Artist Spotlight – Tonya Broach

Tonya Broach is a performing artist, neighborhood advocate and jewelry designer. You may have seen her throughout Cleveland and Akron in shows at Beck Center for the Arts, Cassidy Theatre, Karamu House, TrueNorth Theatre and Weathervane Playhouse. She has performed in shows such as “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Dream Girls”, and appeared as Nell Carter in “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” a musical review that celebrates the music of the Harlem Renaissance and Fats Waller.

Her love of theatre and performing is apparent as she shares some of her experiences. One of the best things about being an actor, she believes, is bringing her own perspective to a character. Sometimes she’ll see something she likes about the way another actor moves or responds to a situation, but she interprets each performance in her own way. Her natural talent for performing — including a great singing voice — serves Cleveland’s theatre community well, and it’s apparent that her vivid imagination, and the ability to empathize with the characters she plays, are seamlessly knitted with that innate capability: “When you’re an actor and reading a script, you get to feel the character and do what you think they should do.”

Although she is always looking to perform both musical and dramatic theatre, Tonya has a number of other talents. As a film actress, she will make an appearance in the upcoming movie “Made in Cleveland” which showcases the talent of Clevelanders both in front and behind the scenes. The World Premiere showing will take place at Lakeshore 7 Theater on June 13th. The film was subsequently released in selected theaters across the country on June 21, 2013.

In addition, she started making jewelry as a hobby, needing a certain something to go with an outfit here and there. She shares: “When I was young, my grandmother would look at something and analyze it and say, ‘I could do this. All you do is put this piece together with this piece.’ So as I got older, I began to do the same thing.” After obtaining the material, and with some help from the Internet and the library, she began by crafting earrings. She was wearing some of her hand-crafted jewelry while volunteering for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Underground Railroad education program, when one of the other volunteers shared that a boutique in Peninsula, OH was looking for pieces to sell. She approached them with her work and they placed it in their store. She remembers, “I had that wonderful moment that artists have when selling their work for the first time!” Tonya has since grown to making her own beads out of recycled wall paper and fabrics as well as other types of jewelry using different materials.

If that weren’t enough, Tonya also has played a pivotal role in efforts to support the needs of artists in our neighborhood. From August 2012 to August 2013, Tonya served as Program Assistant, where she has helped artists navigate our range of space ownership, grant and loan opportunities. Tonya has enjoyed working on the programs, and shares that it is giving back to her own creative endeavors. She has learned about a lot of programs for artists not only in North Shore Collinwood, but throughout Cleveland. “I’m meeting a lot of artists doing similar things. It was meant to happen — me working at Northeast Shores.”