Jack's Personal History

Jack Bradford, the son of Gerald and Rose Bradford was born in 1959 at Milton Florida USA. He grew up with 7 siblings from San Diego to Monterey to Honolulu to Washington DC to Kailua Hawaii to Virginia Beach to San Diego to Riverton Wyoming to Cripple Creek Colorado to Fairborn Ohio and back to San Diego again, before moving to Australia in 1986 to get married and start a family. Jack's Dad was a Navy Captain and so he was on the move.

His longest stop in the U.S. was from 1971-1979, with his Jr. High and High School years at Monte Vista H.S. where he developed his vocal and dramatic talents under the instruction of Bruce Beckman and Ron Ray in various theatre productions. These included "Little Mary Sunshine" (1974), "The Boyfriend" (1975), Jesus in "Godspell" with Kathy Najimy - thanks to Steve Gunderson who left the role for professional work at Helix (1975), "Roar of the Greasepaint" (1976), and "Godspell" with Kathy Najimy again (1977). Jack's first theatre job was teaching at San Diego Jr. Theatre. In 1977 he also won critical mention in the Old Globe Audition Festival performing monologes from "Hamlet" and "Tamburlaine the Great" (Marlowe).

Jack started theatre and music classes at Grossmont College where he performed in "Equus" winning a nomination in the National College Theatre Competition. He then performed in "Kiss Me Kate", "How to Succeed.." and "Sweet Charity" and acted under the tutelage of San Diego Director Martin Garrish. Jack realised that he needed to get serious about his education so he moved to Central Wyoming College where he completed an Associate of Arts Degree in theatre and interpersonal communication in 1980 at the top of his class. Jack performed leading roles in "Camelot" "Butterflies are Free" and "Zoo Story" as well as continuing his work in music, with accapella, classical and contemporary vocal groups and studying voice. Jack also wrote and starred in "All The World's a Stage" about aliens trying to get a grip on Shakespeare.

In 1980 Jack performed at the Cripple Creek Summerstock production of "My Partner" before beginning his studies at Antioch University where he co-produced "Godspell" with David Riva (Marlene Dietrich's grandson) and was invited by Arthur Lithgow to be the Assistant Director for the Antioch Shakespeare Festival. Jack then moved to North Carolina where he began working as a vocalist on the PTL Television Network. At PTL, Jack also worked professionally as an actor as well as studying music under the direction of Al and Pat Moerhing (Charlotte Philharmonic).

In 1983 Jack moved back to Fairborn Ohio where he finished his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre while performing such plays as "Waiting for Lefty", "Amadeus" under the direction of Bob Hetherington and "Equus" with Tony Award winner George Grizzard. Jack also directed community productions of "Annie", "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" as well as performing in "Kiss Me Kate", "Two by Two", "Royal Hunt of the Sun" and "Antigone" amongst other plays.

Jack was accepted into the MFA program at Arizona University at Tucson (Bob Burroughs) but chose to remain in Australia where he had met his wife to be, Deborah Onions while he was on a visit from March to November 1986. Jack came back to the U.S. to prepare for the wedding and worked for Merlin Carothers at the "Foundation of Praise" in Escondido California.

Jack and Debbie were married on April 4th 1987 and began pastoring work with the Assemblies of God in Glen Innes NSW as a youth worker and as the creative ministries director at a church in North Brisbane where Zac was born on May 14th 1988. Less than a year later with the help of NSW Asst. Superintendent John Wilkinson, Jack was recommended for his first full-time assistant pastorate at Ballarat. Jack's love for the arts was too great and he landed the part of Jesus in "Godspell" again at the Ballarat Light Opera Company. This production earned the cast critical acclaim as well as the "Best Production of 1989" from over 411 productions at the "Victoria Theatre Awards".

John Wilkinson called Jack back up to Glen Innes (Population 6,000) to be the Senior Pastor of the Christian Praise Centre from 1989 to 1993. During this time two more sons were born; Jacob was born in Armidale in 1990 and Jesse in Glen Innes in 1992. Jack wrote many songs as well as some dramatic skits for church use but longed for a larger city with more opportunity for developing his love in the performing arts.

