By JADE SOTO
“I started acting when I was 3, so I had a lot of experience prior to [‘Welcome to Grandpaville’],” said 12-year-old Allison Bradshaw, who played Katie on the two-season, New England-based web series, “Welcome to Grandpaville,” created by Michael T. Originals.
While older ears may find the statement amusing, the words reveal a confident young woman from Southington stepping into a broader world, which describes Allison pretty well.
Her older sister, 15-year-old Sydney Bradshaw, is on a similar path. She played Carly on the show, and is playing the lead in a spinoff series. Both girls also starred in the 2015 film “Grandpaland”, which made it apparent that “Welcome to Grandpaville” was a blossoming local enterprise (it recently filmed its series finale), and these girls were near the heart of it.
Allison was originally cast as an extra on the show, but when the actress playing the character of Katie dropped out, Allison was asked to step in.
Having, among other gigs, performed in many live-theater productions and been in the Lifetime movie “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” Allison knew the ropes and was overjoyed to accept.
Sydney, who had years of experience performing in local musicals, joined the show in the second season as “Carly” and created such a strong character that, when “Welcome to Grandpaville” ended this year, she was given the lead in a spinoff webseries entitled “The Misadventures of Brooke and Carly.”
Overall, both girls speak highly of their experience on the show. The filming schedule wasn’t overwhelming and didn’t interfere much with school, and both girls feel the acting came naturally.
“I mean, I love it and a lot of it really comes easy to me,” explained Sydney. In fact, for Sydney, it was a life changing experience. It seems to have built her confidence and the team-experience allowed her to connect with people at a deep and satisfying level that is so often absent in everyday interactions. “I just really loved being a part of this entire production and it changed my life. We are not just an acting community, we are a family,” she explained.
However, as is with life, not everything is sparkly and happy in the world of acting. When asked what the hardest part of acting is, Allison explained that it’s a competitive field in which people sometimes work against each other. “In the acting world, people can be very ‘judgy’ and its hard to overcome a first impression if it’s bad.” Furthermore, she said, it can be difficult to pretend to be close to someone on-screen whom you don’t get along with in real-life.
“[It’s hard] to adjust to different social systems. You meet a lot of people and you might not click with all of them.”
But for these sisters, these negative factors are not strong enough to deter them from their dreams. Sydney is excited to star in the spin-off and is eager to see what future opportunities arise. Allison hopes to make a career out of it, dreaming of acting or film school, Broadway, and the Red Carpet.