We had the good fortune of connecting with James Brunt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi James, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
It started with words and what people would say to one another. I was the quiet kid that just listened to everything around me. I grew up in Denver, Colorado, in the Montbello/Green Valley Ranch area. I was bullied a lot in school. Everyday I would blast music through my headphones on the bus so I wouldn’t have to hear anyone. Music and poetry helped me get through my day because I truly never knew what was going to happen. There weren’t a lot of artistic influences around where I grew up. The art I grew to love wasn’t seen as a career path. Sports were very big, but art was frowned upon unless the end goal was making tons of money. If it weren’t for my parents’ love of books, movies, and writing, I wouldn’t have had much exposure to what I love to do now. I wanted to be an actor ever since the third grade. My Dad would give me movies on VHS to watch while he was working. We would talk about them when he got home. My Mom loved sci-fi movies and she gave me the Star Wars Trilogy to watch. While I watched, I remember thinking that I didn’t just want to watch Darth Vader anymore, I wanted to be Darth Vader.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Art for me has been anything that moves me to grow as a human. I started off with just writing short stories and poetry to try to help with my insomnia. I would write so much into the night that the words I put on paper would turn into full on day dreams that I would play out in front of me like a collage of madness in my head. In a way it prepared myself for my acting career. I don’t ever stop working and I make it a mission to stay booked. The road has been a struggle in some ways that have changed who I am every step of the way. Being an actor is not for the weak willed. People constantly tell me that I am not going too make any money or I’ll never be anything but a body guard or thug #1 because the color of my skin. I am always reminded that if I do not change to the person society wants me to be I will never make it. I did the whole have a “normal” job thing for as long as I could, but I would physically break my body just to have health insurance and a measly pay check and a small amount of time to still create my art. I am proud of myself for letting go of things that do not bring joy to my life and deciding to let myself be 100% with my craft. I learned that I can do anything I want. If there isn’t a gig or job for me, I am creative enough to make one and use my skills to create worlds of entertainment for the world. You can find me at open mics speaking my truth through spoken word poems, on stages, in abandoned houses and factories, and collaborating with other local creatives to bring Denver’s art scene to life. Every stage I am on, every poem I write, and every show I devise, I try to change the way people feel about themselves through art. Through each poem I shout out or each character I portray on stage, I just want people to feel something and start realizing what their dreams may be and keep moving towards them just like I do with every gig I get. If you have a dream it doesn’t matter how long it takes go after it. Never stop believing in yourself no matter what people say. Yes, I got lucky and people come along and have helped me along the way, but there is so much work that I had to do on my own, I still have my nights of insomnia, but I am grateful for where they have taken me and eager to see what else I can dream up. Finding love in myself and my art has been one hell of a process, but it’s the reason I get up ever day.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Honestly, I would just take them Downtown to walk around. Denver is such a massive place with all kinds of life on every corner. When I was in college all I did was walk around and take everything in; headphones on and dancing on the sidewalks. Then I would take them to Denver Diner because who doesn’t love diners?!?! Plus the food is comforting and one of a kind in my opinion. This place has helped me through a lot of long nights after rehearsal. I also would take them to Milk to dance the night away. The only place you can dance and truly feel on top of the world is Milk. It has a special place in my heart. Also we would just hit up South Broadway. That whole street has so many different bars and places to eat. Cant go wrong in the city!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have had a lot of support along the way that has pushed my art to the next level. I couldn’t of done anything without my family. My parents, Sophia and Anthony Brunt. and my sister Breauna Brunt have always had my back and let me express myself through my art. Shoutout to my family who is not blood but might as well be! Emmett Collins and Julien Johnson showed me the way the world works. Kyle Hurst for showed me kindness and has always been there at the drop of a hat even the simplest things. Our society sees me as dead as soon as I am able to speak my mind and these men have saved my life more than once. Martell Darell Harding helped guide me on my path to acting early on in my career because he was the first black person I saw on stage and he blew my mind with his talent and passion for the craft. Thank you to Stacey D’Angelo and Collen Mylott for showing me a whole new world of performance and opening up doors to the career path I am on. There are so many people who have helped me. But one person who has been my rock is my loving girlfriend, Kendall Thompson. From the homecooked meals on long show days, to letting me sleep in and waking me up to be on time for meetings and rehearsals. She reminds me everyday that as long as I keep pushing and keep my being myself people will see me and appreciate my work. She also helps proofread all my work to make sure I don’t sound silly. Ha! I love you, Kendall. Happy 2 years and many more to come. Some of the theater companies and theaters that have been crucial to my success are Band of Toughs (Boulder), Rainbow Militia (Denver), Control Group Productions (Lakewood), The Catamounts (Boulder), Black Actors Guild (Denver), Pandemic Collective (Denver), The Bitsy Stage (Denver), Theater 29 (Denver), Curious Theater Company (Denver), and Community College of Aurora. None of the support I receive from the the amazing people in my life goes unnoticed. Thank you all for keeping my soul alive.
Erin Dvorak Martha Wirth Nicholas Caputo Black Actors Guild me and my dog Rio Daniel Sharkey