Hannah Buckendorf '11

Life is a stage for aspiring actress  

As she walked across the Boone Hall steps to receive her College of Idaho diploma in May of 2011, Hannah Buckendorf closed the curtain on a stellar C of I acting career.

Buckendorf didn’t have much of a script for what would come next, but she is determined to chase her dream of a life on stage wherever it leads.

It’s a life she’s been “obsessed with” since eliciting her first laugh as a 6-year-old extra in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  ‘

“That first time I got the audience to laugh, I just wanted to hold onto that feeling forever,” Buckendorf said. “I was hooked.”

Buckendorf’s childhood interest in theatre came from her parents, Madeline Buckendorf ’74 and Bill Buckendorf ’74. Bill taught music at Caldwell High School for 34 years and directed 28 musicals, including many with Hannah in the cast.  Upon graduating from Caldwell High in 2007, Hannah chose to attend The College of Idaho because it encouraged her to major in both music and theatre.

It was a perfect marriage.

“Working with the C of I theatre department was a dream,” Buckendorf said. “I really attribute my choice to pursue theatre as a career to my experiences at the College.” 

Buckendorf’s College roles included Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, Tess and Irene in Crazy for You, Tuzia in Lapis Blue Blood Red and Claire in A History of Freaks, an original play written by C of I alumna Katie May ’04.

As a senior, Buckendorf starred as Jean in Dead Man’s Cell Phone – written by her favorite playwright, Sarah Ruhl – and played her favorite role to date as Guildenstern in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Buckendorf also directed classmate Tom Newby’s play, Waiting Games, which qualified for the Northwest regional finals of the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival in California.  She also was awarded the College’s inaugural Scarlet Masque Award for independent creative spirit.

“Hannah was born to do this,” said C of I theatre professor Joe Golden. “She has a creative mind, she’s an excellent reactor on stage and she constantly seeks to improve her craft.

“On top of all that, the reason Hannah will be successful is that she loves the art and the storytelling more than what she gets out of it personally.”

Buckendorf secured a post-graduation internship at Seattle’s Taproot Theatre, and she hopes to continue building her resume through internships, apprenticeships and the eventual completion of a master’s degree.

Whether she makes it to the bright lights of Broadway or not, Buckendorf plans to enjoy the ride—even when it’s not glamorous or easy.

“This is what I want to do,” Buckendorf said. “I know I’ll probably be poor and the whole nine yards, but at least I’ll love life.”