Hopkinton POS

HCA Spotlight Series Student


 HCA Spotlight
 Learn more about the people who call the HCA 'home'.

Dawn Anderson, Enter Stage Left Theater founder, Actor, Director, Artist, Supporter

Please share how you "found" the HCA.  How and why did you choose to become involved? I was part of the team that gave birth to the HCA back in 2010. At that time, the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) made up the visual/fine arts component and Enter Stage Left (ESL) made up the performance art side.  I was the financial manager for ESL. The CAA had some seed money, but not enough programming to be sustainable. ESL had programming, but no seed money. We formed the HCA using the CAA's seed money, and by transferring some programming from ESL to add to the CAA's programming, the HCA had the components to be a new organization. My job then became the financial manager/treasurer for both ESL and HCA. As part of that, I created and filed the formative documents to establish the HCA as an official non-profit organization. The other part of my job was to ensure that both the HCA and ESL could remain viable and grow.

Please tell me a story about your "HCA moment" - when you think of the HCA, what comes to mind? For me, the HCA moment was a meeting in the farmhouse between the CAA and ESL boards back in 2010. At the meeting Kris Waldman, then the new president of the CAA, presented what would become the HCA logo - the barn and silo. That, to me, was the symbol of its birth.

As an actor, why do you think spaces like the HCA are important for communities?  As an actor, director, teacher, and visual artist myself, I see the HCA as a gathering place for artistic expression and exploration. Programs not only provide a means for people to develop their talents and skills, but art shows and performances provide a means for folks to share them.

What has been your most fulfilling directorial  and/or acting experience at HCA?  Why? I have two - one was the development of the video production education programming that was first part of ESL's programming, and then became part of the HCA's. Video production is a popular art form, and for the HCA to be able to offer classes in this area helps to add to the diversity of their programming. The other was the painting of the seascape on the old out buildings (in the days before the beautiful new building was constructed) for the summer production of Twelfth Night. I enjoy set and costume design as much as acting and directing (sometimes more), and that was probably the biggest scene I had painted (a shout out to the teens that volunteered to paint the background for me, as well).

Your family have been wonderful supporters.  Why do you choose to support the HCA theater community? I grew up in Hopkinton and was one of the ESL "originals" (Kelly Grill, Paul Champlin, Mary Scarlata-Rowe, me). HCA to me is an expansion of the arts community - encapsulating many art forms. Even though I have not been able to be actively involved in the past few years, the fact that there is always activity at the HCA, even through the pandemic, tells me that this is a valuable asset to the community that should and will be supported.

You are one of ESL Theater founders.  Did you ever imagine it would grow to what it is today? I honestly did not. This was Kelly's vision from the start, and I couldn't be more proud of anyone for realizing that vision than I am of Kelly.



Abby McFarland, student


Where do you live? I live right here in Hopkinton.

What attracted you to get involved at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts?  Before the HCA, I had done a little theater here and there and was very envious of my friends who were constantly doing plays, musicals, and classes at the HCA. The sense of excitement they always gave when they described their experiences is what really  made me want to join in. I started going to the HCA frequently when I was in the sixth grade.

How have you seen yourself grow as an artist since participating in HCA classes and performances? I have definitely seen myself seen myself grow as an artist at the HCA. Everyone there is so helpful and really tries to get to know you. They get to know how you learn and can really explain things to you in a way you can understand. Between dance, acting, and violin lessons at the HCA, I've become a much more well rounded artist than before.

What value do you think the HCA brings to the region? The HCA brings so many more artistic opportunities to all kinds of students in the MetroWest area. In every class I enroll in, there's new people to meet and befriend.

What is your fondest memory at the HCA? My fondest memory at the HCA is all the people I've met there. Before the HCA, I wouldn't have exactly called myself a social butterfly. But after my last play, I remember just crying with all the cast because that was quite possibly the last time we would see each other. The community at the HCA is something so special. It's near and dear to my heart.

Have you participated in any of the new online classes? I participated in a few online classes over the pandemic. The instructors were very resourceful and smart in adapting their programs to be remote friendly, and I think I gained as much from them as I would've in person.

What suprises you most about the Hopkinton Center for the Arts? The thing that suprises me the most about HCA is that there's always a new class for me to try. A new type of dance, new writing or camera opportunity, you name it. There's a diverse and constantly changing program of opportunities for every student.


Andrew Desmarais, student, recently seen in HCA's The Nutcracker Ballet

Tell us about yourself? My name is Andrew Desmarais and I'm a Junior at Marlborough High School. I'm an Eagle Scout in Troop 2 Marlborough, and really enjoy Scouting. For ten years, I practiced the Korean martial art of Taekwondo, starting when I was only four years old. I achieved my Second Degree Black Belt and the martial art has taught me some important life lessons like perserverance and integrity. I haven't ever really danced before, but I was in last year's Nutcracker production as Dr. Stahlbaum and Taekwondo taught me how to control my body.

How did you first get involved with the HCA's dance program? What was the experience like for you? My school friend Sarah, who dances at the HCA, asked if I would join the 2019 Nutcracker show. I agreed, and we went to rehearsals where I met everyone who was part of the production. It was an amazing experience and I won't forget it. Then at the cast party, some of the other dancers invited me to try ballet. Theresa Kniaz, one of the instructors, said that she was teaching a beginners class. I decided to give it a shot and here I am now! I really like it and I feel proud to be dancing. Everyone at the HCA has been so nice and welcoming to me and that's made the experience even better.


How have you grown as a dancer this past year? I started dancing this January and I've learned quite a lot already. I've learned many ballet techniques and exercises since I started, and I feel proud of that. My balance, strength, and coordination have improved as well, since they're an important part of of ballet.

What have the past months been like during the pandemic? When everything started the HCA's in-person classes stopped, but I was able to continue to my usual class over Zoom and I set up an area in my garage to dance. Ballet over Zoom is different, it can be harder to demonstrate and see various excercises. Recently, the HCA opened back up for socially distanced in-person classes and I took a few each week. It felt really good to see everyone again!

Anything else you would like to add? I'm really happy to be a dancer at the HCA and I can't wait to continue!


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