In 1993, Jack, Debbie and the boys moved to Brisbane, a city of 1 million people where Jack began the The Solid Rock Church (1993-1999). During this time the boys grew and Jack and Debbie were guest lecturers at Christian based arts seminars and festivals. However in 1995 Jack re-discovered Harvest Rain Theatre Company where he was cast in the role of Sancho in "Man of La Mancha" opposite Chris Elliot and Simone de Haas. Jack then directed the HRTC production of "Godspell" (1996) where he also played Jesus to packed houses and critical acclaim. Jack was invited to become a lecturer at Jubilee International College where he helped form the performing arts course from 1996-1999. Jack continued his work with HRTC playing Nicely Nicely in "Guys and Dolls" (1998) and directing "The Importance of Being Earnest" (1999) as part of his Masters Thesis on the "Pace and Rhythm of The Importance of Being Earnest in Significant Historical Productions", a Thesis which was then conferred by Australian Catholic University in 2001.

Jack and Debbie left their work at The Solid Rock Church in December 1999 and spent the millennial year on sabbatical in the U.S. for 8 months before returning to Brisbane where Debbie became one of three pianists accepted into the Queensland Conservatorium (Jazz Piano). At this time Jack and Debbie founded Brisbane Junior Theatre from blueprints they had drawn up in 1996. They partnered with Harvest Rain Theatre Company in BJT's first two productions before branching out on their own with regular holiday school productions and after school classes.

From 2001 to 2017 BJT has produced "Pirates of Penzance" four times, "H.M.S. Pinafore" twice, "The Mikado", "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" four times, "Aladdin" three times, "Guys and Dolls" three times, "Annie" three times, "The Music Man" twice, "Fiddler on the Roof" three times, "The King and I" twice, "Oklahoma" twice, "Mulan" twice, "Alice in Wonderland" twice, "Beauty and the Beast" twice, "Thoroughly Modern Millie" twice, "Sound of Music" twice, "Cinderella", "Into the Woods", "Once Upon a Mattress", "High School Musical", "High School Musical 2", "Seussical", "State Fair", "Les Miserables", "Honk", "13", "Godspell", "The Little Mermaid", "Peter Pan", "Hairspray", "Wizard of Oz", "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown", "Legally Blonde", "My Son Pinocchio", "Singing in the Rain", "Shrek" and four week-long Arts-Train School programs.

Debbie continued study at the Conservatorium earning a Bachelor of Music in 2003. She has continued as BJT's primary music director as well as developing her own credibility as one of Brisbane's finest contemporary piano and voice teachers for children and adults.

Upon Jack's return to Brisbane in 2000 he began working as a children's worker at a local church while also lecturing in Theatre History, Literature and Acting at Heritage College. Theatrically, Jack directed professional productions of HRTC's "Godspell" (2000) and "Oliver" (2001) with David Clendinning. Jack then won critical acclaim and the 2002 4MBS Performance Award for "Best Actor in a Musical" for his role of Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables". Jack then played Harold Hill in a local production of "The Music Man (2002). In 2003 Jack began pastoral work in the area of Creative Arts for a local Baptist church developing children's theatre and classes. In early 2004 he directed a well reviewed "West Side Story" at Savoyards and in June of 2004 he directed a Matilda Award winning premiere production of "Wit", the 1999 Pulitizer Prize Winner in Drama. Jack also re-aquainted himself with HRTC performing the role of Teddy in "Arsenic and Old Lace" (2004). In 2005 Jack again won critical acclaim for playing Valjean in the Ignatians sold out production of "Les Miserables" under the direction of Simone de Haas, then launched Starlight Theatre in April 2006 with his co-production of the Queensland premiere of "Rent" at Qld University's Schonell Theatre. In 2007 plans emerged for Starlight's and Brisbane Junior Theatre's development of a new theatre space — Centre Stage Theatre at 25 Quarry Street Spring Hill Qld 4000 — a cooperative not-for-profit theatre company. The first season of eight productions then opened in 2008 consisting of 4 classic plays, 2 contemporary classics and 2 musicals.

Jack and Debbie are currently planning the 2017 season for Brisbane Jr. Theatre productions and classes. Since 2006, Jack and Debbie have embarked on an exciting full-time effort in developing performance and training projects in the performing arts world of Brisbane and beyond. Jack is continuing to develop credibility as an artistic director for both Brisbane Junior Theatre and Starlight Musical Theatre and has a great desire to establish deep roots in the Queensland Theatre community and see it grow and expand beyond imagination by investing theatrical skill and passing on vision and passion for performing to the next generation of Queenslanders. Queensland has great potential for more professional theatre companies. Cities like Vancouver, Canada and Minneapolis in the U.S. as well as regional centres in England such as Birmingham have more than 10 times the number of professional arts companies that Brisbane has. I believe we must continue to nurture and educate Queensland’s sport’s loving culture to invest time and money into the performing arts, but we also have to train up a whole new generation of Queenslanders to believe that nothing is impossible.

** End of Personal History