Hammond Academy for the Performing Arts
Northwest Indiana has very few thriving arts programs structured within high schools. The benefits that these programs offer for students as individuals and in groups are powerful. From the standpoint of having self confidence, of completing a project together- and the joy of offering it to the community these programs are invaluable. The kids that I have seen on stage there are self aware, and talented, with as much emphasis on tech as acting. In every way they are willing to work and be helpful and are excited about working right next to an adult. They communicate well and are excited about presenting relevant pieces to the community. This attitude speaks volumes about the mentors. The entire department provides a quality experience for the kids- from music and acting to tech and a community that is about putting it’s best foot forward. Dan Cummins runs the program at HAPA and has continued to work with our staff, including Jessie Howe, (Scenic Design and painting) since our first introduction. http://www.hammondapa.com/
In 2014 I met Melissa Brassard through my friend Guy Rhodes. The shop built the small set for Mother Hicks-making the effort between shows with a promise to include the kids on load in. We allow about a week to build and paint, load the set in, and then come and strike it for them. Mother Hicks was an exceedingly simple and beautiful show. The set consisted mostly of a raked deck, a wagon that is briefly seen at the beginning of the show and then becomes the refuge for the Depression era child at the top of a hill where Mother Hicks lives. One of the most powerful pieces written about the use of sign language and the power of communication by Suzan Zedar. Dan Taube directed it- Guy Rhodes lit the stage beautifully and took all the pictures below except the image of the model. href=”https://annnickelledavis.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/234_hicks_low.jpg”>
All photos above: Guy Rhodes Lighting: Guy Rhodes
CATS was the second production we were able to have the honor of building for the kids. On load in day they worked with Jessica Howe- our excellent Charge Scenic Artist, and Brittney O’Keefe. The kids learned a ton and they had a great time while the other elements were being assembled around them.