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Lauren Van Hemert

When she founded RDU On Stage (rduonstage.com) in January of 2019, editor Lauren Van Hemert envisioned it as a conventional media hub of the Triangle theater community – covering the local scene with reviews, features, interviews, and a podcast. It was always a lot more about community than criticism and became even more so due to events. An alumnus of Indiana University, Van Hemert earned a journalism degree with minors in theater and Spanish, going to work as a news writer. But she never imagined she’d be able to combine her different passions until seeing an ad several years ago in Broadway World, which was looking for a regional contributing editor in Raleigh. Getting to go to the theater and then talk and write about it was a dream come true. It also led to Van Hemert starting RDU On Stage, with a tight local focus. And while the timing seems unfortunate with the pandemic making live theater impossible, RDU On Stage has figuratively “kept the theater doors open” by becoming a key online gathering spot. In fact, RDU on Stage’s audience has widened beyond the Triangle throughout the pandemic that in April 2021, Van Hemert re-branded and became Beltline to Broadway. Van Hemert is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and Broadway Makers Alliance. “I love the arts, and going to the theater is my sanctuary space,” says Van Hemert. “I’m not an actor or a performer, but I am a writer, reporter, journalist. Sharing stories with this community is exciting. Especially right now, when we’re connecting a seemingly disconnected world.”

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