Ask The Locals: Rory Lawrence

click to enlarge Ask The Locals: Rory Lawrence - NICOLE ABBETT
nicole abbett
Ask The Locals: Rory Lawrence

He emerged seemingly out of nowhere and founded a major event for local theater artists and aspiring actors. Originally from Mulberry, Fla., Rory Lawrence, whose age is somewhere around the 40 mark (he doesn’t wish to reveal the exact number), attended a Bible seminary and has been married to his wife, psychologist Kahlia Lawrence, for four years. “I was involved in ministry probably 10 years ago,” Lawrence says. “The weird thing is that two months after I was ordained, I met with my pastor and explained to him that I didn’t feel like I was called to be a ‘pulpit preacher.’ I never ever wanted to do that, I just wanted to learn all that I could about the Bible, but in turn, God has given me a different platform to do some positive things. I don’t like to be called religious or ‘churchy’ because I’m not. I’m simply a Christian.” Lawrence has parlayed his charismatic and empathic nature and an uncanny knack for making new connections into a new calling as a theater director, actor, playwright and guy-in-charge of the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival, now two years running. This year the festival brought in distinguished actor Harry Lennix from NBC’s The Blacklist

Why he’s so good at making connections: “Because I’m a people person. I don’t have a hidden agenda. What they see is what they get.

His wife’s assessment: “She tells me that one of the greatest things that she likes about me is that I’m humble. I can’t stand being around egotistical arrogant know-it-all people which you come by daily in the theater industry.”

His favorite spot for a quick bite: DAILY EATS.

Where he works out: POWERHOUSE GYM in Tampa’s Channel District.

His favorite spot for quiet reflection: THE RIVERWALK by the Straz Center.

Where he takes relatives visiting from out of town: “BUSCH GARDENS , because I know they would like that…”

Where they’d really want to go: “They would make me take them to the HARD ROCK CASINO [laughs].”

For a great dinner: EDDIE V’S.

And his go-to entertainment option: “Of course, anywhere that has a good play on.”

How he stays so upbeat: “I place myself around positive, goal-oriented people who know that we are here to serve people in all that we do, and not only on stage.”