CFRT Opened A World I Could Not Have Found Anywhere Else

By Grady McLeod Bowman, NYC Choreographer and Creative Artist

e21c6f_d9680aad4d964cf3a28066ede6e472e6Grady McLeod Bowman is a wonderfully successful choreographer and creative artist in New York City where he creates work for theatre, film, and dance companies.  He has choreographed Off-Broadway, at the NY Fringe Festival, and at a number of regional theatres and universities across the country.  His favorite performing credits include the original Broadway companies of Billy Elliot, South Pacific (2008 Revival), Honeymoon in Vegas, Wonderland, and The Pirate Queen.  Dance Magazine has called him “exceptionally versatile” and “on the rise.”  His career in the arts started at a very young age at – you guessed it – Cape Fear Regional Theatre!  For more information on Grady, we encourage you to visit his website at

What was your involvement at CFRT?

I grew up at Cape Fear Regional Theatre under the wing of my godfather and one of CFRT’s founders, Leonard McLeod.  As far back as I can remember it was a part of my life – my second home.  I did my first play when I was 5 years old and participated in the very first 2 years of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  I performed in plays and musicals under the direction of Bo Thorp and Lee Yopp until I graduated high school, and then I taught dance for CFRT’s summer camp programs.  In 2012, I returned and choreographed Jesus Christ Superstar.

How did your experiences at CFRT impact your childhood?

CFRT impacted my childhood in that it surrounded me with this eclectic, passionate, and talented community of young people.  It surrounded me with adults that allowed me to explore and nurture my love for theatre and with kids my own age that had the same interest and passion for theatre as I did.  CFRT provided a place for me to learn and work on something that I loved and opened up a world of music, dance, and art that I could not have found anywhere else.e21c6f_9f7f4e22f6634698958ff9a601d8b76d

How did your experiences at CFRT influence your current or professional life?

My experiences at CFRT are directly connected to why I’m doing what I’m doing today.  I don’t ever remember making the decision to pursue theatre.  Because of CFRT, it was always just a part of my life.  I loved it.  It’s what I did.  I never really considered doing anything else.

In your opinion, how does CFRT affect or make a difference in our community?

CFRT is vital to the community.  It provides an art form that brings people together and enriches the culture of the community in and around it.  Not only does it entertain but it teaches and gives back.  It provides young people an outlet to explore their creativity around others who share the same passions.  The theater educates as much as it entertains. CFRT takes this responsibility seriously as it has been providing both great entertainment and theatre education for as long as I can remember.

CFRT is proud to provide a variety of opportunities for youth, just like Grady, to “explore and nurture” their love for theatre.  We work diligently to surround children with caring adults, positive role models, skill-building activities, and opportunities to grow during Summer Camps, Studio sessions, and during youth productions.  Each year, we love seeing thousands of children evolve their talents and build their confidence but we can’t do it without the help of generous donors like you!  Please consider donating today to CFRT’s #25DaysOfGiving to help us raise $25,000 for our youth education and outreach programs.  Your gift can help us open the world of theatre to more children in 2016!

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