Brenda Jean Foley

Actress, writer, non-profit co-founder, wife and mother: Brenda is an extremely busy person. Brenda Jean Foley was born in Michigan. But, since her father was a diplomat for the state department, she actually didn’t grow up there but lived in Switzerland, Canada and Washington D.C. before returning to Michigan to earn her BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan. She has performed off-Broadway, on tour, in regional theatre, and internationally, even having a stint working in a Broadway revue in Tokyo Disney.  Brenda moved to Tempe from New York City three years ago When her husband Brian was accepted into the MFA Directing program at ASU. Before moving to Arizona she founded a theatre company, the Cockeyed Optimists, in NYC. Foley is also a writer of plays and screenplays and she wrote the book and contributed lyrics to an original musical, To Find Happy, which was part of the Emerging Artists Theatre New Works Festival in 2013. Brenda has performed locally with iTheatre Collaborative  (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark and Love Disorder), and this season starred in Carousel at  Mesa Encore Theatre, also appearing there last season in both August: Osage County and The Full Monty, which earned her an  ariZoni nomination. She played Maria in the Don Bluth Front Row Theatre’s production of The Sound of Music and participated in various readings with Class 6 Theatre.  She also started a popular monthly play-reading series with MET and recently formed The Bridge Initiative: Women in Arizona Theatre ( with Tracy Liz Miller and Lizz Reeves Fidler. The goal of The Bridge Initiative is to identify and empower female artists in the Southwest region while also bridging the gap between academia and the professional world and encouraging students to envision a clearer path To becoming lifelong artists. The Bridge Initiative is in the middle of their Spring events, with a staged production of Anatomy of A Hug opening tomorrow night and running through Sunday, and a reading of Magdalena’s Crossing on Sunday Night.