So remember a few months ago, when I spoke about how amazing our new recruits were?

How wonderful and electric and magical the energy they brought to the rehearsal process was?

I spoke about how blown away I was, by the sheer force of enthusiasm and joy they brought to the Trayn’d Bandes.   Since then, they have had a nearly full summer at the Bristol Renaissance Faire , with our closing weekend on the horizon.    Over the past eight weeks, they have challenged themselves, they have gone bigger, they have been bolder and they have educated and entertained the people who have entered the encampment.   And this weekend…they graduate from the Bristol Academy of the Performing Arts and they are no longer newbs.

They also experienced something that they didn’t know would occur, they were changed too.   Their lives and minds are now filled with experiences, stories and memories that they will never forget.

Katherine Drummond - (portrayed by Olivia)My favorite memory though, that would have to be baptizing Pip (on the crazy rain day we had).   I remember thinking to myself (afterwards) “Yeah, this is definitely the kind of stuff I could tell first years about in the future and they’d think ‘nah that’s not real’ like I did when crazy stories were told to me.” It’s real though. He went down in that muddy water.  We made it our mission to entertain through the rain.

It was great really. I think it helped my transition to college a lot, you know, talking to people and stuff. I was really excited to be acting out my favorite time period, like I used to dream about as a kid. I thought talking to patrons would be terrifying but they’re like… people. I don’t know. I’m glad the cast really has become like a family–not that I thought it wouldn’t–but I’m glad. I’m glad I can talk to someone twice my age or older like I would anybody else. That’s always been an issue, because I’ve always felt like a kid, but in GSM….I feel like a Sorta Adult.

Olivia Mauseth (Katherine Drummond)

John Robinson - William KentBefore I joined GSM, I was feeling incredibly low and I was very scared of feeling this way for the rest of my life. I tried out for Bristol to try to find a source of happiness again and to follow some friends who had joined cast the year before. When I first got to BAPA, I was incredibly nervous. I didn’t feel like I was fitting in and had a lot of doubts about my own abilities. Everyone else seemed so talented and so much quicker to wit. But what I didn’t realize was that I was growing.

A phrase is commonly used by our entertainment director…”Leap and the net will appear”.  That phrase was something I took to heart during BAPA. I failed a lot, but the friends I made were always there to support me and give me chance after chance. I made some amazing memories because of this. I learned to forge. I went out into town in full armor and galloped around. that may have been my favorite memory. I made a lot of people laugh. But most importantly, I met some amazing people who believed in me and encouraged me to explore and develop. I have had some of the best times of my life out here. I’m truly grateful for being invited into this family.

John Robinson (William Kent)

10927184_10204943996826024_5997811565253371434_oI honestly had no idea what to expect going into my first year with Bristol and Guild of St. Michael, or when I even made the decision to do it.   I remember just one day being asked “Hey McCray, want to join GSM and perform at the Ren Faire this summer?”  Of course I said yes.  I mean, I’d only been to faire once in my whole life and I was very young at the time.   Now that I’ve spent a season with this cast, I can say that every expectation I had was met and then some.  The people were (and are) amazing and the experience was priceless.  I wait eagerly for the next season.  Long live GSM!  

Tyler McCray (Master Julius Turner)


DSC_046411181684_10206517336879497_5711266207199538630_nGSM was pretty cathartic for me. Truthfully, I didn’t come into this expecting much. I certainly didn’t anticipate the sense of community in GSM. That is arguably what most exceeded my expectations. At first, I was most excited about throwing another thing on my CV (curriculum vitae) , but after the first training week, that shifted 180 degrees. I felt truly validated by the group, and I learned so many things (and still continue to) that working with GSM is perpetually rewarding. I don’t think I could give an unbiased answer regarding my favorite memory from the summer since my job acceptance made Military Party weekend such a significant moment. I continue to be nervous regarding icebreakers with patrons and hordes of children in the tents. I really, really look forward to continuing with GSM at events outside of Bristol.

                                     Ryan Ziegelbauer (Professor Robert Thorne)

This is just a smattering of the stories and experiences our first years have had, and they have so many more to come.  I know I speak for all of us who perform alongside them in saying that it has been an honor and privilege to play and entertain with them this summer.

I wonder what memories will be created and stories will come out of our three day weekend (and final weekend) at Bristol?

Guess you will have to tune in and find out.

– See you in the encampment –