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Bella Voce: Payton Anderson '13

Bella Voce: Payton Anderson '13

Payton Anderson '13 knows the power of voice. She has used hers to entertain at Holy Innocents' Episcopal School and beyond, to educate as a Pre-K teacher at the Atlanta Speech School and for work as an actor and as voice talent. 

As an Alpha-Omega graduate of HIES, Ms. Anderson found her place on stage with the theatre department starting in fifth grade. "I found the opportunity to express myself in ways I hadn't before," she said. "We always had a lot of fun and it was a very supportive environment." 

She performed in nearly every play and musical and also played violin from third grade through twelfth grade. 

In Dr. Christopher Swann's English classes in the Upper School, she found a passion for the works of Shakespeare. That enthusiasm carried into college, where she majored in English literature and theater at Florida State University. One of her professors was Dr. Gary Taylor, a renowned author and book editor of several works about Shakespeare. 

Pursuing a double major to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree instead of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree allowed Ms. Anderson to study multiple interests at the same time. 

"I loved FSU, how big it was and the professors there," she said. "They were amazing and so gifted." 

She received a partial scholarship and was able to apply all the AP class credits she earned at HIES toward general education and required courses at FSU. After graduation, she returned to Atlanta and started an acting apprenticeship with the Atlanta Shakespeare Company. She performed in several plays there and with the Prairie Fire Children's Theatre and the National Theatre for Children, a traveling theater program. In 2021, she began work at the Atlanta Speech School as an assistant Pre-K teacher, a role she loves. 

During 2020, Ms. Anderson completed a training course specific to voiceovers and has since found opportunities for voice work. She has lent her talent to commercial advertisements for The Home Depot and Dodge trucks. She is in the process of building a studio in her East Point home with plans to pursue additional voiceover work as well as potential roles in the growing film and TV industry in Georgia.

"There is a huge spectrum between Hollywood star and starving artist," she explained. "There are lots of opportunities to be a working actor and live a well-rounded life with work that is fulfilling." 

On March 23, Ms. Anderson was invited to speak at a lunch-n-learn program for HIES Upper School students interested in studying performing arts in college, again lending her voice and knowledge to the Golden Bear community. She talked about her own college experience and the pressure often associated with performing.  

"Give yourself permission to explore new things and don't take it too seriously," she said. "Be open to new people and new experiences and do what makes you happy."  

— Christina Mimms