Lisa Condit recently spoke with Sharon Hart, our education outreach programs coordinator and one of our conservatory’s master teaching artists. Read on for highlights from their interview, or listen to the full conversation below!
Lisa: The work that you and the rest of the conservatory team members are doing is so exciting and definitely a point of pride for The Hanover Theatre.
Sharon: Most people don’t have any experience, so they come in blind, especially the adults. We’re not used to being vulnerable, getting out of our comfort zone. It’s fun working with all the age groups because everybody loves to play.
Lisa: I would feel a little bit intimidated as an adult. Are most of the adults taking these classes interested in pursuing a career in theater or is it for other reasons?
Sharon: I think everybody comes to it with a different reason. I did have somebody in sales, and she thought this would be good opportunity to get some practice being on her feet and thinking quickly. I had someone who did a lot of voice-over work. His vocal coach suggested that he take an improvisation class as a way to free up his body and his mind to access his imagination. Some people just do it to get out of their comfort zone, take a risk, try something new and meet some new people.
Lisa: And it’s fun! It’s important to incorporate that sense of play in a productive way into our days. It gives us a fresh perspective.
Sharon: I started doing theater when I was five years old. I got my masters in theater education at Emerson College in Boston, made my way out to central Mass and started working with the theatre about a year and a half ago.
Lisa: We just put the finishing touches on our conservatory catalog and have some really great classes coming up this fall.
Sharon: I teach the improvisation classes, but I’m also going to be teaching a new Shakespeare class. I’m a total Shakespeare nerd. You don’t need any theatre or acting experience. It’s just for people who are curious about Shakespeare. There is 400 years of material, and we want to give people a chance to explore Shakespeare’s work.
Lisa: Our dance offerings have really expanded. And some of the sewing and costume design classes. There are so many ways that people can use their creativity in a theatrical environment.
Sharon: We really have something for everybody, from six months to people into their 70s. We have acting classes, technical design classes. We run the gamut. We also have a new partnership with a fashion collaborative. They’re going to be bringing their staff and faculty over and teaching fashion and costume design. It’s an amazingly welcoming place. It’s a low risk environment for people to come and explore their creativity.
Lisa: You also do some community outreach on behalf of The Hanover Theatre.
Sharon: We’re going to be highlighting something in the fall called the “Wish Program.” “Worcester Youth Speak Honestly” program for youth 14-18 is going to be coming to The Hanover Theatre and creating a piece of theatre based on their life experiences. We’re hoping to take that into the community next spring and tour it around locally and hopefully into Boston and Cambridge. There’s also our Adopt-A-School program, which is for two of the high schools in Worcester who get to come and see a Broadway production, and all the other smaller partnerships we have with Worcester public schools. We take arts education very seriously. We want to make sure all the kids out there get to experience the power of theater.