About us

Braving the Bard is an online radio play series founded by Aly Marie Mazzie & Valleri Bowman. It came about in the midst of COVID-19 quarantine as a means to create new and exciting works of theater while still maintaining social distancing efforts.


What began as a few simple, fun readings amongst friends blossomed into something so much bigger. Now Aly & Val, along with a company of fabulous artists (Actors, Directors, SM's, etc), challenge the boundaries of what it means to create a fully auditory theater experience.

Together we are dedicated towards bringing classical works to life in free, accessible, BRAVE, new ways.


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From Stratford-Upon-Avon, sometime in April 1564, comes William Shakespeare. One of the world's most revolutionary poet/playwright's.  Inventor of over 1,700 words in the English language, and author of over 30 plays, Will here, is considered to be one of the most influential writers of the Elizabethan era.


But why should we perform his stuff?


Ahh, the million dollar question. I mean yeah, what's the point of keeping the work of some super old dude alive, right? Wrong! There's something within the work of Shakespeare's that seems to transcend beyond his time and into ours. His tangible sense of writing both reality (and the ethereal) paints a picture of times far different from our own, while still speaking to experiences we still go through today. This universality  and humanity is something we, here at BTB, are eager to explore. 


Is Shakespeare only meant for scholars?

...ABSOLUTELY NOT! Shakespeare wrote FOR the middle class. He wrote to appeal to the experiences of all people (not just the elite); so why do we hold such an elitist attitude when approaching it?

William Shakespear

Meet The Team

Annaliese Loxton is a freelance theater director & writer based out of the midwest. Her previous directing credits include: Julius Caesar, Pericles: Prince of Tyre (Braving The Bard), Songs for A New World (The Gathering), Ordinary Days (Ball State University), Bravo!, Goodmen's Angels (Discovery New Works Festival. She is a member of the new musical theater cohort at the Institute of American Musical Theater, working on creating new and inclusive musicals. Annaleise previously received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatrical Direction, Video production, and a minor in new works for the stage. She is passionate for her love of the arts and is dedicated to making theater accessible for all.

Associate Artistic Director/Actress/Director


Aly Marie Mazzie is an NYC/Philly based musical theater actress, singer, & theater artist. After falling head over heels in love with the theater at age 8, she made it her prerogative to dedicate her life to telling stories and spreading the magic of theater to others. She is passionate about creating brave, exciting, ACCESSIBLE works of theater for all! 


 Musical theater alum of A. W. Dreyfoos School for The Arts and rising senior B.F.A Musical Theater @ The University of The Arts. When she is not performing, producing, or directing you can catch her reading witchy novels, hiking local mountain trails, or taking silly snapchat stories of her pets

Founder/Co-artistic director/ Actress


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Founder/Co-artistic director/ Actress

Valleri Bowman is a 2020 graduate of Purdue University Fort Wayne, where she earned her theatre degree with emphases in acting and directing. She has a particular passion for movement and choreography work, and has been reading Shakespeare since she was a kid performing shows in her playroom. She also helped found the theatre department at her high school, and theatre because a stable and passionate place for her to express herself ever since. In her free time, Valleri loves roller skating, reading Harry Potter, and finding new ways to create an adventure.

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Annaleise Loxton

Valleri Bowman

Aly Marie Mazzie

Christine DiNapoli

Social Media Coordinator/manager

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Christine DiNapoli is a New Jersey native who fell in love with the theatre during her first performance at the age of 7. A former professional stage manager, Christine is thrilled to use her love of Shakespeare to contribute to Braving the Bard’s mission of producing accessible theatre. Christine will graduate from Rutgers University in May 2021 with degrees in Communication and English as well as a minor in Italian. In her spare time, you can find Christine at the beach or experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. 

The Producers

Madison Claus

Madison Claus (BFA, Musical Theater - University of the Arts) is a performer and theater artist based in Philadelphia. She is an Associate Artistic Director/Lead Experience Architect with REAL Immersive, and is a founding member of The Comet Collective. Favorite performance credits include: Marie Christine (UArts, dir. Taibi Magar); Edison (Prague Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe). Directing credits include: What Life Gives You (REAL Immersive); Lockhardt (asst. dir., Philly Fringe). Madison is a fan of Shakespeare, baking, and consuming coffee. Her inquisitive nature helps create a focused yet adventurous rehearsal process, and she invites everyone to dig into material with hunger and passion.


Tom England


Tom England is a theatre artist based out of Philadelphia, PA who has been writing and producing his own works throughout Philadelphia and New York.  Tom’s recent projects include:  Lockhardt (Philadelphia Fringe Festival, 2018), White Gloves, (Shoebox Festival, Philadelphia, PA), UNITED (Philadelphia Fringe Festival, 2017), Mr. Lockhardt (Take Ten Off-Broadway Festival, New York, NY, first runner-up Best Play). Tom has received training from PlayPenn Education, Applied Mechanics, Half Straddle, Theatre Exile, Upright Citizens Brigade, Philadelphia Improv Theatre and Liberty Improv Theater.

Mitchell Hansen

Mitchell Hansen (BFA, Theatre Arts - University of the Arts) is a Philadelphia based actor, director, podcaster, dungeon master, painter, and ...oh, yes! Producer! Mitchell is a strong-willed and vivacious collaborator with an urge to tell stories that help us uncover what it means to truly be human. With a background in Shakespeare and an affinity for Gaming and Sound Design, Mitchell brings a heightened sense of play to everything he does. Previous productions include Lockhardt (2018 Fringe at the Arden), Threepenny Opera (UArts in collaboration with Alexander Mihail), Honk! Jr. (Walnut Street Theatre), Twelfth Night (UArts in collaboration with Matt Pfeiffer) and more. He is the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Game Design at REAL Immersive, and a Founding Co-Artistic Director at The Comet Collective. Need to get in touch? Shoot him an email at Mitchell.d.hansen@gmail.com, go to the aforementioned companies websites, or, simply write "Hamlet" 3 times in a leather-bound journal and wait for him to appear. He gives special "Thanks, thanks, and ever thanks" (Bonus points if you know the play) to his family, his partner, and the company; for, without them, none of this would be possible.


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