Albemarle Neighbor: Maine native finds home the day she stepped into a theater

By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

The Daily Advance

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At the age of three, Mariah Schierer’s future career path was set as she watched “Annie.”

But instead of wanting to be the young actress who played Annie, Schierer admired Carol Burnett performing as the red headed orphan’s antagonist, Miss Hannigan.

“She is just about the most brilliant actress I have ever seen,” said Schierer, who is manager of the Performing Arts Center at College of The Albemarle. “She could go from comedy to tragedy in the blink of an eye.”

Schierer participated in community theater as a teenager growing up in Maine. One of her first performances was in the chorus of a production of “Oklahoma!”

When she walked in the door of the theater she recalled sensing that, “I belong here.”

She earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from Dean College. After graduation Schierer toured with a production of “Care Bears Live.” Then she moved to Edenton to perform with the Rocky Hock Playhouse.

The classically trained lyric soprano, actress and dancer said some of her favorite performances at the Rocky House Playhouse and the COA have included portrayals of Ruth in “Under His Wings” (The Love Story of Ruth and Boaz) and Anne Shirley in “Anne of Green Gables.”

A memorable scene on stage occurred as she sang “Fire Within Me” as Josephine March in “Little Women.”

“I may be small, but I have giant plans,” were some of the lyrics in what Schierer describes as “one of the most powerful songs in the show.”

“Josephine March realizes everything she thought she was going to be isn’t what she has become, but then her epiphany is that was what she was supposed to be,” said Schierer.

Schierer said she is excited about an upcoming performance in September of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” in the Performing Arts Center at COA. Schierer is choreographing eight numbers incorporating modern dance and contemporary ballet. Schierer will also dance in the performance placing herself on the stage where she “will be most helpful to the dancers.”

Schierer said fans of C.S. Lewis will not be disappointed because the performance “is just like the book.”

Schierer said the Performing Arts Center has planned a season of productions that the public will enjoy including, “Peter Pan,” “Victory Belles Veteran’s Day Celebration,” “A Christmas Carol” and “Steel Magnolias.” A complete listing of all productions can be viewed at or call335-9050 for more information.

Schierer enjoys spending time with her husband, Nathan, whom she met while acting with him on a production at the Rocky Hock Playhouse. Schierer said Nathan is a set designer and is creating an “incredible” design for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

“One of my ultimate goals in life is to awaken peoples’ passion for the theatre arts,” said Schierer. “I want to bring that passion and joy and love of the art form to as many people as I can.”