Harlingen conservatory star awarded grant to pursue advanced theater studies

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Adrianna Rodriguez, a junior at Harlingen South High School, was awarded a grant for advanced theater studies. (Courtesy Photo)

HARLINGEN — There’s a power in her movements and a confidence in her speech and a physical dexterity in her performances which capture the attentions of her audiences.

Now Adrianna Rodriguez has captured the notice of an audience significantly different from those she has entertained at the Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory.

That audience — the Texas Cultural Trust and the Texas Commission of the Arts — has just awarded $10,000 grants to 15 students from across Texas to pursue advanced studies in their respective disciplines.

And Adrianna is one of them.

“I am very grateful to have this opportunity,” said the 17-year-old actress and Harlingen High School South junior.

“The fact that people believe in me enough to help me pursue my passion in the arts has just been a gratifying experience,” she said.

The grant will be divided in two increments of $5,000 to explore more fully her passion for the stage over two summers.

With excitement grand and radiant, she spoke about the Circle in the Square Theater and her application for its summer program.

“I hopefully will get it,” she said with assurance.

“I just auditioned,” she continued. “With that money I will be able to put it towards tuition and housing, because it is in New York.”

She beamed and smiled more brightly at the prospect of studying in New York, a place she has never before visited.

“I would get to travel to New York and hopefully get to learn from the faculty at the Circle of the Square Theater School,” she continued. “It’s the only Conservatory that’s taking place in a Broadway theater. So, I will actually get to perform in a Broadway theater where Broadway shows have taken place.”

Adrianna has been a regular presence for quite some years in the Harlingen school district’s theater scene as well as its speech and drama programs. But there is nothing regular or ordinary about her performances.

“I met Adrianna in the eighth grade when I was judging her work in speech and debate,” said Eddy Cavazos, director of theater and speech at Harlingen South.

Adrianna Rodriguez, a junior at Harlingen South High School, was awarded a grant for advanced theater studies. (Courtesy Photo)

“I have been a fan of hers ever since, and I was her teacher and director since her freshman year,” Cavazos said. “I think something that sets her apart is not only does she care about the craft, but she continues to want to get better.”

This is crucial to anyone desiring a career in the arts.

“You have to advocate for yourself,” he said. “You have to seek ways to enhance your skill set.”

And certainly, Adrianna has sought continuously those opportunities to advance her craft and her future. She showed that most recently in her application for the grant. But that drive and that initiative have been present throughout her performance career in Harlingen schools.

Previous articles tell stories of Adrianna in her younger years already grabbing attention with her dashing performances both on stage and off. At age 14, she had already won state champion for three years in a row for Speech, Drama and Debate. She had just been cast in the Conservatory’s production of “Legally Blonde.”

“I recently got cast as Vivian,” said the 14-year-old Adrianna. “She’s a big role for me, and I’m really happy to be playing her.”

What stood out even then for Adrianna’s performance was a voice of maturity, well-matched with her understanding of the graver matters of the heart.

And this week at age 17 she spoke of her new endeavors in film.

“I’ve started to delve into film, so I made a UIL short film with one of my friends over winter break,” she said. “I’ve just been trying to put myself out there, truthfully, and I’ve been just trying to get in front of a camera and make things. I’m currently in the process of writing a new short film.”

And the journey continues …