No Joke: Audrey Stanfield Bringing Audiences to Tears in Big Apple

Stanfield Audrey cropped

Audrey Stanfield

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 13, 2015 — Southeast Missouri State University alumna Audrey Stanfield of New York City, formerly of Cape Girardeau, has guests rolling in the aisles when she performs with the Maude Team at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) theatre in New York City.

Audrey is a member of the Maude Team Goodbye Handsome, a sketch comedy group that has honed the talents of many Saturday Night Live (SNL) alumni as well as many television and movie stars.  She is currently rostered and performs “Maude Night” at the New York City UCB Chelsea Theatre. She also co-hosts the UCB character open-mic, “Don’t Be Yourself.”

“On average, 500 plus actors submit to be on a Maude Team every year. The artistic director generally calls back around half of them for in-person auditions, and then half for a second callback before announcing new teams.  Many people are on Maude Teams for years before going on to do something else in the industry (SNL, television, movies, etc…). I auditioned two years in a row before being put on a team my third year,” she said. “I like making people laugh. I like doing things on stage that make people nervous, pushing boundaries and making people question why it is they are laughing in the first place.”

At Southeast, Audrey earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting and soon after moved her talents to New York City. She credits Southeast and the staff here for making her who she is today.

“The Department of Theatre and Dance was incredibly attentive to my needs as a wide-eyed performer. They were super supportive and encouraging when it came to all aspects of my education,” she said.  “Kenn Stilson was the first to push me towards applying for the summer intensive I did in NYC the summer of my junior year. The (considerably smaller) staff in the department at the time I attended really shaped me into the performer and woman I am today. I’m forever grateful.”

She went on to study Shakespeare and contemporary theatre at the Hagen-Berghof Studio in New York City for the first two years, continuing to perfect her craft today and producing classic and original works on stage.

“I took an on-camera commercial workshop with a casting director who told me I had good comedic timing and should look into The Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center to hone those skills,” she said. “I signed up for an Improvisation 101 class the next day and completed all levels of their improv courses within a year. During this time I started doing characters and impressions and writing sketches for the internet, and my primary goal then became to get on a Maude Team (house sketch team) at the UCB Theatre.”

She recently reflected on the start she got at Southeast.

“I initially chose Southeast for its affordability and accessibility to my home in Cape Girardeau,” she says. “Learning about the River Campus opening during my freshman year only propelled me to stay.”

Her favorite memories at Southeast deal with friends and the experiences she had in theatre.

“I had a strong group of friends in college I can still call some of my closest friends on earth. It really helps to have a support system outside of school you can just be ridiculous around,” she says. “The performances I did on the Flex Theatre remain my favorite. ‘Rumors’ and ‘Crimes of the Heart’ were two of my favorite roles, probably because they were characters that gave me the most opportunity to make people laugh. There’s nothing better than bringing an audience to tears while doing something insane on stage, and it’s a hell of a lot harder to make people laugh than to make them cry for whatever reason.”

In her free time, Audrey is still working to entertain her and others.

“I’m currently working on writing a one-woman show to perform around the city. In my off-time (which is few and far between), I like playing PlayStation 4 and GameCube on my couch with a bag of chips and hummus,” she says. “It’s the little things that become absolute bliss the older you get. College was literally a walk in the park compared to the real-world, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

To Southeast students she offers this advice:

“Don’t let anyone tell you your dream is too far-fetched. I thankfully have a very supportive family when it comes to my goals as a performer, but people can be close-minded; especially when it comes to aspiring to do things they can’t comprehend.  Half of my family has no concept of the busy life I lead in NYC, but they know I am doing what I love and that’s all that matters to them,” she said. “Don’t surround yourself with poisonous people – surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.

“Above all, don’t be lazy and entitled. You are entitled to nothing in this world except the ability to make yourself happy and successful. I sound like a grandpa when I say this, but I know it firsthand,” she says. “You have to work your butt off for what you want, and you can achieve your goals, but it shouldn’t and won’t come in the blink of an eye. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away. I’ll be famous one day, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t had to bartend late-nights, do gigs for free, cry over not being cast in something, or gone broke and had to beg my landlord to extend my rent due-date before. Make mistakes. Fail sometimes. It’s worth it.”