Braden Austin '16

Braden Austin '16

Braden Austin '16, pictured during a performance of "Sylvia" for the Graceland University Theatre Department.

Braden Austin ‘16, a renowned performer in the Graceland Theatre Department, has had an adventure en route to Graceland University. Although Graceland has been in his family – grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles – it wasn’t Braden’s first choice.

Braden was one of the lucky few freshmen to beat out over a thousand audition participants for a Musical Theatre Program at a larger university, however, it wasn’t all that he had hoped it would be. At a second college he studied vocal performance, but couldn’t find his niche there either. He landed back at home, feeling discouraged, and it was then that he decided to consider Graceland University. He recalled how much his family always praised Graceland for its engaging and friendly environment, and with recent Shaw Center renovations, including vast improvements to theatre facilities, Braden determined it was time to give it a try.

After a talk with his dad about the possibility of attending Graceland, in less than 24 hours he mailed his transcripts, was registered and had spoken with Tracy Salter, Theatre Department Coordinator, to audition for a theatre scholarship. Braden was offered the theatre scholarship, and received an academic scholarship as well!
“Braden has really made his mark with our theatre department,” commented Tracy Salter. “He is extremely talented and has been a joy to work with in several different roles. I look forward to his continued success on stage.”
At Graceland, Braden landed the lead role in "Little Shop of Horrors" and has been on the stage ever since. It took him a while to get here but, like his other family members, he has made his own “Graceland Experience.”

Braden shares, “I never really liked school until I started attending Graceland. I have thoroughly enjoyed taking Macro and Micro Economics, even though my major is theatre and I am going to see if I can minor in business or economics before I graduate. I couldn't be happier. I love it here … Graceland saved my life.”