle?
I believe in producing high quality productions and a wide range of educational opportunities in order to expand my art circle.
What value do you see in having a creative community?
When problems arise for creative people we can see multiple solutions. We are open to exploring many avenues rather than traveling the same road over and over again throughout life. I believe theatre in particular is vital to understanding people who aren’t just like us. Whether you’re an audience member and you learn something new through the piece you are viewing, or you are a cast member sharing the stage with someone who is different from you, theatre gives us a way to explore empathy for others. The world would be a better place with more empathy and understanding. We need art to show us the way.
How does your artistic approach contribute to your community?
When I was growing up here in Lafayette there were lots of dance schools but there was not an academy focused on other facets of performing arts. I wanted to give that to my community so people could have more opportunities to participate in theatre locally. I believe the work I am doing allows people to explore their creativity through play, teaches discipline and reliability, and brings people together. Live theatre is so special because a unique group of people gather for a specified period of time, create something together that lives only in that moment, and then it is a memory. It is magic.