Ferrum College Alumnus Dominates the Spotlight: Meet Jade Jones

FERRUM, VA, April 29, 2024 – On Wednesday, April 24, Ferrum College alumnus Jade Jones performed for students, faculty, and staff in the Rex Stephenson Theatre.

They performed a variety of songs, and took questions throughout the performance about their time at Ferrum and the development of their career. “Ferrum has always been a second home to me. My sister also graduated from here, so it’s always been in my family. I’m excited to be back since this is where I established myself as a performer,” Jones said.

First year Music student Django Burgess was invited to accompany them on guitar for select songs including Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”. Burgess was excited to be playing with them. “I feel very honored that I was asked to accompany them for this. It was a wonderful experience for me. Being a professional musician, I know that I’ll encounter situations like this where I have to learn material before getting together with the performer. We ran through the songs a few times before, and it was great,” Burgess said.

Jones has been singing and performing for their entire life due to music being in their family. They started singing in the church choir, but learned about different types of music through their music education at Ferrum College and specifically their time with vocal instructor Emily Blankenship-Tucker. “I don’t think I’d be as well-rounded as an artist and performer if it wasn’t for her. I was able to embrace the uniqueness of my voice,” Jones said.

Jones also reflected on playing “Belle” at the Olney Theatre, since it was a defining role in their career. “It was done at a small regional theatre in Maryland, but it got international recognition. It was a really poignant moment for me because I didn’t realize how important it was for people to see themselves represented on stage. It really meant a lot for them, but at first, for me, it was just a job, but it turned into something really special,” Jones explained.

Jones never thought that they would go on to work professionally. “Being successful as a performer never crossed my mind because there were so few actors and performers in mainstream media that looked like me. I’ve always loved education, so I thought I’d be a theatre teacher since I had a great high school experience. It wasn’t until I graduated that I started looking at masters teaching programs, and I needed more experience. I auditioned for my first professional show, and my career took off from there. It was slow, but it was steady,” Jones shared.

Jones also spoke about not having a “dream role” like other actors might. “I don’t think the role has been written yet. People ask me that question all of the time, and I’ve gotten to play so many roles already. I live in New York City now, and I’m always working on new developments, new plays and new musicals, and there’s always new talent coming,” they said.

Jones is open to doing TV and movies if the role is right for them. “I audition for TV and movies all the time. There is a difference, but I would definitely do it,” Jones said.

Blankenship-Tucker was so happy to have Jones back on campus. “It feels so normal and wonderful to have Jade here. It just feels like Jade is home. I’m also very proud of the work that they’ve done, and I enjoy watching them so much. I’m grateful that our students get to see and hear Jade’s perspective as a performer because they don’t know what to expect, but Jade has been in their position before. I’m very proud of them,” she expressed.###
ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Rebecca Crocker Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Ferrum College [email protected]
Emily Blankenship-Tucker Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Director of Orchestra Appalachia Ferrum College [email protected]
More About Jade Jones: Jones is a renowned actor who has appeared in the Off-Broadway revival of “Vanities”. They gained widespread recognition for their performance as “Belle” in the Olney Theatre’s production of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. Jones was also featured on ABC 20/20’s 25th anniversary Cinderella reunion special, along with Billy Porter and Todrick Hall. They have been highlighted in various publications such as Playbill, MSNBC, and People magazine. Jones has performed at prestigious venues such as the historic Howard Theater in Washington DC, Sony Hall in New York City, and most recently at The MUNY in St. Louis. In their most recent performance, they played the role of Mrs. Corry in Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins, starring Corbin Bleu and Jeanna de Waal. Jones obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Ferrum College in 2013. Apart from acting, they are also a talented musician whose original music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud under the name Litty Official.

More About Ferrum College: Ferrum College is a private, United Methodist-affiliated, liberal arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Ferrum, VA. The Ferrum experience is rich with opportunities for internships; hands-on learning; research and study-abroad opportunities as a first-year student and beyond; and excellent financial aid and scholarship packages. Ferrum College is also the first and only higher education institution in Virginia to extend the Ferrum Promise, guaranteeing that students transferring to the College with an appropriate associate’s degree will graduate with a four-year degree within two years of transfer. Last Spring, Ferrum announced The Panther Promise offering free tuition to qualifying Virginia students.